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Sound Games

The sound of games a game of sounds

Commissioned by MJF Originals as part of Manchester Jazz Festival 2012 and the Cultural Olympiad, Sound Games was an original composition by Pete Moser for an eight-piece jazz band performed at the Festival Pavilion on 20th July 2012.

The work provided an unusual take on the athletic frenzy that gripped the nation in summer 2012; the compositions and improvisations inspired directly by different olympic events. These included a ten-second eight-part counterpoint for a 100 metre run, a series of long jump solo journeys, a four-minute groove of competing rhythms and much more.

The performance also adopted a filmic element revealing how the music has been created, with iconic moments in sporting history turned into musical creations in front of the audience!

What events?

  • Entrance and 100 metres: The athlete/musicians arrive on stage, warm up, are introduced, race and then the winner leads a lap of honour.
  • High Jump: A competition over a groove with the players dropping out one by one. The winner celebrates.
  • Relay: Two teams, the baton is a match of rhythm and sound
  • 1500m: Patterns of footsteps overlap in a developing rhythmic race following Steve Ovetts famous 1974 victory
  • The Bar: A tune inspired by a great high bar routine gets 'jazz standard' treatment
  • Long Jump: Bob Beaman's 1964 leap inspires individual and group improvisations
  • Pole Vault: Two great Russian women vaulters compete and inspire a chopinesque suite
  • 800m: Improvised running and vocalising followed by a sweet lap of honour
  • 100m hurdles: Leap and jump and...
  • 6543: Testing concentration and stamina as the players shift beats…

What was it like?

Here's what one reviewer had to say:

"This was a curious one for sure, but great fun. Moser introduced the concert as the Manchester Decathlon, each of the pieces being one of the races, and with all band members coming on wearing some sort of sports kit and a number on their back. The material was composed to reflect the character of each race, along with accompanying images and video. The compositions embraced a wide range of sounds from modal sequences, Africa township sounds, 'Cucumber Slumber'esque Weather Report vibes, Steve Reich rhythms, to funk grooves and beyond. Certainly an oddity, but the band connected well with the audience, and a happy time was had."

Taken from here.