Help me identify this jazz tune. Difficulty level: instrumental
April 30, 2016 10:01 PM   Subscribe

I have a tune stuck in my head that my high school's jazz band played fifteen years ago. I would really like to hear it, but I can't remember the title. Since it's an instrumental, this feels like a long shot, but I've seen AskMe work greater miracles before.

I can remember the song quite clearly, but I can't seem to find it. I have tried various technological solutions (humming into Google Play Music and SoundHound, tapping into Musicpedia) with no luck. I've tried to browse through various videos of jazz standards on YouTube but that's taking forever and doesn't seem to be getting my anywhere (though I'm finding some other nice music). Although my "mind's ear" is pretty good, I'm not so great at converting that into an actual sequence of notes for an instrument I don't play. But, here's what I can describe:

1. The melody was carried by a soprano saxophone soloist.

2. The song opened with a single rapidly repeated note from the piano (I think an E but I'm not sure), with a one-measure staccato rhythm repeated several times. Then the soprano sax came in and soloed the melody through once on top of the piano's rhythmic single-note line before the rest of the band joined in.

3. I'm pretty sure the melody started with this sequence of notes:

1___ 8_____ 7b 6 7b_ 4 3b_ 5 4__

(where each _ denotes holding for an additional sixteenth beyond a first sixteenth). So if that's right I guess we're in E minor? My music theory is weak at best.

4. The song has a very pretty, "soaring" or "uplifting" sort of mood.

Help me hear this song again!
posted by biogeo to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
I feel your pain with this problem! I was able to look at a page of top 100 jazz standards and then listen to a clip or two to find my ear worm, but I (also not music theory educated) can't help with this question.

Maybe you could sing or hum what you remember and then paste a link to the music clip here?
posted by mgrrl at 4:10 AM on May 1, 2016

The sheet music is probably still in the files at your high school. If the director or other music people still work there, visit or phone and maybe they can brainstorm it with you. Or ask your classmates via FB or your alumni organization.
posted by JimN2TAW at 8:17 AM on May 1, 2016

Good news, I was able to dig up a recording I had from the concert where they played it. Turns out the piece isn't a standard, which is probably why I couldn't find it: it's called "Firstborn". For the curious, I uploaded the recording on Dropbox. The sound quality's not great from it being a live recording, but I think it holds up pretty well!
posted by biogeo at 9:29 AM on May 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

Composed by Dean Sorenson, audio clip if you click on the sheet music images on the left side.
posted by at at 2:42 PM on May 2, 2016

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