from:  'Twas the Night Before New Year's Eve (12/30/05)

Mystic with a Credit Card (1978)
by Michael Colgrass

Mystic with a Credit Card is an excerpt from my brass quintet, Flashbacks, commissioned by the Canadian Brass in 1978 and premiered by
them at Tully Hall in New York on February 6, 1979.

In Flashbacks I attempt to feature each of the quintet members in a way that fits the nature of their instrument. This excerpt for trombone features the instrument’s broad emotional scope, which spans from gently expressive to barbaric. Mystic with a Credit Card gives the soloist a chance to demonstrate this range of qualities in a theatrical context. As well as playing, the trombone player speaks to the audience in an almost confessional way about feeling lost in a fast-changing multi-cultural society. I express this idea musically by showing the close stylistic relationship between East Indian music and Western blues, where the two styles can at times sound so similar that the stylistic identity of each becomes blurred. This mosaic of styles represents the blend of the divergent cultures in the soloist, whose feelings are never quite resolved.

-Michael Colgrass