Over the past six months, I recorded a collection of original piano compositions. I decided to compile them and release them as an album. Each track consists of a single continuous take, so there may be a few rough edges to add character. Imperfections aside, I hope you find the music enjoyable. Questions, comments, and criticisms are welcome. These should make their way to:
Listening and Downloading
To play a track, simply click on its title in the listing below. It is also possible to download the music files by right-clicking on the title (or control-clicking if you are using a Mac) and choosing “Save Target As...” or a similar option.
Click below to view the full-sized images.
Jake decided that a sumo guardian from Blue Sky was just what our apartment needed. I can't rightly say that the wrestler inspired this piece, nor should I say he commissioned it. Really, it was more of a mandate. I don't know what would have happened had I refused, but I wasn't willing to find out.
I thought it would be an interesting challenge to try and connect two pieces by way of a third. Nexus begins with the last chord of Sumo and meanders until it finds the opening riff to Rondo. The piece was improvised, and for a while I didn't know if I was going to make it. Once I got close enough, I just stopped. Right there, right in the middle of a cadence. I figured if I didn't, I might get lost again and end up somewhere on the other side of the album.
This piece resisted naming of any kind. I didn't have anything particular in mind when I wrote it, and nothing seemed to fit. The best suggestion I got was “Duh-duddida-duh-duh”. I won't even mention the runner-up. I finally followed the lead of all the greats and named it for its format. (Rondos generally follow an “ABACA...” form, or something similar.)
A lot of my melodies are never developed into full pieces. Most of the ones on this track don't even have a name. I wanted to showcase them but didn't want them to sit by themselves on 50-second tracks, so I spliced them together. The first melody is one of my all-time favorites.
I had a dream in which downtown Athens was flooded. Among other oddities was that The Bus was replaced by The Gondola, and instead of grungy guitar-wielding hippies, the sidewalks featured clean-shaven men with slicked-back hair playing mandolins and accordions, perhaps serenading animated cartoon dogs as they ate their spaghetti and meatballs. I think I heard some guys playing this piece as I floated down College Avenue towards campus.
Rainy Day in New York
Every time I visit my parents, my mother insists that I play this piece. “That could go in a movie... let's see... a romance that takes place in New York City... I see Michelle Pfeiffer standing in the rain...” So the name was her idea. I probably would have named it something boring like “Theme and Variations in A Minor” or “That Melancholy Piece That Kinda Sounds Like Gershwin in That One Spot”.
Another Autumn Day
This is the first piece I ever wrote that in some way resembled jazz. It borrows the melody from the second movement of my string quintet. So far the lyrics are “Another autumn day...” and then some mumbling.
Big Two Oh
Big Two Oh is this album's second blues offering, so it could have just as easily been called “The Other White Blues”. It isn't quite as experimental as Sumo, but I had a great time playing it. In fact, I got a little carried away with the last few bars. Every time I hear the end now I picture the Roadrunner dropping a Steinway on Wile E. Coyote's head.
I was pleased with the way this piece turned out. A lot of my improvisations end up stuck in a rut. Sometimes these ruts are as short as a single measure. In these cases, people who are unfortunate enough to be listening start to nod off or talk about baseball (except Philip Glass, who begins tapping his foot and nodding his head). Other improvisations wander aimlessly until I get up to find something edible. This piece, though, I managed to keep interesting without losing sight of the original theme. It ended up being one of my favorite tracks.
This is another improvised piece. As I was playing, I kept thinking, “Aaargh, I should have done that instead!” I had to play it back a few times before I started liking it. It does grow on you if you give it a chance.
I cheated a little. I wasn't happy with the way it sounded when I played it back, so I doubled the tempo and played it back again.
I figure I'm allowed four glissandi per album. I knew that this was probably going to be the last track, and I still had three glissandi remaining, so I decided to use them all at once. It's quite exciting, I assure you. Riva's Rumble is more a template than an actual piece; it's different every time I play it. The second-best take ended with a solo by my right hand as my left hand suddenly developed a severe cramp.
page and all featured compositions, performances,
photography, and artwork copyright 2006 Dan Reed.