These past 6 months I've had a bit of an Identity Crisis.
Not a Brad Meltzer kind of crisis, thank goodness, but more of a I-don't-know-what-kind-of-composer-I-am crisis. Not really a crisis at all, more just a lack of clarity in direction. I started working on new tunes inspired by my trip to Australia last August and found I couldn't seem to write anything except that exact same thing over and over. I felt, and still feel to some degree, torn between the classic styling of big band and the more modern, less swingy writing. An identity crisis of sorts ensued and while I don't feel like expanding upon this just yet, I will say this: in an attempt to rediscover the passion and motivation I had for composing, I am going back to where it all began.
It all started for me with Ted Kord... Completely overwhelmed by the master's program at the Manhattan School of Music (I never tire of telling this story!) , I found relief, and subsequently inspiration in Countdown to Infinite Crisis and the many mini-series that followed. Till this day, the tunes inspired by B-listers (or maybe even C-listers?) Ted Kord, Donna Troy, and Sasha Bordeaux remain my favorites in the BCJO book.
I was also struck by the IC side story, Villains United. I really had little interest in this storyline until a friend talked me into reading it, thinking I'd be interested in it because a woman wrote it. I knew nothing of Gail Simone at the time but have since come to consider her an inspiration of the highest order. Not only did I love VU (and found myself slightly embarrassed to be so attracted to Catman!), I became a Birds of Prey fanatic and a life long Gail Simone fan-girl.
In 2006, as part of my senior recital at MSM, I attempted to write a suite around Villains United. I basically composed musical character sketches for each member of the Secret Six. While I had a lot of fun conceiving sounds and motifs for each character, I was never completely happy with the end result. In fact, I have only kept four of the original seven movements in the BCJO book. I've always intended to return to this suite and rewrite it. Now, I think, is the time.
I have grand plans for this rewrite. Not only do I hope to do the original characters justice, I plan to update the suite with the newest members of the Secret Six in Gail Simone's current run. And this time, I do not want to do it alone. I want YOUR help!
The idea is this: As I go about rewriting each character, I want feedback from you. What words would you use to describe each villain? If you had to chose a song to represent each character, what would it be? And most importantly, as I post clips and readings of the work in progress, I want to know if you agree with my point of view. Jazzers out there, I invite your feedback too, especially in the old school/new school arenas of big band writing. I tend to write too diatonic; interference is welcomed.
The new work will be (re)premiered in September, at the BCJO's next gig at the Brooklyn Lyceum. Hopefully with the help of fan-boys and girls & jazzers everywhere, the Secret Six will not be misrepresented!