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“REFUGE: Seeking Solace Amidst Chaos” is an eight-movement suite composed for small jazz ensemble that explores the book of Psalms and the recurring idea of refuge in God that the psalmist describes. Featuring original compositions and arrangements by Andrew Deur, the suite tells the story of humankind’s relationship with God over the course of their creation and their fall into brokenness. As danger, adversity, struggle, and pain become prominent figures in humanity, the psalmist cries out to the Lord for help, and while the response does not always match their expectation or timeframe, God hears their prayers and answers with steadfast protection and peace. The psalmist responds with utmost praise, resting in the refuge they find in the Lord.
“REFUGE” was compositionally inspired by a variety of significant contributors to the jazz idiom, including Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Tony Williams, John Scofield, and Will Kennedy; the compositional and improvisational innovations of these musicians have shaped the development of jazz and improvisational music over the decades and were instrumental to the creation of this project. Additionally, the only non-original movement features a reharmonization of the classic hymn “Old 100th”, commonly known as “Doxology”, by Louis Bourgeois and Thomas Ken. Throughout the suite, recognizable styles, timbres, and harmonic structures are reimagined and reintegrated with text from the Psalms and contrasting styles to create unique musical textures that reflect the associated psalms and tell different aspects of the story.
Performed in the Lee Honors College at Western Michigan University on April 23, 2022, “REFUGE” features Faith Quashie on vocals, Ben Crino on guitar, Grayson Nye on keyboard, Owen Cramer on acoustic bass, and Andrew Deur on drum set. Special thanks to audio engineers Dustin Kellerman and Nick Moored and videographer Mike Tiesenga for recording, mixing, and editing the performance, and to Keith Hall and Matthew Fries for serving on the thesis committee and offering invaluable insight and guidance throughout the entirety of the project.
Deur, Andrew, "Refuge: Seeking Solace Amidst Chaos" (2022). Honors Theses. 3547.
Honors Thesis-Open Access