Singletrack: Christopher Madsen

Christopher Madsen
"Song for the New Decade" from the album Pop Art

“Song for the New Decade” was written a few days before New Year's 2010. Having always been fascinated by history, I was excited about the possibilities that the new decade would bring. I wanted to express that enthusiasm through music. A big part of what inspires me musically is honoring my reverence for the past while finding ways to highlight one's individuality—using creative ways to try new things. ”Song for the New Decade” sounds like a traditional swinger, but uses an unorthodox form:

C (bass+drums intro)
C (add piano/guitar)
A (melody)
B (bridge)
C (guitar solo)
A (piano solo)
B (bridge interlude)
C (tenor solo)
C (outro)
C (bass/drums fade)

"Song for the New Decade" is part of the 2012 album Pop Art, an album that uses short-form, modern-day pop songs as formal inspiration. The idea was to put straightforward jazz compositions into the framework of the modern pop song format. You can see how this comes to fruition in the formal chart above. Short solos combined with an emphasis on song structure and texture hopefully make for a unique sound.

Jazz saxophonist and composer Christopher Madsen serves as jazz faculty at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and is the director of jazz at Midwest Young Artists in Highwood, IL. He has coordinated the jazz program for the National High School Music Institute in Evanston since 2009. Madsen actively performs, writes, and teaches in multiple contexts and venues. He is also a Rico Reed clinician, member of the Fulbright Specialist Program roster, Jazz Education Network and the National Educator’s Association. He has also been featured in Jazziz Magazine (2012) and the "Jazz Spotlight" for artsamerica.org (2012). He has coached award-winning ensembles at New Trier, Libertyville, John Hersey, and Elk Grove High Schools in Illinois.

Madsen currently resides in the Chicago suburb of Libertyville with his wife, Melanie, and two dogs.

On this track:
Chris Madsen, Tenor Sax
Scott Hesse, Guitar
Josh Moshier, Piano
Charlie Kirchen, Bass
Eric Montzka, Drums

"Singletrack" is CAR's Artist Story for Chicago musicians in which songwriters and bands discuss a song and how it came to be alongside audio or video clips of the work. To submit your song for consideration, please email the music researcher.

Submitted by CAR_Editor on Wed, 04/17/2013 - 2:51pm
Singletrack: Christopher Madsen | Chicago Artists Resource

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