Green Diamond is a brand new 6 minute, grade 4.5/5 piece for wind band that is inspired by the blues scale and the American Railroad.
In my middle school jazz band, my director started every rehearsal with a blues scale exercise, which has stuck with me to this day. In 2012, I had the idea to write a concert band piece based on the blues scale, and Magnolia Star was born.
Last year, I began envisioning a sequel – a piece that builds on Magnolia Star, uses new harmonic and melodic material, and includes a few other surprises, like an off-stage alto sax soloist.
It’s a fast and fun ride that incorporates the blues scale, the minor/major chord, and even the Dies Irae!
Check out this trailer for a behind-the-scenes look at Green Diamond:
Green Diamond is the second piece in the Magnolia Star Trilogy, a group of pieces inspired by the blues scale and the American railroad. Magnolia Star, the first in the series, was written in 2012.
Green Diamond uses the blues scale as a key influence, but it also includes a new element: the minor/major chord (C-Eb-G-B-D). These two sound worlds (the blues scale and the minor/major chord) generate harmonic and melodic material that alternate, combine, and compete throughout the piece.
Like Magnolia Star, the influence of the American railroad provides inspiration for sounds that are fast, driving, and energetic. Green Diamond also features an off-stage alto saxophonist who provides somewhat distant, jazzy reminders of the blues scale, offering an answer to Green Diamond’s preoccupation with the minor/major chord.
Green Diamond, like Magnolia Star, was the name of a train that ran in the early 20th century as part of the Illinois Central Railroad.