It’s About Time


Grade 5

For two trumpets and wind ensemble

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It’s About Time (2014)

for two trumpets and wind ensemble

duration:  12’

Commissioned by The Charles Schlueter Foundation and premiered by Charles Schlueter and Marvin Stamm, trumpets, with the NEC Wind Ensemble; Conducted by William Drury. March 8, 2014

Notes from the composer:

“It’s About Time” refers to the circumstances surrounding this piece’s creation. Legends in their respective trumpet fields (classical and jazz), Charlie Schlueter and Marvin Stamm have known each other for many years; yet, they have never had the opportunity to perform together. “It’s About Time” – written for their premiere in March of 2014 – rectifies that fact. The piece was composed for the CBDNA Eastern regional division conference, held at the New England Conservatory in Boston, where the conference’s focal point – “Crossing Over” – would be examined. “It’s About Time” refers to “time” being, of course, one of the main elements in all of jazz, but also refers to my many lessons with Charlie Schlueter (I was a trumpet student of his for 4 years at NEC) where rhythm was a main topic of discussion when dealing with elements of trumpet playing. My knee still hurts from a slap I would receive from playing something just slightly out of rhythm. (I’m kidding just a little…).

Accordingly, the piece plays with our sense of time, most notably between C and F (and similar subsequent passages), where the triangle keeps a common jazz beat going, while the rest of the ensemble moves in and out of rhythmic ambiguity. It all gets resolved at the 6/4 at letter F.

Later on, the jazz component is added most directly, with the addition of a drum-set (it is about time, after all) leaving the jazz soloist (Marvin) an option for improvisation.

I don’t necessarily like to think of this piece as “crossing over”, but more-so a piece that presents both “sides” on equal terms – as they should be – in an effort to just be music for enjoyment, without any stigma attached. I think we have made great strides in eliminating categorization on many levels – and all I can say is “it’s about time”.

Once again, I am thankful to Charlie Schlueter and The Schlueter Foundation for supporting my work as a composer. He (they) have done so numerous times, and I am forever grateful for the belief in my ability to create music.

Jim Stephenson 2013

Instrumentation [ONE PER PART]:

  • Piccolo, Flutes 1-2, Bb Clarinets 1-3 (1st part – 2 players), Bass Clarinet, Alto Sax. 1-2, Tenor Sax, Baritone Sax
  • Horns 1-2, Trumpets 1-2, Trombones 1-2, Bass Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba Timpani, Percussion, Contrabass
  • 2 solo trumpets


  • B.D., Wood Block, Sus. Cymb. (2 large & 1 small) Marimba, Vibes, Trgl., Toms, Temple Blocks Tamb., Xylo., S.D., Cymb. a2, Ratchet, Glock., Tam-Tam, Cabasa, Drum Set, Slap-Sticks

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