6. Cordones

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The Impetus:

In Chile, in the late 1960s and early 1970’s, The Popular Unity government, under democratically elected “socialist” president Salvador Allende, was faced with a radical working class uprising (not unlike the workers uprising which lead to the Paris Commune 100 years earlier).  The workers, acting in their own interest, and unhappy with how slowly social programs where being implemented by Allende, organized the Cordones Industriales and began to seize factories and mines in order to produce and distribute goods for free to the impoverished masses.  This localized working class revolution, far from being embraced by the “socialist” government of Allende, was deemed unconstitutional.  The ensuing class war between the workers, and the owners (which also included US investors and US capital) led to the destabilization of the Chilean power structure giving the CIA backed dictator general Augusto Pinochet (who was the head of the military under Allende) the opportunity to  overthrow both the democratically elected Popular Unity government of Allende (who was assassinated) and the more radical socialist working class movement (including the Cordones Industriales) in a military coup.  The ensuing dictatorship of Pinochet re instituted private production (in favor of US capital) and began purging the Cordones Industriales and all leftward leaning workers through execution, torture, exile and imprisonment.  This short ballad is a tribute to the workers of the Cordones.

The Composition:

This piece started with the root motion which ascends and then descends chromatically. The melody comes mainly from Ab harmonic major although deviates with an occasional b7.

The track features Jason Harnell on drums, David J. Carpenter on bass, Joel Peloquin on guitar, and Matt Otto on tenor sax.

Cordones Score

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7. Intellection

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The Inspiration and Composition:

I originally wrote the main theme to this piece when I was living in New York after learning a George Shearing tune called “Conception”.  I liked the chord motion in bar 3 where the piece moves from I major 7 to b7 minor 7.  Manipulating that progression and came up with the basic melody and chord progression for “Intellection”, which uses the same chord motion starting on IV major, than I major, and then a similar motion harmonically going from vi minor and ii minor to relative major.  Later,in Los Angeles, I added a contrafact over the main theme which became the interlude which we play as a unison line between the tenor and keyboard solo.  The introduction and outro where written last, which were rhythmically influenced by Lennie Tristano (groupings of 7 over 5) while the melody and harmony are mostly using a major pentatonic.  The 8th note part of the introduction/outro is grouped in 7s with one grouping of 6 thrown in for asymmetry which is all fairly clear in the score.  Jason Harnell plays a brief drum solo over the 7 over 5 section in the outro.  This song was also released earlier on the Los Angeles Jazz Collective Compilation Vol. 1 CD. The players include Leonard Thompson on keys, David J. Carpenter on bass and Matt Otto on tenor sax.

Intellection Score

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8. Transformation

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The Impetus:

This composition is a tribute to revolutionary social transformation.  Reformism, which works within the system to change its outward appearance but does not attempt to radically alter its basic structure is, at its root, complicit with the system; it does not work against its basic structure and rarely questions it.  Capitalism, which is based on private ownership of the productive forces in society, prioritizes production for individual profit over production for collective human need.  Trying to create change within this sort of system is like trying to create change within a slave based economy (Ancient Greece and Rome); it only leads to prolonging and supporting the basic problem, which in the case of Capitalism, is the private ownership of the productive forces of society and production for profit.  The only way to end private production for private profit, and wage-slavery at its base, is through revolution.  By transformation, I mean the historical movement, through an organized working class revolution, from Capitalism (and the exploitation of workers through wage-slavery) to true Socialism (where the global working class equally controls all of the global productive forces of society and wields them in their best interest).

The Composition:

The piece is fairly simple.  I wrote the chord progression first using mostly triads over bass notes (ala Mick Goodrick) and then wrote a melody by ear over the chords.  The track features Mark Ferber on drums, David J. Carpenter on acoustic bass guitar, Joel Peloquin on guitar and Matt Otto on tenor sax.

Transformation Score

Matt Otto Sax Solo Transcription on Transformation

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9. Storm Song

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The Inspiration and Composition:

Storm Song was a composition I wrote for Storm Nilson, the guitar player heard on track 2, “Paris Commune”.  He is a great person and and talented player; and was only 22 at the time he recorded on this album.

This piece started as a study in random composition.  12 notes were put into a hat and 7 drawn out to create a random scale.  The entire theme is made just from those 7 notes in all 3 parts,  the melody, harmony and bass.  The chord changes for improvising were a close interpretation of the harmony from the main theme and the interlude was written over those interpreted chord changes.

Storm Song Score

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