Composed in the spring of 1990, Late Night Music is a jazz-influenced work based on a
repeating 12-bar blues pattern.
The harmony is essentially tonal, although I was particularly interested in combining the kind of chord substitutions
one might find in jazz music with the free sonorities I tend to use in atonal music.
The idea for this piece came from the period of my life when I worked in Toronto as an information operator for a bus company (1977-78).
Occasionally, when I finished a late shift, I would go to a nearby jazz club and listen to music late into the night.
The club was dimly lit and usually virtually empty, and I got the feeling that the players were essentially performing for their
own pleasure, perhaps taking chances they might not otherwise have taken were there a large audience to please.
Unfortunately, although I found this to be a good atmosphere for jazz it was apparently not good for business,
and the club later closed down.
I left that job after a year and for the next five years worked as department store sales-clerk,
while taking jazz and classical music lessons.
No dynamics are provided; performers are encouraged to play as expressively as possible, and to play with a jazz feeling. Eighth notes are to be played “straight,” and not swung; when I want a swing feeling I write triplets.
A Bb trumpet may be used instead of a C trumpet if prefered. The drummer should have some experience playing jazz music, since everything is improvised. I had a grand piano sound in mind when I wrote this, but an electric piano would also work. Similarly, either an electric or (amplified) stand-up bass may be used.
The first performance took place in the spring of 1990 at The Music Gallery in Toronto, on a Continuum concert. The players were fellow composers James Rolfe on trumpet and Omar Daniel on piano, with Trevor Tureski on drum kit and Steve Lucas on bass. I was originally supposed to play the bass part, but as the performance date approached it began to dawn on me that I couldn’t actually play the instrument (I am a guitarist!), so we called up Steve on the day of the performance, who read through his part flawlessly. I felt it was a really good performance, although the concert was only lightly attended. In a way, this was appropriate because it reminded me of the jazz-club experiences that inspired me to write this piece in the first place.
This piece is dedicated to Julia, my daughter, who was born in January of the year I wrote it.
©Clark Winslow Ross