Dance Suite No.2 (1977)
for Piano Solo
2.  African Dance


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In 1977 I started an improvisatory ensemble.  It was modeled after some of the then current jazz ensembles, except it did not have a drummer.  Our "solo" sections turned into group free improvisation segments, piquing my interest in free improvisation, a trait which has continued ever since.  For the ensemble, I wrote several tunes.  During the summer, I used these tunes to create several piano pieces.  I orchestrated the first two suites.  "Treadmill" and "Voodoo Woman" were performed, but my impression was that I had made some miscalculations and the orchestrations were too busy.  Treadmill for orchestra was retained, but I did not pursue performance of any of the others.

In the summer of 1976, I returned to the University of Washington to finish the final 15 credits left for me to receive my B. Mus.  One of the courses I took was an ethnomusicology survey which covered Native American music for half the semester and African music for the other half.  Typically, I had left most of my required listening until right before the test.  So I was cramming five hours of African music listening into one session.  After I was through, I danced and gyrated my way down the hall to a practice room and wrote the tune for "African Dance".  I also like the 7/8 hemiola section in the middle of the work.