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  • Writer's pictureSuzi Humbert

STRANGE TIMES: Released 8/15/23

Updated: Oct 12, 2023




Strange Times was written in the year 2020 – thus the title. Musicians need to “play out,” as

we say; to share the gift of music with the public, live and in person. This is my take on being “all dressed up with nowhere to go,” ready and eager to perform, but being stuck inside to play

to my four walls, and gradually feeling slightly crazed as a result.

Many musicians composed something at this time to express the varied emotions and struggles

they were experiencing. I tried to achieve my expression of intense restlessness through

various musical constructs.

The intro is a somewhat ominous, almost bluesy ostinato pattern on the piano, doubled with

upright bass, played by Larry Steen, and soon joined by the intricate rhythmic workings –

almost melodic at times – of Chris Wabich. The flute enters with a simple, elegant melody,

harmonized on the second pass, and ending with a turn on an unexpected Picardy third, adding

a strange emotional twist.

What follows is a series of flute improvisations over the ostinato pattern -- the repeated

pattern representing the monotony of life in lock-down, while the flute improvisations tell the

story of rising emotions in reaction to this “imprisonment.” The first set of improvisations is

tame enough – jazzy and sophisticated without being too showy, a musician playing to pass the

time. After the reprise of the harmonized melody, a new series of improvs is embarked upon

by the flute, getting wilder and crazier on each pass, finally ending on a fade of frenzied runs

and licks, indicating that there’s no respite, and no end in sight. The flutist is going mad!

Susan Craig Winsberg

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