posted by Hitomi Oba, composer
Although Strange Fellowe has never been staged before and this upcoming ‘workshop’ of “Act I: At Ease” will be the first time Jerome, Nick, and I will get to see our collaborative efforts realized, some of the songs have made their ways out into the world in concert performances over the years.
Here, we’d like to share some audio clips from such concerts as a ‘sneek peek’ into the musical world of “Strange Fellowe”.
Song of Shadows
“Song of Shadows” was one of the first songs ever composed for “Strange Fellowe”. It is unlike any of the others, in that the tempo is fluid (rubato), and the length very short. While many of the other early songs have undergone multiple and drastic revisions, this one has remained mostly intact..
I had been wanting to share this song for a while, and found the opportunity to do so in a string of performances this summer with my own jazz group. The rubato nature of this song calls upon the musicians to be acutely aware of each other in order to create the ebb and flow as a single unit; this is one of the things that make it so much fun to play! For concert versions of this song, I usually add a saxophone segment up front before the sung melody comes in.
The Dark Chateau
Back in 2009, while this project was still in its early stages, Nick and I were undertaking another project, putting together original music to be performed by our jazz orchestra (a.k.a. big band), Jazz Nexus.
While in the San Francisco Bay Area for the holidays, we were able to snag an all-star, dream cast of musicians for a hastily rehearsed, enthusiastically received, and memorable one-night, sold-out performance at the renowned Yoshi’s Jazz Club in Oakland.
The instrumentation for this version of “Dark Chateau” is obviously a bit more extensive than the concise band that we’ll have at the October staging. And the song itself is actually supposed to be sung by the male lead, but I think that this recording conveys a certain vibe and energy that makes it come to life in the true sense of the phrase, “live performance.”