Jonathan Hartman

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IN THE BLOOD, composing process

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I’ve been working on IN THE BLOOD, finding time to compose in between my film scoring schedule demands.  It’s been a lot of fun and creatively satisfying to have a project that exists outside of picture, I’ve been scoring for so long I kind of forgot that feeling of a blank page and complete freedom to fill it.  I lived most of musical life that way for decades, it’s been entertaining to take the time to compose something of my own volition again.

 

After moving to the digital sphere, I began putting my sketches into my sequencer and working on the piece as a whole.  I find myself marking out key moments that I’ve composed, and working to those moments, figuring out how to get from one to another is the most interesting part of the composing “puzzle”.    After writing the main ensemble, it became clear to me that I wanted to emphasize a jazz drumset within the piece, as a way to tie the minimalist and jazz elements together.  In the course of preparing for this I watched a number of interviews with Steve Reich, and I was struck by how much Jazz influenced his work, especially in the early years.   Composing an original minimalist work that heads back towards a jazz esthetic feels “right” to me.

 

I called one of my old friends from my NYC jazz days, Jaz Sawyer, drummer extraordinaire, and enlisted his services for IN THE BLOOD.  We hung out for two hours discussing rhythmic approaches, drumset, and how to make this a unique element within the concert work.   Very enlightening.  I got to work composing, and a  week later brought Jaz back into my  studio in Los Angeles to record him with the digital mockup I’d created.  As expected, Jaz knocked it out of the park and delivered some amazing reference tracks for the piece!

Here is a small peak into that recording process- Jaz Sawyer is incredible: