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About this Piece

Composed: 2005

Length: 8 minutes

Orchestration: piccolo, flute, oboe, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, 2 tenor saxophones, 4 horns, 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (bass drum, glockenspiel, suspended and crash cymbals, triangle, tubular bells, vibraphone, xylophone), rhythm bass, drum set, harp, piano, and strings

Born in London, England, Jules Buckley initially studied jazz trumpet before taking up composing as a full-time vocation. He studied contemporary composition with Julian Philips at the Guildhall School of Music in London, where he was awarded the Chairman's Prize from The Corporation of London during graduation. Upon returning from the Henry Mancini Institute last summer, Jules was awarded a composition fellowship from the Guildhall for this academic year.

His works have been performed by various ensembles and at various venues including the Montreux Jazz Festival, the London Jazz Festival, and the Henry Mancini Institute in Los Angeles. As an experienced conductor, Jules has had the privilege of leading various ensembles including The Heritage, the Tom Richards Jazz Orchestra, and the Guildhall Symphonic Wind Ensemble, alongside various session orchestral work.

Buckley provided the following note about Urban Roots:

Having been commissioned to compose an overture for the Henry Mancini Institute in April of 2005, I wanted to compose a piece which would, on the one hand, represent my own musical heritage, and on the other, pay tribute to the great composers who have written for film. Having lived and worked in London for the past seven years, the constant exposure to so many different cultures and sounds became my muse during the compositional process.

Set at a medium tempo, it follows an arc-like form and is focused around an angular melodic fragment, which develops through an ethereal harmonic progression. The main theme sees the emergence of the rhythm section employing a syncopated groove against the developing counterpoint of the orchestra. I had wanted to feature a soloist within the piece and, on this occasion, feature the soprano sax playing of James King, a good friend of mine, whom I had the privilege of meeting at HMI last summer. For the final section of Urban Roots I have tried to maximize the impact of the main theme in combination with the initial fragment to produce what I hope to be a rousing and energetic sound world you will enjoy.

I finished my overture, complete with revisions, in Los Angeles last August (during my time as a composer participant at HMI) and would like to dedicate the performance to Jack Smalley, whose guidance and expertise during my time there was invaluable to my continuing work since.

- Jules Buckley