A number of Adam's friends, family and teachers got together and put on a concert in Adam's memory, the program of which included some of Adam's jazz compositions.
I found a handwritten trumpet part for this original composition of Adam’s in the piano bench at his house. I arranged it for solo piano to be performed by James Fernando. I believe Adam and I performed it once at NEC in 2011. Adam’s compositional style often explored slow and brooding melodies, and this piece captures those elements.
Special thanks to Kim Rodrig and Matthew Schwartz for helping me locate a recording of this piece that I was able to transcribe. An original composition of Adam’s, he performed it during trombonist Jeff Galindo’s 2011 residency at Lexington High School. Eyran (Rani) Katsenelenbogen, with whom Adam studied piano for six years, performed a solo version.
Andra Gurley-Green -- Cello
Spencer Gurley-Green -- Bass
Josh Gilbert -- Trumpet and Piano
Justin Aramati -- Clarinet
Program notes by Josh Gilbert
Matthew Schwartz -- Alto Saxophone
James Fernando -- Piano
David Zoffer -- Piano
Eyran Katsenelenbogen -- Piano
I first encountered this rather obscure Renaissance work in my solfège (sight-singing) studies at New England Conservatory. Written for three voices (Soprano, Alto, and Tenor), I have adapted it for clarinet, trumpet, and cello. A short but powerful piece, I thought its theme would be appropriate for this occasion.
John Coltrane recorded this haunting ballad composed for his first wife on his seminal 1959 album Giant Steps. It features the extensive use of a “pedal point,” a constant pitch in the bass.
Fauré composed this duet for cello and piano as incidental music for Claude Debussy’s opera Pelléas et Mélisande. Composed in 1902, it straddles the transition between the romantic music of 19th Century Europe and the non-tonal music to come from composers such as Stravinsky. Its tonal nature is obscured by extensive use of rich chordal textures of four or even five simultaneous pitches, yet it is still able to retain the lyricism and simplicity characteristic of the French impressionist style.
This Wayne Shorter original was one of Adam’s favorite pieces. One of my fondest memories of Adam was seeing Shorter and his quartet perform live in Jordan Hall with the NEC Philharmonia for the 40th Anniversary of the Jazz Studies program there in 2009.
One of Adam’s favorite musical artists was tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon. Gordon is generally more acclaimed as a performer than a composer, but Adam always loved Gordon’s original composition Fried Bananas, which is based on the chord progression to the jazz standard It Could Happen to You.
Adam had a particular fondness for Charlie Parker, and this piece in particular. He said the solo was his favorite of Parker. Its jovial and fast-moving chord progression was unusual for a blues composition of the time.
From Miles Davis’ iconic Kind of Blue, this Bill Evans composition (often attributed to Davis) was one of Adam’s favorite pieces. One of Adam’s former piano teachers, David Zoffer, requested to perform a solo version of this piece. Dave wrote to me, “One of my happiest memories of Adam is a lesson where I showed him Blue in Green and how the chords changed speed three times during the piece, and how totally psyched he was when he heard that.”
Bill Evans famously interpreted this song from the 1967 musical film Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (The Young Girls of Rocherfort) on his 1977 album of the same name.