Ornithology Premieres: A Bird of Paradise in Paradise
I was browsing through a Charlie Parker tunebook to get some ideas for the upcoming wildUp concert when the title “Bird of Paradise” caught my eye. To be honest I was originally interested because it reminded me of those amazing Planet Earth documentaries involving unique birds, but soon after the notes became attractive as well. The tune has a simple 4 bar melody played over a D flat 7 chord followed by a C 7 chord, repeated once. At the bottom of the page it says solo on “All the things you are” (a different Parker tune) so in a nutshell “Bird of Paradise” is two chords, and a little melody. What could be a better recipe for an elongated spectral haze of woodwinds and strings?
The D flat 7 and C 7 chords Parker uses in his piano part take notes from the first 7 partials of their respective harmonic series. I’ve extended the note content up to the 16th partial, giving these chords rich microtonal harmonies. Playing with timbre and rhythm I’ve spread the notes throughout the orchestra, letting these two series exist and overlap over the period of six minutes.
Who knows, maybe this is what it sounds like when the bird of paradise goes home to paradise…..
Archie Carey is a bassoonist a composer and a tree climber living in Los Angeles.
Much of his work uses field recordings, alternative tunings, and enlarged subtleties. He has performed in Germany, Italy, Israel, China, and throughout the USA playing anything from Mozart to a metal plate with a contact microphone through distortion pedals.
for more www.archiecarey.com