Saxophone Quartet (SATB) + Drum Set (opt.)
“Recuerdo de una Jornada” was composed for, and dedicated to, the Cuban saxophonist Jorge Luis Almeida and the Havana-based saxophone quartet “Habana Sax”.
Jorge L. Almeida graduated from Cuba’s National School of Arts in 1975 and from the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana in 1987; under the tutelage of professor Daniel Deffayet, he completed two courses of studies at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris in France “with distinction” in the years 1987 and 1990.
In 1987, Almeida founded the saxophone quartet “Cuarteto de Saxofones de La Habana” and later on, in 1991, “Habana Sax”.
The repertoire of the latter, which is one of the most important ensembles of its kind in Cuba, ranges from classical to contemporary music. Infl uences of Cuban popular music as well as jazz can be felt in many of the ensemble’s works, and often a percussionist is added to the group’s lineup. Throughout the years, the quartet has presented itself at festivals and in the most famous concert halls all over the world.
Various technical particularities that represent quite a challenge in the execution of Cuban music manifest themselves in this composition, such as syncopations, off-beats, the “cinquillo cubano” and, as its most prominent aspect, the “clave”. It is the “son clave” (2-3) that marks the beginning of the piece and is, for instance, picked up by the four saxophones in measures 30 and 31.
The part played by the baritone sax should especially be pointed out: One the one hand, it assumes the role of the bass building the rhythmic and harmonic basis; on the other hand, it provides further rhythmical support when executing the “tumbaos” in case an additional percussionist is added to the quartet (which, of course, is optional since the piece can be performed without any percussion instruments).
In measure 32, the tempo changes and the piece switches over to a Latin jazz feel making use of a phrasing typical of this style. This feeling is maintained up to measure 54, where the tenor sax starts playing a “tumbao”, developing into a so-called “champola” (a term that refers to the layering of different “tumbaos” which, when played in conjunction, result in a “contagious” rhythmic pattern) in measure 58.
Finally, in measure 72, the composition returns to tempo primo, being performed in the style of a “son”, and ends with the execution of the “son clave”.