Length: c. 7 minutes
About this Piece
For Kevin Day, every composition represents a part of himself. He says he’s constantly thinking “What haven’t I shown yet? What haven’t I said yet musically that I could say in these moments?” Having composed over 200 works at just 27 years old, Day is still finding ways to use every aspect of his versatile, musical voice.
Hailing from Arlington, Texas, Day is one of today’s most innovative young composers, known for blurring the distinctions between jazz, minimalism, Latin music, fusion, and contemporary classical music—most effectively done so in his Piano Trio No. 3, “Ecstatic Samba.”
Like its name suggests, “Ecstatic Samba” elicits an unbridled joy that one can’t help but sway along with its danceable rhythm. Samba originated in late 19th century and early 20th century Afro-Brazilian communities and has remained one of the most iconic Latin music styles. Here, Day presents a more modern, experimental approach, drawing inspiration from jazz fusion greats such as Chick Corea.
As an undergraduate student at Texas Christian University, Day wrote “Ecstatic Samba” for flute, cello, and piano, a winning combination for allowing each instrument’s tones and textures to shine their brightest. It’s these strong, distinct parts that make the piece feel so connected, responsive, and alive.
“Ecstatic Samba” opens with a springy, fluttering theme in the piano, accentuated by an aggressive pelting of notes from the flute and powerful, syncopated plucks in the cello. Though it starts here, the piece veers into a more delicate, melodic section, still driving home that samba bounce. Shifting between the two contrasting sections, Day creates a state of controlled chaos only to resolve it in the final measures. —Piper Starnes