Xen = strange, foreign, different
Den = a comfortable, secluded room
The XenDen Suite is my dedication to celebrating the life of one of my closest friends, the late Alan Corbet (1964 – 2008), a close friend and driving force of the West Australian Jazz scene. Alan created a label, XenDen Music, specifically designed for original and independent musicians. But unfortunately due to Alan’s untimely passing, the label’s full potential never came to fruition. This record is my tribute to an amazing man with incredible vision.
The suite opens with a short and reflective ballad, which has a somewhat melancholy feeling about it. We all have memories that make us want to reverse time to those fond periods of our lives. So this first part is appropriately entitled Tebrocnala (‘Alan Corbet’ in reverse).
The bulk of part 2, Freebie was conceived during the last tour, which Alan managed for our nu-jazz project, VOID. I planned to write more than one tune on that day-off in our hotel, but Alan and I quickly slipped into ‘freebie mode’ upon learning that the room bookings were on the house – a nice relief at the end of a stressful tour, what was supposed to be a productive day off, soon became a movie marathon!
Parts 3 and 4 are intended to portray the sequence of emotions on the morning I received the call informing me of Alan’s tragic and untimely death (part 3, Feb 19), and at his memorial service (part 4, Memorialization).
Part 5, Villa is compositionally one of the more involved parts of the suite, and is appropriately written in tribute to one of the more involved projects Alan devised; showcasing 4 of the best West Australian jazz groups in Italy at the Villa Celimontana Jazz Festival, Rome 2006.
The 6th part is in remembrance of all the amazing and hilarious stories, Alan and his brother Graeme shared with us on the road, of growing up in Scotland.
The title, ‘La Brecaton’ is a re-arrangement of Alan’s name. The piece was the result of a spurt of inspiration, which we all get from time to time, (and of which Alan seemed to have many). I’d refer to these spurts as an ‘Alan Corbet moment’, so having to entitle this part led me to a creative rendition, La Brecaton Minute.
As in many well known suites, the finale of the XenDen suite is a collection of the previously stated themes and motifs; The opening melody derives mostly from parts 1 and 5, at a tempo reminiscent of part 2. The drum feature refers to part 5 with the cadenza-like qualities of part 3, and contradicting string pads based on portions of part 7. Finally, the ‘tag’ is a bluesy adaptation of part 6’s unresolved ending, concluding the suite with the feeling of a celebration of life!
released January 1, 2008
Troy Roberts – tenor & soprano saxophones, composition/arrangements
Tom O’Halloran – piano
Peter Jeavons – bass
Daniel Susnjar – drums
Semra Lee – violin
Stephanie Dean – violin
Alex Brogan – viola
Matthew Hoy – cello
Gary Keller – flute and alto flute (6)
Alex Millier – bass clarinet (6, 7)
Libby Hammer – voice (6)
All compositions and arrangements by Troy Roberts
Recording engineer – Lee Buddle
Recorded at Villa Susnjar, West Australia on August 1 – 3, 2008
Mixed and Mastered by Lee Buddle at Soundmine Studios
Photography by Andrew Jamieson
Illustrations and artwork by Vaughn Roberts
Design and layout by Gene Eaton for Papercut Media
Two-time Grammy nominated Australian saxophonist and composer Troy Roberts is based in New York City, maintaining a busy
performance and recording schedule around the globe with some of the greatest jazz artists of today including Joey DeFrancesco, Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts, Kurt Elling, Orrin Evans, and is currently celebrating his 14th release, 'Nu-Jive: Nations United' (Toy Robot Music)....more