Saxophonist Ian Sims

Audio track – Conundrum, by Ian Sims

Ian Sims was one of four winners of the BJA Jazz Composers Showcase, commissioned to write a new tune– “Conundrum.” Ian explained that he usually starts a composition not so much with a concept but simply with a melody. The title, “Conundrum,” he says, is nothing “deep or profound.” Hearing the word “conundrum” on a television program, he decided he liked the sound of it as a title for his tune, an up-tempo swing, with some jagged melodic intervals that hinted at a kind of non-verbal conundrum. Craig Alston’s sax solo on this tune was one of his most arresting, a dizzying whirlwind of notes reaching the heights and depths of the scale. David Smith’s trumpet evoked the bebop era of Dizzy Gillespie and Nat Adderly. After the solos, the sax brought in the melody, with a counterpoint by trumpet. A forceful unison outro brought the tune to an abrupt climactic end. — Liz Fixsen

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