“Spirit of the Impossible-Strange” was commissioned by the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble for its May 2014 concert at Tabor Space in Portland, Oregon. The composer, Galen Clark, offered these notes about the piece:
When the person Myth meets the person Reality
The spirit of the impossible-strange appears
In dark disguise
It is always there where nothing inverts itself
and becomes something
Whatever is the imperative need
‘The Spirit of the Impossible-Strange’ is loosely based on this poem by Sun Ra. I began the writing process by listening to as much Sun Ra as possible for a few weeks. My goal for this piece was not to try and emulate his work or write in a similar style, but to start with a seed representing the spirit of his music and develop it in my own voice. One of the aspects I love about the music of Sun Ra is the juxtaposition of free improvisation and intriguing dissonance while still maintaining a sense of order and keeping the importance of the group at the forefront. The music carries with it community and spirituality and these are some of the concepts I wanted to transfer into my own writing.