Before my visit to Nevada and California in 2007, I naively assumed that deserts were all the same: flat, hot, sandy, and boring. A drive along Interstate 15—through the heart of the Mojave Desert—revealed a landscape much richer in detail than the stereotypes would suggest. I was surprised by the subtle shifts in topography, the distant mountain ranges, the small desert towns, the incredible sense of vastness, and most of all the Joshua Trees, which begin as the occasional anomaly but eventually dominate the landscape. I was also amused by how the drive was framed on one end by Las Vegas, and on the other Los Angeles, two cities that in many ways are diametrically opposite to the desert. This piece is not intended as a literal depiction of the Mojave but, rather, an exploration of my experience of moving through it, and the inevitable result when traveling in either direction.
Composer: Colin Labadie
for saxophone quartet