Inspired by the logical formula for “denying the consequent”, in a new project by Shannon Graham the term Modus Tollens becomes a metaphor for challenging one’s initial assumptions, especially those that we make about art music and ourselves.
Graham’s sophomore record Modus Tollens offers a new musical direction from the chamber-jazz-pop large ensemble of her debut project The Storytellers. Modus Tollens takes a simple approach in the attempt to find beauty and sincerity in new musical creations. “With this project I wanted to break out of the box I had established for myself in my previous project. Right now I’m interested in exploring sincerity over irony, beauty over strangeness, simplicity over complicity, no unnecessary notes, and no extra instruments.”
This stripped down ensemble of piano and saxophone require that the compositions get straight to the essence of the music. Graham’s saxophone performance moves to the forefront in Modus Tollens. “Without the horns and strings from the Storyteller’s front line, the saxophone needs to be the main expressive melodic voice. I was afraid of that responsibility when I created the Storytellers, but at this point I feel that it’s something I need to do.”
Graham hopes this project will cause audiences to question their ideas about jazz and classical music, while encouraging them to question their personal premises and find liberation in their own unknown.