Music Video of Keith Calmes performing Cloud Dance

Roger Aldridge

Composer in Residence
Distinguished Member
Please check this out -- It's Keith Calmes (classical & jazz guitarist in NJ) performing my piece Cloud Dance at a concert in NYC.

Cloud Dance was composed in 1993, along with several other pieces, for a concert to benefit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. After that performance, the music gathered dust for 18 years (I completely forgot about it) until it was discovered in August, 2011 by George Spicka, a composer friend in Baltimore. After George's discovery, I found my original copy of the music and made some minor revisions. Keith Calmes used the new version of the music in a performance at the Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York City on December 18, 2011.

The piece was inspired by a day in which thick, low clouds driven by high winds seemed to perform a ballet. The music unfolds through shifting moods, textures, and movement. Except for a brief restatement toward the end of the opening phrases, the piece is largely through-composed and does not use conventional compositional forms.

This piece is fairly short. I think of it as like cloud patterns that come into our vision and then are quickly gone. However, when it's performed with a jazz group it will be extended with solos.

A performer has a considerable amount of freedom to adapt this music to his own vision and personal style. Ideally, each performance will be a unique creation.

Sheet music for this piece is available at the American Music Center.
At the AMC page, click on the PDF icon.
Keith Calmes and I were talking about this piece last night. He's going to record another version that's extended with improv and has more contrast with tempos. The piece is meant to have a floating, kind of day dreaming quality. I suggested to him that he play the first 36 bars, solo on the chord changes in the 36 bars (solo as long as he wants), then return to the top and play the entire piece as written.
If any music friends are working with Cloud Dance, I made a revised version today. It includes an optional solo (36-bar solo form) and a couple of subtle changes. Here's a link to its page at the AMC online library -- At the AMC page, click on the PDF icon and you'll see the music.
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