La Vie Zazou – cello, 11'

La Parapluit
Le Tristesse du Saint Louis
Sally Guenther, cello.

Commissioned by Sally Guenther. Premiered 3/11/06 by S. Guenther at the Borealis Festival, Bergen, Norway.

  1. Le Parapluit
  2. La Tristesse de Saint Louis
  3. Le Manteau Gros
  4. Agate Rhythm

During the Nazi occupation of France, the young rebellious types met in cafes and jazz clubs to escape their oppressors and talk politics and philosophy. They were called "Zazou". They walked the streets in enormous coats (rather like Zoot suits) in defiance of rations on fabric, and carried "Chamberlain" umbrellas - which were never opened, rain or shine. In order to safeguard their beloved swing music, jazz promoters and fans renamed several of their favorite tunes, hiding their origins. This piece uses two of those: "Agate Rhythm" for Gershwin's classic, and "La Tristesse de Saint Louis" for Handy's famous St. Louis Blues.

"...jazz became the symbol of, or the last tie with, the outside world (Downbeat, 1946)..."

score excerpt