St. Louis Blues (2016)
for solo trumpet and fixed media

St. Louis Blues is a compositional response to the documentary, “Bob’s Tour: Understanding What We See,” directed by Jun Bae. The main subject and narrator of both the documentary and this piece is Bob Hansman, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, and the founder of City Faces, an arts education non-profit in the St. Louis inner-city. During his tours, Bob brings real, human stories to the forefront of his conversations in order to provide a deeper understanding of the city’s complicated and controversial history. The narrative of this piece is focused on a handful of pivotal moments that have gradually morphed St. Louis City’s stature from being the fourth largest city in the United States to being the epitome of socioeconomic and urban inequities. The soundscapes introduced in this piece seek to dramatize and contextualize these narrative contents. In addition, the elements of ragtime and blues introduced in the piece are reminiscent of the St. Louis blues as a musical genre. The genre was popular in the 1890’s and early 20th century, during the heyday of St. Louis City as the praised “Gateway to the West.”