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I Saw the Light

Almost 20 years ago I wrote a musical suite for the Brass Band of Battle Creek (BBBC)  honoring one of my heroes–the GOAT Muhammad Ali, entitled–“I Saw the Light.”  Now years later, my friend and colleague Demondrae Thurman, who played on the original performance with the BBBC, premiered the work at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University where he is conductor and director of the Brass Band.

I was so thrilled to bring this music to life again and pay homage to the late great Muhammad Ali.

The works includes the following musical segments:

  • “Fanfare”

Fanfare for Ali

  • “Alone With the Light”
  • “Dance I; Rumble, Young Man, Rumble!!!”
  • “Quick”
  • “Dance II”
  • “Contemplation” featuring Demondrae Thurman
  • “Contemplation The Fight” featuring  Wycliffe Gordon

This segment gives a musical depiction of the fight between Ali and George Foreman

  • “Me/We”

This piece depicts many of the colorful characters of Ali, depicted by the solo playing of Wycliffe.  The message of this piece is that we all share the ability to be as great as Ali himself, as depicted by the copying of musical phrases played by the band answering Wycliffe. The band continues in the supportive role, accompanying the soloist and joining in the “shout” at the end of the piece.  You can purchase the music for this segment on my website here.

  • “I Saw The Light

This musical statement is Ali’s affirmation of receiving the complete truth from his earlier teachings, the culmination of all the earlier movements of the piece.