TV & Film Composer Tree Adams to Release 'Elements 4' Ft. Bassekou Kouyate

Set to debut on March 28th, this groundbreaking symphony is expressed through four movements representative of the four roiling elements - Air, Earth, Fire and Water.

By: Mar. 04, 2024
TV & Film Composer Tree Adams to Release 'Elements 4' Ft. Bassekou Kouyate
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The esteemed composer Tree Adams has announced his latest masterpiece, the upcoming release of "ELEMENTS 4."

Set to debut on March 28th, this groundbreaking symphony is expressed through four movements representative of the four roiling elements - Air, Earth, Fire and Water. It is through these movements that Tree sonically explores the human impact of climate change and our struggle to innovate and survive.

Tree Adams is no stranger to pushing musical boundaries. He is an award-winning, internationally renowned composer who has amassed an enormous and diverse body of work in film, television, and music. 

His credits range from the epic, and fan loved sci-fi score for Jason Rothenberg's 'The 100' to more contemporary scores for popular series like Belushi, Legends, NCIS New Orleans and NCIS Hawai'i, Lethal Weapon, Redemption Road, Californication or Swelter to name a few.

He also is a founding member of the popular NYC jamband The Hatters, as well as produced songs for Grammy Award-winning artists like New Orleans legend Cyril Neville, blues musician Taj Mahal and rapper YG. And most recently launched a new project Dagnasterpus, spawned from his love of New Orleans and his time spent there while working on the NCIS show. 

With such a prolific body of work, Tree Adams has cemented his talents in a variety of genres but classical music was his first. Included within his musical lineage is his grandfather, the accomplished violinist Seymour Solomon who co-founded the esteemed Vanguard Records along with his brother, Maynard Solomon. Maynard was a musicologist and famous author most known for his biographies of Beethoven and Mozart.

Tree's father is the notable jazz drummer Chicken Hirsh who played with blues legends Lightnin' Hopkins and Sonny Terry and Brownie Mcghee, and was a member of Country Joe and The Fish. Enveloped within this musical childhood, as a young boy, Tree Adams started with classical piano and recorder under the tutelage of his grandmother Ruth, an accomplished classical pianist.

From her, he learned of Wagner, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich and fell in love with storytelling in music. Now in a compelling return to his roots, Tree has unveiled one of his most ambitious compositions to date with the transcendent symphony “Elements 4.” 

Inspiration for the new record struck Tree during his trip to the Biennale in Venice in late 2023. While visiting the exhibition, Tree learned of the innovative works that architects and engineers are developing to create a more sustainable and equitable future.

He recalls, “Their work gave me a new feeling of hope and a belief in the resilience of humankind. I was inspired to capture this feeling (along with the wonder, the mystery, the tension and the horror of climate change) musically in a large work with international scope like a symphony and then I began to search for a construct that might fit the traditional 4 movement format. Later that week my wife and I walked past a church where they were performing the 4 seasons and we had the idea why not approach the climate change issue through the lens of the roiling 4 elements and our struggle to innovate and survive. Hence the title “Elements 4.”

With the new symphony Tree elegantly confronts climate change through four movements including Air on “Venti Allegro” in the sonata form, Fire “Fuoco Adante” in large ternary ABA form, Earth “Terra” with drum interlude and world minuet, and Water “Acqua Rondo Finale” in the rondo form, molto allegro. 

During the creation process, Tree shares, "I was listening to a lot of Mahler and Stravinsky around the time that I wrote the symphony. Perhaps Mahler's 9th and Stravinsky's Firebird Suite had the most influence on me in the process." He also studied the online archives found on the NY Philharmonic website, he states, “I studied Bernstein's blue/red pencil marking technique and applied this to my own score to use in Budapest. Without a doubt, it's what got me through the session and it allowed me to balance the technical aspect of counting and leading through an elaborate tempo/meter map with listening to the orchestra and pulling at the clay to get the most emotion out of the performance possible.”

As a composer Tree could often hear the full movements in his head. He tapped Greg Jamrok who gave valuable notes as well as Josef Zimmerman and Abe Libbos of Fine Line Entertainment who helped with the score preparation. 

He recalls, “I have written tons of classical and world music pieces/worked with orchestras and players from around the world before but this is my first work of this scope and my first instrumental work in this genre telling a cohesive story of my own.” He continues, “On the various film and television projects that I have done, I had been tasked with telling someone else's story with music and that music was built to loyally follow the picture. In this case, there is a clear picture in my mind and while we are following the traditional format, the music is still leading- front and center.” 

They recorded the symphony in Budapest where Tree conducted a 75 piece orchestra at Budapest Scoring (run by Balint Sapzon) with Viktor Szabo as the recording engineer. Mark Robertson was the concertmaster/1st chair violinist and Ölveti Mátyás was the solo cellist. Taking a global feel the symphony features the esteemed Bassekou Kouyate on the Ngoni who recorded his parts in Mali, Africa.

Also Chris Bleth's feature solo on the Duduk was recorded in Arizona. Bringing a rich and diverse texture to the symphony, Tree included a variety of drums including Persian Daf, Arrowhead Water Jug, Kit, Djembe, Dumbek, Thunder Sheet and various kegs and toys, all recorded in Los Angeles with Wally Ingram and Tree Adams. And Tree used additional recordings of storms captured by his son, Thibeaux in Cuba. 

Like many of us, climate change has been a constant reminder for Tree. Living in Los Angeles he has seen and lived through droughts, floods, earthquakes, extreme heat, fires and storms. “Elements 4” highlights his concerns in a global light. Tree comments, “My hope is that the music embodies a message of hope and resilience.

Through music, I believe that we can raise awareness, be a catalyst for a creative conversation and find common ground and love in a world where there is so much division and tribalism.” 

“Elements 4” is a testament to Tree Adams' talent and his love for the art of storytelling in music. The new work has already won a few accolades including the Debussy International Music Competition: Grand Prize Winner 2024 S1 as well as the Debussy International Music Competition: Absolute First Prize Winner Orchestra 2024 S1.

“Elements 4” will be released in conjunction with EarthPercent, a charity that supports and funds climate-positive solutions. The new record is due out March 28th, and will be available everywhere you stream music!


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