tenor sax, flugelhorn, vibraphone, piano, double bass and percussion
duration: 6 minutes
Cliches (Flugel Elements)
Prelude, Fugue and Blues for Jazz Sextet
1. cliché, n.: A trite or overused expression or idea; a hackneyed
phrase or opinion.
2. cliché, nom masculin: A negative; printing plate; cliché.
Interestingly, it is the French who have re-appropriated the English definition
as an additional classification to their own. The word itself, in French,
is an evolution from the phonetic imitation of the sound a matrix makes
when dropped into molten metal to make a stereotype plate. Thus cliché
became the name printers used for typeset blocks prior to making the initial
impression. The ever-vigilant print-workers would save precious time by
keeping clichés made-up ready for stock phrases or quotes. Hence
when "birds of a feather flock together" needed to be inserted,
for example, they would not re-set the type, but would instead slot in
With this more precise evolutionary description, I have chosen the jazz
medium to explore a deliberate use of cliché. I have always been
struck by the great jazz players’ vocabulary of stock phrases, riffs,
hooks and stings which can be inserted at convenient moments into the
standard repertoire. Furthermore, jazz arrangers and composers also use
particular anchors, motifs and orchestrations which carry a stylistic
topic often understood to be a tribute or reference. The fugal elements,
at the heart of this composition’s rubric, are of course themselves
derived from a baroque cliché too, where the lexicon of potential
ready-made insertions was just as important.
Therefore, I have sought by use of a standard ‘Blue Note’ instrumentation
(as in the 1963 Lee Morgan ‘Sidewinder’ sessions for Blue Note
Records, with the addition of Milt Jackson on vibraphone for example),
among other means, to pre-empt the inevitable charge of being cliché-ridden.
Tarik O’Regan, August 2000
Tarik O'Regan (b.1978) is currently completing
his D.Phil. in Musical Composition at New College, Oxford having previously
studied at Pembroke College, Oxford (B.A.) and Corpus Christi College,
His works have been performed by, among many others, the BBC Symphony
Orchestra (conducted by Martyn Brabbins), the London Sinfonietta (Martyn
Brabbins), Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (Pierre-André Valade),
BBC Singers (Bob Chilcott), New College Choir (Edward Higginbottom), Clare
College Choir (Tim Brown) and James Bowman. His compositions have been
selected for various international festivals and for regular national
broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and for television on BBC 2.
Tarik O'Regan is a classical recordings reviewer for The Observer newspaper
and a supervisor in 20th century music history, analysis and composition
for various Colleges in Cambridge University.
Published by Oxford University Press and Sulasol, Helsinki, he was recently
awarded a prestigious MacDowell Fellowship in the USA.
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