Over the period of about a week in 2019, I started arranging Bix’s iconic composition ’In A Mist’ for steel guitar duet. I had purchased the sheet music about 15 years prior with the hopes of one day getting to it on guitar but was always so daunting. I first heard the piece on Ry Cooder’s Jazz Lp, which coincidentally also introduced me to another of my favorite pieces and artists, Jelly Roll Morton’s ‘The Pearls’. I just decided to roll up my sleeves on In A Mist and see if I could turn it into a reasonable duet arrangement for steel guitar. I think I succeeded, although I never quite finished the arrangement. I’m hoping to get inspired again to continue to arrange and then record an acceptable version.
This is one of the most ambitious undertakings I’ve ever been involved in. To say it is difficult is an understatement, but somehow it works. The combination of the slightly differently tuned steels really work hand in hand, and where one tuning is not quite capable of making a part happen, the other seems to pick up the slack. Sometimes the two guitars switch parts in the most unusual places, seamlessly completing the puzzle.
I’m offering up for study the first 80 measures of what I have completed. I think that much of what is on these pages is a pretty food reflection of how I see the steel guitar, in particular the C6 tuning. There is a good deal of problem solving involved in trying to make difficult passages sound easier than they are. If I have a little time, I will try to describe some of the thinking that went into certain parts. Maybe after I have finished the entire score.
Ciao for now.