I used to do a lot of theater, did strange things with the tuba -- talked through it, danced with it. For one piece I even feigned making love to it. One director often said, "I want to see what happens when he comes out from behind the tuba."
On other stages there would come times during sets when I just didn't want to play another solo -- I had said all I had to say musically. But some leaders are hardheaded. When they tell you to take a solo, they expect you to take a solo. So I came out from behind the tuba.
Darn! Yarns is an outgrowth of those experiences. Em (M ) is an expansion of an instant poem I wrote for someone with whom I was very taken. I wrote it in the middle of her performance. To protect the innocent, she is camouflaged among a myriad of M names. Golden Gate Park happened extemporaneously in the middle of a session. We had to repeat the session due to some technical issues. For that second time around I added the standard You Don't Know What Love Is as a coda. Glenn Horiuchi called me late the night before one of his sessions: "You're going to do a spoken-word piece. The first line is, 'Once upon a time', the rest is up to you". He was generous in letting me have the track. Glenn's piece is the only one that was notated. As was true with a lot of his music, not very much was notated. The other two pieces were made up on the spot. All the pieces were recorded direct to two-track, so for all intents and purposes these are live performances.
Why tales of love and woe? They're the best.
On Roper's Darn! Yarns, William Roper leads the Flatterzunge Trio and Judicanti Responsura.
The Flatterzunge Trio is the same personel as the earlier collective effort The Lament of Absalom that included Francis Wong on the clarinet and tenor saxophone and Elliot Humberto Kavee on drums and cello. He plays these instruments at the same time! Actually Golden Gate Park was created at the Absalom session. But, since I didn't know I was going to talk I didn't get close enough to the microphone for a viable recording. So I transcribed the words and we got together again with a vocal mike. There was no point in trying to recreate the earlier music, we just played.
Judicanti Responsura is always William Roper and Joseph Mitchell. On Once Upon A Time we hear Joseph in a less familiar role-on the trap set. Judicanti Responsura is joined by special guests Francis Wong and Glenn Horiuchi. In addition to his normal role of playing the woodwind instruments, Francis has an extended solo on the erhu.
- Purple Gums has a new CD: Mo' Betta Butta
- ORDER Roper's Darn! Yarns.
- New CD - If I Ran The Circus
- A film about the Leimert Park scene
- New CD - Chobraty
- An interview of William Roper by Allen Huotari at All About Jazz.com.
- A recent article
- William Roper's bio
- Poem for Emmett Till
- Abe Lincoln
- William Roper's Discography
- A CD of free improvisation by Double Yellow
- An indepth discussion of Juneteenth history at the Electronic Village, the African tradition "virtual village".
- A new composition for tuba and prerecorded sound.
William Roper is a Miraphone artist and plays Warburton mouthpieces.