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Composer Jeff LaRochelle Chats Modern Day Minstrelsy via Craigslist

Along with his own projects, saxophonist and composer Jeff LaRochelle can be seen all over Toronto as a sideman in jazz groups of all shapes and sizes. We are excited that Jeff contributed a piece to The World Through Frames Without Lenses.

At Spectrum, concert themes are pretty important to the way we share our programs with you. We want to place music into a context that resonates with the here and now, with your life and ours. Jeff did a great job of capturing one of the peculiarities of Millennial culture: craigslist “Missed Connections”. In fact the original post is still online, at least for the time being! This plaintive shred of correspondence, which at the turn of the century could’ve have been a private love letter scrawled on parchment, is now posted for the whole world to appreciate, encourage, mock, or – in this case – turn into a chamber jazz piece!

Jeff tells us about his process and inspirations for this work:

“My piece, Super nova – m4w was an advertisement in the “Missed Connections” section of the Toronto craigslist. Rather than the usual description of events that transpired, the poster decided to leave a poem for the woman he was smitten with. It is interesting how the internet can be used as an outlet for the timeless expression of love through poetry and song. The overly dramatic, sometimes archaic prose in the two stanzas belies a sort of modern day minstrelsy ironic in the context in which is was written — an internet advertisement about a woman he may have only seen but briefly.”

We are as simple as mineral mingling with dew drop; A sacred encounter of ochre lips – a kiss of ‘I and Thou’. We’re a fire descending to the air’s morbid roots, A divine breath of expanding star orbits and colour!

Moon of my madrigal; nocturne of my nourishing light; You’re a deep cool well in the middle of dune hills and wind. You’re a straying mountain cloud clapping with crystal thunder. You’re a flower petal pursing her lips – so in love with the sun!

“For the piece, I wanted to attempt to get inside the mind of the poet. The opening stanza seems to describe the nature of the connection (real or imagined) between the two involved. The last two lines seem to point to a darker, fantastical aspect that I wanted to portray. The last stanza changes more or less to the adulation of the subject of the poem. I wanted the music to build here to capture the elation the writer supposedly wanted to convey.”

- Ben Dietschi

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