American bassist Michael Montgomery is a prolific composer and his ‘New Orleans Nights’ is a suite of nine pieces for unaccompanied double bass which can be played arco or pizzicato.
The composer writes: “Having grown up in a small town only ninety minutes east of New Orleans (considered to be the birthplace of jazz) I had the opportunity to spend many an evening wandering the streets of the famously exotic French Quarter and hearing live music wafting through open doors of clubs on just about every corner. The nine vignettes of this collection recall the ambience of long ago strolls through those somewhat seedy lanes and the sensation of the otherworldliness as that music filled the air.
The pieces were composed with the classical bassist in mind, meant to embellish our repertoire of jazz flavoured solos and studies, whilst offering the student experience in reading melodic and rhythmic patterns (all eighth notes/quavers should be swung) representative of the idiom. Each is meant to mimic the improvisation a bassist in a jazz ensemble might play when he is featured as a soloist on the chorus of a tune. With the exception of the first piece, which is included as an example of a bass accompaniment line and as such should be played pizzicato, all the numbers can be played either pizzicato or arco and it is for this reason that bowing and phrasing indications are intentionally sparse.”
Double bassist Michael Montgomery, a student of Robert Rohe and Lucas Drew, has a Doctor of Musical Arts degree, played in the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra for many years, and now lives in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, where he teaches at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville and the Suzuki Music School of Arkansas. His articles have been published in American Suzuki Journal, Bass World, and Pastoral Music.