As I Am for baritone saxophone and piano

November 20, 2022: Steven Banks, Saxophonist-Composer Xak Bjerken, Piano, Principal Strings of The Met Orchestra

Each of us has an undeniable spark of humanity within us which sets us apart from anyone that has ever lived or ever will. We each have the capacity to leave a lasting impact on the world through our relationships, creations, and ideas. In the world that we live in today, it is so easy to lose touch with the spark that is deep within our consciousness. We are set back by failure, fear, the everyday hustle of life, and so much more.

As I Am is inspired by my constant struggle to keep my spark from being dimmed and eventually put out entirely. The piece loosely follows my journey as an artist from times of genuine, deep, beautiful contentment, to times of anguish, frustration, and serious thoughts of giving up. I choose to end the work with a relentless ascent of hope that the spark within me will, in fact, carry me through a life of positivity and love.

My hope is that people with similar life experiences will find something to identify with in this piece. I don’t claim to have created a masterpiece or a miraculously intricate work. I just want to share a bit of myself with you, and this is the best way I know how! The work is dedicated to the master pianist and my musical hero, André Watts.

© Jane Vial Jaffe

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