In “First Hail” I wanted to create a pushing and pulling between the members of the duo. That pushing/pulling takes us from a casually seductive opening to a more hectic off-kilter groove on drum set and guiro supporting an improv break for the trumpet. The pushing and pulling abates during a final section in which some of the opening materials are recast in a more subdued form. The “hail” of the title can be an image, or it can also be the act of calling or declaiming. Both senses jibe with the soundworld of the piece.
The whole piece is about pushing and pulling, dialogue begun, frustrated, partially completed–so it will be most effective if it looks and feels like a dialogue, if the attention to the physical or visual dimension is maintained throughout. A way to describe the journey of the piece in non-musical terms would go like this:
The pair enters into an exploratory conversation. Only the subject matter was known in advance; the exploration part was a pleasant development. It’s hard to know how much further to explore. The duo explores far enough. Maybe they’d already said what mattered from the outset. It turns out to be worth saying again. Or maybe it is new this time. In any case, this time it makes a lot of sense. Feels right.