One Step Backward Taken (big band and mixed choir)
This setting of a Robert Frost poem brings together the unlikey pair of a large instrumental jazz ensemble and full mixed choir.
In the first part of the piece, there is some interplay between the band and the choir, with a couple of instrumental motifs that occur between phrases of the text. As the music unfolds, it builds to a more rhythmically driving section that foreshadows the inevitable disaster that the poet-narrator will witness. The line, “I felt my standpoint shaken in the universal crisis,” ushers in a chaotic section with soprano saxophone improvisation.
The music calms considerably as the poet-narrator takes his one step backward. It builds once more, but this time to a more triumphant climax before ending with a reflective whisper.