Jonathan Moritz Secret Tempo Trio
photo by Michelle Arcila

Secret Tempo juxtaposes the feel of jazz with elements of modern classical music and free improvisation. My love for Bird's swing, Ben Webster's big tenor sound, the interaction in Webern's orchestral pieces, and the extended techniques of lowercase musicians forms the foundation of my music. This record consists of written music with a lot of room for improvisation. The trio either plays over chordal sequences or in a less structured way, with composed material serving as a starting and ending point.
The music is divided into three parts: tempos (Medium, Fast, Ballad), fundamentals (Melody, Harmony, Rhythm) and meter (7779). The tempo pieces adhere to structure and use compositional devices: chord changes, ritardando, accelerando, rubato, angular phrasing, breaks, fermatas and full trio hits to stretch the tune out and give an impression of abstraction. The second part of the album -- fundamentals -- features collective improvisation following written music. The trio focuses on playing in between each other's lines rather than layering textures on top of one another. Saxophone, bass and drums have equal importance in the creation of the melody, blurring their traditional roles. 7779 deals with the concept of ostinato. The longer sections of this composition allow the trio to rock out and push the groove into frenzied disintegration.
'Secret Tempo' refers to hearing invented tempos above the existing ones and playing off of and around them. It is the unspoken and emotional element that rises to the surface.