Recorded on Coming About, "El Viento" was written in 1994 as a commission for the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra. I was inspired to write it after seeing Paco de Lucia play at Lincoln Center. But prior to that, the first 10% of this piece was written after I'd spent endless weeks listening to Hindemith's Kammermusik. I'd brought that "first 10%" into the band to test those initial ideas, and thought it would be called "Cellophane." Yes, don't ask me! I liked aspects of what I'd written, but was at a loss as to how to incorporate the whole rhythm section aspect, and ended up putting it on the shelf. It felt very confused and un-grounded from the rhythm/groove perspective. I fully expected I'd never revisit the material again.
But, upon hearing and seeing Paco de Lucia's group perform in New York, and at the same time, being faced with a big commission, suddenly I thought to pull out my sketches and completely rethink and reconstruct that first material in a sort-of flamenco-tinged direction. It worked beautifully and soon became "El Viento." The piece creates a long build, using three soloists to slowly bring it to its fiery climax. And while it's just in 3/4, it often doesn't feel like it, so it's a tough one to perform.
I've found a few sketches that I included as downloads, and added an audio interview with Ben Monder who solos on the recording. I've also made a video for you where I discuss my writing perspective on this piece.
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