Hello Glover Gardens peeps, here’s another new jazz composition from my son, Thomas Wenglinski (AKA the Musical Millennial). It was recorded in late February at the Bates Recital Hall in Austin, Texas, by the University of Texas Jazz Orchestra. We didn’t know at the time that it would be the last concert of the semester and the last concert of Thomas’ undergraduate college experience, and I’m sooooooo glad I was there. I had been scheduled to be on a business trip to Europe, but the coronovirus had put a stop to that.
And then the coronavirus put a stop to almost everything else.
Check out the tune by clicking the play button…it is at times solemn, pensive, lush and finally, optimistic. In my humble opinion, it’s what we need to hear right now.
What the Composer Had to Say About It
Thomas said of the tune when he shared it in Facebook:
“From my final concert as a member of the UT Jazz Orchestra back in February, I present to you my composition “Something in the Air”. I wrote the original tune back in April of 2018 while attempting to weather the storm of a particularly bad spring bug, and I’d been meaning to arrange it for a larger ensemble such as the UTJO for quite some time; however, it finally ended up on this, what would unexpectedly become my final performance with the group before this whole COVID-19 thing broke out. Big shoutout to soloists Paulo Santos, Fabio Augustinis, and Nathan Eisenberg for their beautiful and inspired improvisations, and the entire band for bringing the chart to life!“
The notes Thomas provided in the concert program about the piece provide a little more insight into the inspiration for Something in the Air:
“I originally wrote Something in the Air back in April of 2018 as a coping mechanism during my experience with a seemingly annual spring sickness. Most of my friends had gotten it previously one way or another, and I was none the luckier. More than the condition itself, I always remember feeling incredibly annoyed with my stagnation during that time, as I’m sure you can relate—after all, when you’re all congested, all that seems to come to mind is all the things you’d do if you weren’t congested. My guess is that it was this feeling of momentary paralysis that inspired the very simple four-note motive from which the tune is constructed; however, the bridge of the tune and the solo sections which follow it could easily be interpreted as a way of looking forward, beyond recovery from the illness.”
An Inadvertently Apropos Title for the Times; An Anthem for Recovery
Something in the Air is strangely appropos during a pandemic, don’t you think? I love the last section of the program notes above, and choose to think of the tune in the way that he framed it: as an anthem for looking forward, beyond recovery from the illness.
Looking forward, beyond recovery from COVID-19 and all of its repercussions.
Beyond quarantines, isolation and separation.
Beyond the cancellation of life’s important milestones, like weddings, funerals and graduations.
Beyond phone calls or Facetime replacing in-person goodbyes before loved ones take their last painful breaths.
Beyond anger, unnecessary deaths and finger-pointing.
Beyond first responders having to work too many hours in unsafe conditions, and sometimes dying from it.
Beyond, beyond, beyond all that…and all the way back to a world in which we can enjoy beautiful live music together again—safely.
Listen to the tune again, if you will, and see if it takes you to that place, beyond…
Stay home, stay safe, stay sane and stay in touch.
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