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Suite Justice - A Jazz Setting of the Beatitudes

by Russell Miller

Released 2010
PKO Records
Released 2010
PKO Records
Original jazz music setting of the text of the Beatitudes that has been arranged for big band and vocal chorus
A suite of eight pieces representing each of the beatitudes from Matthew (5:3-10) wherein the strengths of the Concert Chorus and the Jazz Big Band are combined in a presentation of original jazz compositions that reflect the composer’s thoughts and feelings about these teachings. The rhythm and inflection of the text of each of the beatitudes suggests a melodic shape and song form that allows for musical expression of the idea. Employment of a wide range of musical textures – a Capella chorus, vocal soloists, chorus with jazz band, full jazz band, small ensemble and jazz soloists – provide variety from piece to piece while the treatment of the text assists in maintaining continuity.

The Pieces:

1. Poor In Spirit – "Blessed are the poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Latin jazz inspired by the music of Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. Features an extended piano solo.

2. Those Who Mourn – "Blessed are those who mourn, they shall be comforted."
A 24 bar blues in a pseudo gospel style. Features a Capella chorus, a soprano vocal solo and a tenor saxophone solo.

3. The Meek – "Blessed are the meek, they shall inherit the earth."
A medium-tempo jazz waltz with shades of Oliver Nelson. Features an extended trumpet solo.

4. Hunger and Thirst – "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, they shall be filled."
Afro-Cuban jazz and swing a la Tito Puente. Features an alto sax solo.

5. The Merciful – "Blessed are the merciful, they shall obtain mercy."
An up-tempo swing based on Juan Tizol’s “Caravan.” Features a Capella chorus and a tenor sax solo.

6. Pure in Heart – "Blessed are the pure in heart, they shall see god."
Based on Bach Prelude No. 1 in C Major BWV846. A tenor sax and electric bass counter-melody woven into Bach’s classic

7. The Peacemakers – "Blessed are the peacemakers, they shall be called the sons of god."
A light, “half time feel” swing. Features a tenor vocal solo and a guitar solo.

8.The Persecuted – "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Inspired by Billy Strayhorn’s “Lotus Blossom,” a melancholy tune with a Basie-style twist. Features an alto sax solo.

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