STRANGE TIMES: Released 8/15/23
Updated: Oct 12
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