The eerie stillness of New York City during the Covid-19 pandemic led many residents to a state of contemplation and inner exploration. Saxophonist/composer Marc Mommaas found himself drawn to sounds that he grew up with but had eschewed for his own musical path in jazz, namely classical music. The self-described expressionist was surprised to find himself immersed in the sounds of the Impressionists.
Mommaas dove into the music of the Impressionists but found himself particularly drawn to one of the instigators of the movement, Gabriel Fauré, who eventually taught Maurice Ravel and Nadia Boulanger. It was with Fauré’s esthetic in mind that Mommaas began to write music for his new recording, The Impressionist.
Coming from four generations of classical musicians, Mommaas still hears the sound of his mother’s piano playing Chopin when he was a child. As a saxophonist, Mommaas was entirely jazz oriented, inspired by the deep passion his father had for Jazz (a prolific Dutch painter and artist with a capital A). However, as the City slowed down during the pandemic Mommaas found himself drawn to the impressionistic sounds of Fauré, instigated by his famous Requiem in D minor, Op. 48
Mommaas found himself with time and space, in the New York Jazz Workshop studios, to sit down and compose. Always being in the moment, Mommaas jumped directly into working on this new music, trying to connect these older influences with his contemporary style and his complex feelings about New York at that moment. The composing process went by quickly, as if the music just sprang out. Mommaas also had a drummer-less ensemble in mind to perform the music, namely pianist Gary Versace, guitarist Nate Radley, and bassist Jay Anderson, making the writing process even more streamlined.