A Copse of Clarinets

Our first session at The Playroom for a few weeks saw the recording of the woodwind parts on two new tunes, Sea and Sky (a minimalist piece in 5/4) and The Cedars (a slow 4/4 ballad with a 12/8 middle section).

We began with a quartet consisting of Andy Pickett, Beccy Rork and Julian Nicholas on tenor saxophones and Linda Atkinson on Bass Clarinet, followed by a saxophone quartet of two altos, played by Linda and Jo Luckman, with Beccy and Julian on sopranos. Next we recorded four flutes, played by Lucy Pickering, Jo, Andy and Linda. After that came more clarinets, with Linda and Beccy on Bb, Julian on Eb alto and Andy on bass.

While writing and arranging this material I knew that I wanted these new recordings to feature more clarinets, and the talents of the members of the group who double on the instruments, so I wrote parts for two Bb instruments, an Eb alto clarinet and two bass clarinets on each tune. During the session recorded a few months ago, various clarinet parts were played by Beccy, Linda, Julian and Andy, and by Kate Hogg, Charlotte Glasson and Phil Paton, so that the music has a lovely, dark woody sound.

During yesterday’s session, Andy Pickett suggested recording a free improvisation by the four clarinettists present, and we ended the session by doing just that. The result was lovely, and this new piece will be the album’s title track, ‘Into The Woods’.