Program Note The inspiration for In the Pulse (composed 2012) came from thinking about two musical “JB’s”. Known to many in the percussion world as JB, John Beck, my percussion teacher at the Eastman School of Music, has had an amazing influence on the world of percussion through his teaching, performance, and leadership. His biggest impact on me was the continual lesson that playing music should be natural and should “feel good”. The other “JB” is James Brown, who transformed twentieth century popular music through his songs and performances. The groove feel of his music is so strong that it seems impossible to hear it without moving and “feeling good” from the appealing layers of melody and rhythm.
In the spirit of John Beck and James Brown, my composition strives to create ensemble virtuosity from the interplay of the individual parts, and to put the groove feel of the music front and center. I found the title in the documentary film, The Night James BrownSaved Boston. Charles Bobbit, James Brown’s manager, recounted a conversation he had with James Brown:
"I would ask him, why does people love your music? What is about your music that really gets them? He said, 'Feel your pulse' and I did. He said, 'You feel the beat?' I said yes. He said, 'I stay in the beat. I stay in the pulse. So if I want to get a message to people, or if I want people to dance or people to feel good, I stay in the pulse.'"
1. Xylophone / Bells 2. Vibraphone 1 3. Vibraphone 2 4. Marimba 1 (4 octave or larger) 5. Marimba 2 (5 octave)* 6. Percussion 1 [Hi-Hat, Snare Drum, Pedal Bass Drum] 7. Percussion 2 [Timbales (shells and drums), Hi-Hat, 2 Woodblocks (high and low), Vibra-Slap] 8. Percussion 3 [Suspended Cymbal, Wind Chimes, Triangle (suspended on stand with 2 clips), 2 Tambourines (one with head, mounted on a stand; one without head, played in one hand while the other hand strikes the accents), Sleigh Bells (suspended or on a padded stand) Guiro, Cabasa]
*Note: If necessary, an electric bass or Mallet KAT can be substituted for the Marimba 2 part.
Recording- Live Performance Ohio University Percussion Ensemble