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. Each tune uses a different approach, though I used the ABA structure we used in our ensemble as the starting point.
After writing the first two suites, I decided to orchestrate them. After hearing a couple movements of the first two sets performed, however, I decided I liked them much better as piano pieces. As piano pieces, they are not only enthusiastic and vivacious, they are also quite virtuosic. The music just sounded better on the piano. I wrote the third set somewhat after the first two, but I can’t recall precisely how long. It was after I had orchestrated the others, and so I never entertained the idea of orchestrating the third set.