I’m proud to have my tune “The Long Road that is Short” recognized by the Production Music Association with their 2016 Mark Award for Best Jazz Track! It’s thanks to my friends Mike Standal and Chris Hanson at MidCoast Music that this was possible—numerous of my songs are part of the library they keep of works that they may license for film, television, and advertising through Warner/Chappell Production Music, and as such they submitted this one for consideration. Apparently, it initially made a short list of nominees, and on top of that, I understand that Norman Chesky himself (famed producer and co-founder of Chesky Records) said a kind word about the composition as he handed the award to Chris Hanson at the event! I am honored by this, and no less by Mike and Chris’s choice of my recording as an entry.

And I guess this is how something that I released in 2003 on the album My New Attitude (see homepage for a sample of the tune) was eligible for such a prize in 2016! It actually began its life in 1999 as part of a suite written at the request of top-flight drummer and good friend David Bayles for a percussion recital at the Wisconsin Conservatory of music (thanks, Dave!). The purpose of the piece was to feature the drum set, with a jazz trio, within the context of the whole concert—and so I felt compelled to do something that would be metrically trickier than our usual fare, something that would present a particular rhythmic challenge and thereby make a new composition worthwhile for the occasion.

That’s how it wound up being largely in 5/4 time, but with an odd mix of odd meters along the way. I was a little extra subject to self-doubt in this instance, hoping I wasn’t creating something too contrived while working with such an agenda. Because, for whatever I know or don’t know about composition, it seems to me at a certain point that when you aim for complexity, you risk losing musicality. In light of all that, it’s especially nice to have this vote of confidence from Mike, Chris, Norm Chesky, and the PMA—thanks, you guys. And even if it’s not my name in lights, it looks it’s my song title engraved in metal!

Thanks and congrats also to sound engineer Brian Schwab, saxophonist Scott Burns, pianist Steve Einerson, bassist Charles Ledvina, and drummer Brian Ritter for their excellent work on the recording.