Suite is a musical term with which a certain form of a (multi-part) piece of music is indicated. Having now made 2 suites, I can only be very enthusiastic about this way of composing. Of course you do not write a jazz suite every month or every year. It is a huge job, which requires a lot of inspiration. And “writing discipline”, because besides a lot of inspiration, putting the music is also a lot of work.
Why am I so happy with this form of music? Because you come to places where you normally do not come quickly, especially in jazz music. For me, jazz music as an experience is often very spherical, perhaps even meditatively. That form of jazz music is much less in loose pieces. What is also very nice about the suite shape is that you can let themes come back, so you can make a story much easier. I also think that coming back from motives is much more pleasant for the listener. It gives the piece of music a story and cohesion. Making it much more an experience than, for example, a long medley where the different themes are placed linearly behind each other.
Important when writing a jazz suite is the concept you want to use. What is the story? The first suite I wrote (Life Of A Day 1999) was based on a book, with the theme “life in a day”. So in fact a life story with the dimensions of a day. Birth – dawn; Teens – morning etc. Because it is about the life of a person, the themes of that life can always return, but always in (literally) a different light. Actually a very visual source of inspiration. The second suite (Hållsta suite) has my recent “burn out” as inspiration, i.c.m. with the winter of Hållsta. It is precisely the connection between the abstract feelings of fear and discomfort and its 2-year development, with the images of the arctic winter in the north of Sweden, that gave me the right inspiration in 2017 to use this suite for Big Band and Vocalgroup in a relatively short time.
When writing both suites, I naturally also really liked the qualities of the two orchestras. Studying such a piece of music, and performing it, is the greatest musical experience there is. That’s why I always wanted to play along instead of conducting. Because explaining how you have come up with it, and how you want it to sound is fun, but experiencing and performing the suite is priceless.