Low-Down Brown Get-Down, The
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:
- Bass Drum
- Hand Claps
- Snare Drum
- Splashes (large and small)
- Suspended Cymbal
None discovered thus far.
The end of the 60s into and through the 70s saw the era of the “blaxploitation” film -- a genre of filmmaking aimed at African-American audiences which put us in leading roles of stories that often followed anti-establishment plots. These films were often controversial due to their exaggerated bravado, hypersexuality, and violence. Noticing the lucrative potential of blaxploitation films, Hollywood began to market these films to a wider audience. Though low budget, they possessed an exciting, raw, soulful quality unlike any other genre up until that time, and from these films were born some of the most iconic characters (Shaft, Dolemite, Foxy Brown, and Cleopatra Jones, to name a few) and soundtracks ever created, written by some of the biggest names in African-American popular folk music of the day and since, including Issac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, and Marvin Gaye.
The Low-Down Brown Get-Down is the soundtrack for a nonexistent blaxploitation film. It pulls from various sounds and styles of African-American folk music, such as funk, R&B, soul, early hip hop, the blues, and even film noir to stitch together its “scenes.” The title pulls from and is inspired by “post-jive” African-American Vernacular English (AAVE). The word “Brown” in the title, in addition to its reference to none other than the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, whose most-famous licks and bass lines pepper the intro and recur throughout the piece, also refers to the melanin of the people who created these sounds.
This piece unapologetically struts, bops, grooves, slides, shimmies, head bangs, and soul claps its way straight through its thrilling “chase scene” finale. It was my intention with the creation of this piece to go full steam ahead on bringing African-American folk music to the concert stage to take its place amongst all other types of folk music that have found a comfortable home in this arena. May this work push back against notions of “sophistication,” “appropriateness,” and “respectability” that have been codified in the concert music setting for a century and more.
- Program Note by composer
Commissioned by the Purdue University Fort Wayne School of Music Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Dan Tembras, Director.
- Program Note from score
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- University of Central Oklahoma (Edmund) Wind Symphony (Brian Lamb, conductor) - 20 January 2023
- James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Va.) Wind Symphony (Omar Thomas, conductor) - 17 November 2022
- University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Symphonic Band (Jerry Luckhardt, conductor) - 18 April 2022
- University of South Carolina (Columbia) Wind Ensemble (Jamaal Nicholas, conductor) - 17 October 2021
- Purdue University Fort Wayne (Ind.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Daniel Tembras, conductor) – 27 February 2020 *Premiere Performance*
Works for Winds by This Composer
All Wind Works
- Candor (2021)
- Caribana (2021)
- Come Sunday (2018)
- Emma Catherine (Flex instrumentation) (2004/2009)
- The Low-Down Brown Get-Down (2020)
- Moods and Attitudes (2023)
- A Mother of a Revolution! (2019)
- Of Our New Day Begun (2016)
- Sharp Nine (Flex instrumentation) (2020)
- Shenandoah (as arranger) (2019)