I met Robert Black at a music festival in Buffalo, New York, in 1985, where I heard him play for the first time. I realized then that there was a lot more to the double bass than bass. When he asked me to write a piece for solo bass, I wanted to take advantage of the very long strings, the very high notes and the very low notes –– all at the same time. I tried to expand the idea of a solo bass piece: Could the bass play bass to itself? At a syncopated speed? In Paint It Black, I tried to make the bass sound like two instruments. I called the piece Paint It Black as a tribute to Robert.
Paint It Black was commissioned by the Minnesota Composers Forum.