Autumn colour on trees

Working on original tunes

Creating original music is an important part of our project in the MiSa Jazz duo. Of course, we have spent a lot of time honing our craft as improvisers, individually and as a team. As well as fully improvised works, we also compose tunes and setting to play in the duo when the time and place are right.

Originals give us a chance to explore our own ideas and creatively express ideas and aesthetics. Composing a ‘jazz’ tune is an interesting exercise. It’s always fascinating to discover where each tune or setting will lead, and how it unfolds when other musicians play them. All our tunes are written to be vehicles for improvisation (solos and collective), so the can be quite different each time we hear them.

Some of our tunes are more ‘composed’ than others. For example, “For Steve Jordan” by Saul, features relatively long and intricate composed passages leading into a 24-bar minor blues section in 3/4 time for improvised solos. In that tune, the tune is a setting for the solos, but the solos are also used by the piece itself as a contrast to the lilting, major key of the main theme. In contrast, “Fortnight Lilly” by Michelle, and “Cedar Valley” by Saul are relatively sparse and simple with improvised solos playing a much more central role. “Fortnight Lilly”, while brief, is intricate and clever, nonetheless. “Cedar Valley” leaves much more to the soloists to create the ambience or explore whatever emotional threads they might discover in the theme and its wistful chord changes.

We love to play jazz standards, blues, funky music, pop, and all the other diverse styles we might be asked to play. However, writing, developing, and exploring original tunes are always central to our creative process.

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