Buckley, Bob

Bay City Bounce

 

Duration: 6’

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: Yes

Musical Characteristics: Bay City Bounce is an original medium-fast tempo swing composition in the key of D minor. The composition has great rhythmic interest and exciting ensemble figures. Its features are improvised solos for trumpet, trombone, alto saxophone and tenor saxophone. Solo sections are each based on a D minor blues progression of twenty-four bars. The third and fourth trombone parts are frequently scored as an ensemble with baritone saxophone and second tenor saxophone. Optional flugelhorn is written for the third trumpet part. The ensemble writing is very idiomatic and improvised sections are based on accessible chord progressions creating a musical and very playable composition. Rhythm section parts are fully notated including many stylistic suggestions with voicing and rhythmic outlines for student performers.

Technical Challenges: The ensemble writing is very accessible to secondary school performers. All figures are clearly and carefully marked with a wide range of articulations. Brass range demands are moderate with the lead trumpet generally playing up to a C/7 but with an optional D/7 (and optional lower octave). Trombone range is moderate; the inclusion of a bass trombone is suggested to give added depth to the fourth trombone part. Frequent rests in the brass parts allow embouchure muscles to recover strength. Most ensemble writing is block section voicings with a minimum of independent part movement. Low saxophones and third and fourth trombone form an independent section for the statement of the theme and its recapitulation. Special effects included are falls of various lengths for the brass section.

Improvisational Challenges: The improvisation sections are based on a twelve- bar blues form in D minor. Twenty-four bar solos are specified for trumpet, trombone, alto and tenor saxophones, with an added solo chorus of drum fills. Background ensemble figures enter for the second twelve-bar chorus of each solo. The solo key and limited harmonic materials will enable secondary school performers to perform with some fluidity on this form.

Pedagogical Value: This is a carefully crafted, exciting shuffle blues composition. Students will enjoy performing this piece because of its very playable orchestration and rhythmic feel. Excellent pedagogical value; effective in combination with a study of the blues tradition. Provides opportunity to observe the given stylistic suggestions in the score; to define ‘falls,’ ‘shuffle,’ and to work on wide-ranging articulations and fluidity of production.

 

Jacobs, Bill

Blues It

 

Duration: 4’

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: No

 

Musical Characteristics: Blues It is based on an original jazz tune by Benny Golson. As the title suggests, the composition is blues related and is structured in a twelve-bar blues form with the theme and solos occurring in Bb concert and C concert. The eight-bar introduction in three-quarter time switches to common time at bar nine for the duration of the piece. The tempo is a medium ‘walking’ tempo which could be varied depending on the ability of the performing ensemble to settle into a comfortable rhythm. The first alto saxophone part includes a flute double, but parts are available to substitute soprano saxophone for the flute part. The first trumpet must play to a Bb/6 concert but there are sufficient rests for players to recover strength and prepare for subsequent entries. Rhythm section parts include suggestions for performance voicings and rhythms but some sections of the piece provide only chord changes.

Technical Challenges: The wind and brass players must be able to perform triplet sixteenth notes in the context of a written-out turn ornament. This difficult figure is written for all sections of the ensemble. A trombone soli includes quarter-note triplets for the whole section. All three tenor trombone players must be able to play up to a unison Bb/6. The fourth trombone part should be performed on a bass trombone because it includes chromatic passages to pedal Bb. There is very little independence of part writing; most rhythmic and melodic figures are performed in sectional rhythmic unison. The rhythm section parts include specific suggestions for rhythms to be used although specific voicings are not always indicated. The ensemble parts are sometimes difficult to read because some rhythms are notated with double dotted notes and rests rather than two individual notes or rests to indicate the duration.

Improvisational Challenges: Improvised solos are based on a twelve-bar blues progression in Bb or C concert. The progression contains very few alterations or substitutions and will be familiar to most advanced high school music students. The tempo is moderate and the rate of harmonic change is moderately slow. The complete progression may be performed by students using only one blues scale for the length of the solo. Solos are written for either flute or soprano saxophone, and trumpet.

Pedagogical Value: This piece is not difficult to perform in either the ensemble parts or improvised sections. Composed in familiar keys for students, it would be useful material to develop familiarity with the blues form and to experience its inherent emotionalism. The score gives many players the opportunity to improvise. The rehearsal and performance could be coordinated with a listening unit of the many recorded blues styles.

 

Johnson, Jerry

Moonflower

 

Duration: 4’

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: Yes

Musical Characteristics: Moonflower is a bossa nova ballad featuring alto saxophone solo on the main melodic theme and improvising on the same harmonic material. The sustained melody in D minor is accompanied by soft full ensemble backgrounds. Brass parts are very moderate in range and endurance and will be playable by many secondary school ensembles. The ensemble rhythmic vocabulary is quite extensive and includes frequent quarter-note triplet figures in the bossa nova style as well as sixteenth-note trill figures passed from section to section. Parts are very clearly notated and include suggested voicings for rhythm section players and solo ideas for the improvisation sections. The composition includes many sections with soft dynamics and interesting colour changes in the orchestration.

Technical Challenges: Moonflower uses a wide range of articulations in the ensemble writing to achieve an authentic bossa nova style; these include very short dry staccato notes in contrast to smoothly articulated tongued legato passages. Smooth sixteenth-note semi-tone trills are notated for all sections including the trombones. The trombone section will need to use a legato double tongue on these figures at the specified tempo marking of quarter note at m.m. 154. The guitar part also includes sixteenth-note semi-tone trills that must be performed in a measured and controlled manner. The fourth trombone joins with the baritone saxophone and bass in some significant soli bass passages. Many contrapuntal counter-melodic lines are included which are usually scored for complete sections in unison. There is very little independent writing for individual instruments except the solo alto saxophone.

Improvisational Challenges: The alto saxophone performs a sixteen-bar improvised solo with full ensemble accompaniment. The parts include a suggested solo which student improvisers may use as a resource to develop improvisational ideas. The solo is marked ‘Ad Lib or Written’. The chords are centred in the area of D minor concert and change moderately quickly.

Pedagogical Value: A well-written latin piece with a primary focus on soft legato playing from soloist and section. An understanding of the bossa nova style through listening to recordings will make the piece accessible to many high school performing ensembles. Ensemble and improvisation challenges are on the lower end of the difficulty rating. Rhythmic challenges for all sections will require careful and detailed rehearsal. There is excellent pedagogical value in the study of the extensive rhythmic vocabulary, staccato vs. smooth, guitar trills, contrapuntal sections, soft dynamics and how to effect colour changes. The composer provides resource materials to assist student improvisers.

 

Mahar, Bill

BTZ

 

Duration: 6’

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: Yes

Musical Characteristics: BTZ is an exciting modern salsa composition including high energy brass parts that will not exhaust a secondary school player. The composition moves from a ‘samba feel’ to a ‘salsa feel’ throughout the piece. The rhythm section parts contain detailed notations to assist the younger performer in creating the correct feel. The bass part includes very detailed salsa bass lines. Rhythmic figures are written at a difficult level for the ensemble and include eighth-note syncopated patterns as well as half-note triplets over four quarters. This is a contemporary modal style of writing which may be less familiar to secondary students. Class listening to other examples of the style will be valuable.

Technical Challenges This composition is technically demanding for all sections because of the dexterity required to perform at the specified tempo. There is nothing faster than eighth notes but ensemble lines frequently include non-scalar passages which increase their difficulty. Many short and aggressive accented lines require correct use of tongue-stopped notes (marked with a ‘hat’ accent) to achieve the stylistically correct result. The lead trumpet part is written to Bb/6 with an optional C/7 but is generally centred in a lower range. The trombone parts include several pedal Bbs for the third and fourth players; the fourth trombone part should be played on a bass trombone to produce low notes with greater ease and volume. All players must be confident enough to function as part of sections throughout the ensemble. Entries and rhythms on each performer’s part are often unrelated to other section performers.

Improvisational Challenges: Improvised solos are included for soprano saxophone, trumpet, trombone and drum set. The wind instrument solos are marked for forty-eight bars or ‘open’. The percussion solo is of thirty-two bars duration. The soprano saxophone solo starts with thirty-two bars accompanied by percussion alone; the complete rhythm section enters for the rest of the solo. Solos are based on either one chord for the duration of the solo or two chords in alternation. The tempo is fast but the harmonic rate of change is slow. The solos are centred in the keys of F and C concert which are familiar keys for most secondary school students.

Pedagogical Value: This composition is a very valuable addition to the secondary school repertoire, an example of modern instrumental salsa style combined with creative orchestration and moderate range demands. It provides opportunity to make connections with recorded music of Latin-American cultures; its performance will have musical appeal for both performer and audience. Develops skills in dexterity with speed, and cross-section voicing. A difficult composition of excellent pedagogical value which will be a technical and musical challenge for advanced secondary school ensembles. This creative and unique composition incorporates many ‘world-music’ elements into contemporary jazz ensemble orchestration.

 

Mahar, Bill

It’s You or No One

 

Duration: 4’

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: No

Musical Characteristics: This is an exciting jazz band composition in up-tempo swing style based on the vocal standard by Cahn and Stein. The specified tempo is half note at m.m. one hundred. A trio of trumpet, tenor saxophone and trombone from within the band is featured on a harmonised statement of the melody. The arrangement includes fast moving unison lines for trumpet, trombone and saxophone sections which lead into a harmonised ‘shout’ chorus. Other solos are improvisations for tenor saxophone and fourth trumpet with ensemble background figures. Detailed dynamic markings are written for all the parts. Improvised solo sections include optional repeats and are marked ‘open.’ The brass parts are demanding in terms of scale speed of production in soli sections. Only rarely and briefly do the lead brass parts move into extreme high range.

Technical Challenges: This composition includes several difficult unison soli passages for various sections which are primarily scalar in character; given adequate rehearsal time, they would be within the grasp of most advanced secondary school jazz ensembles. A complex harmonised saxophone soli will require detailed rehearsal if the given tempo marking is to be maintained. The rhythmic vocabulary of the soli passages consists primarily of constant eighth notes requiring a high degree of technical dexterity from all the ensemble players. The first tenor saxophone, fourth trumpet and first trombone players function independently as a trio with rhythm section backing and full band backgrounds. The lead trumpet part includes several C/7s as the highest note. The composition includes a wide vocabulary of articulations ranging from long legato phrases to very short and dry rhythmic punctuations.

Improvisational Challenges: The composition is centred in a key which is familiar to most secondary school students, but the chord progression does include frequent II-V7-I progressions requiring knowledge of scales in several keys. The improvisation sections are based on a thirty-two bar AABA song form; the tempo will require soloists with speed and facility to perform and improvise successfully on the given framework.

Pedagogical Value: An exciting up-tempo composition which provides each section with moments of high intensity playing. The unique sounds and textures of this fast swing chart should be stimulating and interesting to secondary school students. Featured soloists include trumpet, tenor saxophone and trombone on a written melody and improvised solos from tenor saxophone and trumpet. Useful pedagogical value for understanding the AABA form of composition, the detailed dynamic markings, the ‘scalar’ sections, for applying the skills of increased speed in particular sections, and performing the ‘ensemble within an ensemble’ passages.

 

Malone, Michael

Easy Living

 

Duration: 4’ 30"

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: Yes, commercially available

Musical Characteristics: A slow ballad setting of the standard tune by Robin-Rainger which features solo trumpet on the main theme in a conservative range. Technical demands of only medium difficulty for brass would allow extensive performance use. The introduction includes flutes on the upper four saxophone parts as notated in the score but alternative parts exist which delete these doublings and allow for performance with soprano saxophone lead. A ‘double-time feel’ chorus contains some rhythmically difficult figures and there is a short but rhythmically complex saxophone soli section.

Technical Challenges: The trumpet solo, notated as the third part, requires a player with a strong rhythmic sense to reproduce the notated rhythms with assurance. The complex figures within the solo are logical and stylistically consistent. Reference to the recorded version will aid students and conductor in rehearsal. Careful rehearsal will be required for the wide range of articulation vocabulary notated in the ensemble parts and for the specific dynamic indications for background and ensemble soli figures. This is a restful piece for brass players; endurance demands are minimal, but high musical and stylistic demands are implied by the score.

Improvisational Challenges: This piece features sixteen bars of third trumpet improvisation, the first eight bars with rhythm section alone followed by eight bars with brass section background figures. No suggestions for the solo are given for young performers. The chord changes, although moving at a slow tempo, provide a rich variety of scale and note choices which would be more approachable by an experienced performer.

Pedagogical Value: Technically playable by most ensembles, but requires musicality in approach and attention to stylistic detail. A mature and artistic composition that is not overly taxing on the brass section. A study of the historical background would be useful. Provides an opportunity to teach independent improvisation as this composer does not write student-assisted parts in the score. Very high pedagogical value for advanced secondary school ensembles with opportunities to analyse the articulation vocabulary, to develop aural skills of translating vocal to instrumental style, and to increase awareness of non-aggressive tone production.

 

Malone, Michael

With A Song In My Heart

Duration: 3’ 30"

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: Yes, commercially available

Musical Characteristics: A slow ballad setting of the standard tune by Rodgers and Hart which features ensemble performance in a fully orchestrated version of the main theme.The introduction as notated in the score includes two flutes, two clarinets and bass clarinets on the five saxophone parts but alternative performance parts are available which delete these doublings. A ‘double-time feel’ chorus contains some rhythmically difficult background figures and there is a short but complex saxophone soli section.A wide variation of tempo gradations and rubato within the given slow tempo will require careful pacing.

Technical Challenges: Many flowing independent lines in individual parts will provide challenges to the secondary school player. Woodwind players must show mature independence and sensitivity to tempo and rubato. Some difficult triplet background figures in the woodwind parts will require careful preparation. A ‘double time feel’ section for the ensemble has very difficult rhythmic subdivisions and many contrasting articulation markings. The brass ranges are very moderate, with all notes in the high range approached by step; consequently, endurance demands are not high. Performance using the orchestration with extended woodwind doubles will place it beyond the abilities of all but the best pre-professional bands; the alternative parts which delete these doublings bring the piece within the range of secondary school ensembles.

Improvisational Challenges: There are very brief improvised solos within the rhythm section. The emphasis is on slow, smooth ballad style from the ensemble, but involving complex harmonic language.

Pedagogical Value: With a Song In My Heart is technically very difficult in several bars, but playable by some excellent ensembles with extensive rehearsal. It requires attention to stylistic detail and musicality in performance approach. Potential pedagogical value is very high; provides an opportunity to explore the music and historical background of Rodgers and Hart, to analyse the complex harmonic language of the composition, and to work on balancing the contrapuntal woodwind parts with the brass background.

 

McGrath, Jim

Red Sun

 

Duration: 5’

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Availability of Score and Parts: North Toronto Collegiate Institute Recording: No

Musical Characteristics: Red Sun is an original contemporary jazz fusion composition based on a modal pentatonic melody. Commissioned for a secondary school jazz ensemble tour of Japan, the piece has true multicultural dimensions presented in contemporary jazz ensemble style. Solo flute is featured in addition to the standard saxophone section for most of the composition. The flute solo may also be played on soprano saxophone. The composition opens with rubato unaccompanied flute which progresses through a straight eighth variation in both common and six-four time. Improvisation solos are included for flute (soprano saxophone may be substituted) and for piano or synthesiser. Rhythm section parts are extremely well notated, an appropriate aid for secondary school performers. Ensemble parts contain many optional figures which may be adapted to suit the endurance and strength of the brass section.

Technical Challenges: The solo flute part ranges from C/5 to A/8 and indicates overblowing to produce harmonics while trilling. The solo also includes a highly technical pentatonic sixteenth-note final cadenza. Most ensemble parts include ornaments, turns, shakes and falls of varying duration. Saxophone and brass section parts are of moderate difficulty with enough rests to allow recovery time for student embouchures. Detailed information for rhythm section parts will facilitate the rehearsal process. Performers must be confident interpreters of complex rhythms. The six-four section of this piece will require careful rehearsal, although the parts are easy to read and each bar is subdivided into four-four and two-four.

 

Improvisational Challenges: Improvised solos include an open section for flute based on an F major pentatonic scale and an open section for piano or synthesizer marked ‘spacey,’ based on a repeated vamp figure. The solos are centred in a familiar key; the duration of each solo is adaptable to specific circumstances.

Pedagogical Value: The piece combines several unique styles in one composition. Rehearsals can be coordinated with listening to a diverse range of recordings in which elements of this piece are represented. Useful exercise for flutes to create harmonics in trills without overblowing, for analysis of the complex rhythms and vamp figures and for the opportunity to define: spacey, fusion, pentatonic, and rubato style of performance. The score includes many teaching aids and suggestions for student performers.

 

Nimmons, Phil

Friends Departed

 

Duration: 5’

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: Yes

Musical Characteristics: Friends Departed is a slow ballad feature for the bass trombone accompanied by jazz ensemble. The bass trombone plays a beautiful A minor melody which forms the basis of the composition, a second statement of the melody with improvised ornamentation, as well as an improvised solo. Rhythm section parts are very carefully notated with many suggested voicings and rhythmic ideas. The piece is masterfully orchestrated and includes many unique jazz ensemble sounds. The ensemble must be able to perform comfortably at slow tempos and with very restrained soft dynamics. This composition would not be appropriate for an ensemble unable to enjoy the challenge of soft and controlled performance. It would also be possible to substitute baritone saxophone for the solo part if no outstanding brass player is available. The solo is legato and vocal in style and requires smooth tone production.

Technical Challenges: Embouchure and endurance demands in the brass section parts (excluding the solo bass trombone part) are of moderate difficulty. The solo bass trombone part requires a student performer with a competent vocal approach to the instrument and the ability to improvise fluidly and smoothly; it is not technically difficult and avoids extremes of high and low range. The range of G/3 to E/5 would also be playable by a tenor trombone player who can handle the medium low register. There is sufficient rest for all the brass players and only limited use of the upper register. There is an optional two-bar part in the second trumpet which moves into a higher register than the lead trumpet. There is an optional clarinet or soprano saxophone part for the saxophone section. The rhythm section parts are complex but carefully notated to aid in the production of specified background sounds.

Improvisational Challenges: The sixteen-bar improvised bass trombone solo is based on a slow progression of chords centred around A minor. The slow tempo will enable the soloist to concentrate on the changing harmonic structure. The melody may be used as a guide to improvising on this pattern and is printed on the solo part with the harmonic changes above for reference.

Pedagogical Value: This is an excellent composition for developing jazz ensemble ballad style; a slow ballad with moderate technical and ensemble challenges which features solo bass trombone in both notated and improvised passages. A mature secondary school soloist is required for the bass trombone part. Effectiveness will be compounded when used with a course of listening to jazz ballads performed by vocalists or instrumentalists. Pedagogically valuable for developing a vocal, legato style of solo performance, to develop the subtlety of soft and controlled accompanying skills, and to analyse the compositional methods which create the unique colours in the rhythm parts.

 

Nimmons, Phil

Harbours (Atlantic Suite, First Movement)

Duration: 5’

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: Yes

Musical Characteristics: An original ‘medium swing’ piece featuring improvised solos from piano and trumpet. The piece is superbly crafted and includes orchestration that is idiomatic for each instrument. The ensemble and solo figures are technically very playable as well as musically and stylistically meaningful. Parts are carefully notated for rhythm section and include frequent piano and guitar voicing suggestions. The drum part includes triangle in addition to the normal drum set complement. The trumpet and trombone sections require plunger mutes; the trumpet parts suggest flugelhorn for some sections. The piece has a unique sound within the orchestration created by some independent contrapuntal lines.

Technical Challenges: Trumpet and trombone range demands are generally very moderate; lead trumpet has one B/7 concert (optional D#/7), lead trombone does not rise above G/5. The fourth trombone part requires a true bass trombone because of extended low range. Endurance demands are not excessive for the brass players; frequent rests allow time to recover necessary strength. All eight brass section players will need to develop an ensemble use of plunger mutes and gain familiarity with notation indicating closed, open and half-open mute. There is some independent writing for various instruments, and frequently sections are subdivided to play separate musical roles. Detailed notation of articulations must be performed accurately to achieve the desired musical goals.

Improvisational Challenges: The first improvisation is an unaccompanied eight-bar piano and bass solo, with guitar addition for the following eight bars. The piano solo is based on moderately slow harmonic changes and repeated patterns. This is followed by an improvised solo for fourth trumpet for a thirty-two bar AAA1A form based on a repeated two-chord progression for the ‘A’ section followed by an ‘A1’ section with slightly more rapid chordal change. The ‘A1’ section indicates scale suggestions on the performance part. A sixteen-bar improvised section of drum fills is included with ensemble background accompaniments..

Pedagogical Value: The piece is useful for learning swing style in combination with the opportunity to perform repertoire by a major Canadian composer and to observe the integration of classical and swing motifs. Moderate technical challenges in the context of a very musical composition. Excellent pedagogical value in that it requires a performance approach which emphasises musicality over technical flash.

 

Nimmons, Phil

Horizons (Atlantic Suite Fourth Movement)

Duration: 11’

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: Yes

Musical Characteristics: An extended composition in a rock style featuring lengthy improvised solos for guitar, bass, drums (triangle) and alto saxophone. Several themes are incorporated: long overlapping ascending ‘wave-like’ lines, fog horn sounds, a folk dance-inspired march, and rock figures. Range and endurance demands are generally moderate for the brass with a limited amount of necessary high-range playing. Ensemble rhythmic figures are complex and will require extensive rehearsal. Extended improvised solos will require mature student soloists. Chord changes and some scale suggestions are given in the performance parts. Improvised solos are in keys (D major concert, B minor concert) which are less common for student improvisers. Rhythm section parts are detailed and fully notated; the percussionist has several short improvised fills and solos. Due to its extended duration, this composition requires a mature group of performers to maintain concentration and stylistic consistency.

Technical Challenges: An extensive articulation vocabulary is notated in all ensemble parts; each phrase will require detailed rehearsal to ensure consistency of attack and release. Glisses up to notes and falls off notes are notated in all woodwind and brass parts. Frequent dynamic extremes and classical articulations (e.g. sffz ) are included. Brass ranges are generally moderate with sufficient rest time to recover strength between high range episodes. Most section writing is rhythmic unison with very little independent contrapuntal writing. Several sixteenth-note scale passages for the woodwinds and brass will require detailed slow rehearsal. The fourth trombone part should be performed on a bass trombone preferably with two valves to enable the player to easily perform the notated low B/3.

Improvisational Challenges: Two solos for alto saxophone, one guitar solo, one bass solo and various short drum fill sections are included. The opening alto saxophone solo, based on a rubato four-bar section marked ‘Ad Lib Very Free,’ is written on the G#/7 chord, a scale and chord combination less familiar to student performers. The guitar solo based on two chords of extended duration is for a minimum of twenty-four bars with an open section to be included. The extended alto saxophone solo is notated for seventy-six bars plus an open improvised section. Harmonic frequency of change is moderately slow but the improvised solos are of extended duration and based in less familiar key areas for a total of approximately three minutes.

Pedagogical Value: The unique quality of this piece is its combination of diverse stylistic elements. Good teaching experience when combined with use of the commercially available recording. Unique style and much musical depth which incorporates impressionistic reproduction of various sea sounds. Valuable for review of D Major and D Minor scales, to rehearse consistency of attacks and releases, and to develop the skill of the woodwinds on trills. Excellent pedagogical value for ensembles with mature improvisers able to perform extended solos.

 

Nimmons, Phil

Mod’s Mode

 

Duration: 7’

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: Yes

Musical Characteristics: A moderate tempo swing composition based on a series of short melodic phrases passed from section to section in an extended blues form. A relaxed feel and focus on tempo and phrasing are integral to the performance. The stylistic focus is on a lightly swinging soft style that gradually builds through the duration of the piece. Very moderate technical demands on all sections make the composition playable by many jazz ensembles. Careful dynamic and articulation notations are included in all instrumental parts. The rhythm section parts are fully scored and notated with added specific voicings for student performers. The composition includes improvised solos for guitar, bass and fourth trumpet. Trumpet range extends to Bb/6 concert (with an optional D/7); trombone range extends to Bb/5 concert.

Technical Challenges: Moderate endurance challenges are presented by the trumpet and trombone parts. Most ensemble playing is centred at mid-range level, enabling student performers to concentrate on necessary musical elements. The saxophone section must be able to perform eighth-note triplets at the specified tempo marking of quarter note m.m. 123. The wind players are required to perform short falls off notes and short ascending rips or glisses.

Improvisational Challenges: A seventy-two bar solo for the guitar, a thirty-six bar solo for fourth trumpet and a sixteen-bar bass solo provide opportunity for improvisation. Soloists are supported by frequent ensemble background figures. Harmonic rate of change is slow and only a limited number of scales are necessary to improvise effectively. The duration of the guitar solo will require a mature student performer.

Pedagogical Value: An extended length composition exploring a form of the blues which will require mature soloists and experienced ensemble players. Valuable for opportunities to analyse the large vocabulary of ensemble figures; to understand the terms: ‘short falls,’ ‘rips,’ ‘glisses;’ to work on the performance of the required special effects and, most important, to attempt to understand the composer’s intended interpretation.

 

Phillips, Brigham

Irish Cream

 

Duration: 4’

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: Yes

Musical Characteristics: A ballad composition based on a folk song style melody which features alto saxophone, brass soli and unison trumpets on varied statements of the theme. Following a short introduction using soft flugelhorn fanfares, the alto saxophone states the melody in a rubato style accompanied only by guitar chords. The melody moves from the rubato statement into a section in tempo, to revert later to rubato statements. The harmonisation of the melody is quite complex and contemporary. Flugelhorns are required in the trumpet section and flute doubles are an option in the saxophone section. Instrumental parts with no woodwind doubles are available from the composer. Improvisation is limited to alto saxophone ornamenting the melodic statements as desired.

 

Technical Challenges: Moderate range demands in the brass parts make this composition accessible to secondary school ensembles. An important solo chordal guitar part will require a mature secondary school performer. Flugelhorns are required for the trumpet section, but quiet mutes could substitute if flugelhorns are unavailable. There is an optional french horn part which is cued in the trombone section. Instrumental fanfares will require careful rhythmic precision from the brass section. The lead trumpet part is written to an Ab/6 (with optional higher notes). Rubato ensemble sections will need to be rehearsed at length to ensure a common approach to note placement, dynamics, articulation and timing.

Improvisational Challenges: Improvisation is limited to melodic ornamentation of the notated solo saxophone part and the accompanying guitar part. Although the notated melody is simple and folk-like, the supporting chordal structure is complex; preparation will be required to ensure that the soloist’s ornamentation enhances the melody.

Pedagogical Value: Ballad composition featuring alto saxophone as a pretty vocal-style composition. Valuable for teaching rubato, legato ballad style to both soloists and ensemble. Technical requirements are moderate; demands are higher in the area of musical interpretation. Excellent teaching value in analysing the unique elements of the composition, the fanfare components and the contemporary harmonisation.

 

Phillips, Brigham

Once Again

 

Duration: 7’

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: No

Musical Characteristics: This ballad features trombone and flugelhorn in a slow funk style. Intricate rhythm section parts are well notated to enable student performers to produce the contemporary funk feel. The improvised alto saxophone solo is marked ‘a la Sanborn,’ providing an opportunity for students to study the style characteristics of this contemporary improviser. The composition includes five trumpet parts, with one optional if only four players are available.

Technical Challenges: The woodwind parts require careful attention to the wide range of notated articulations. Moderate brass ranges will make performance accessible to secondary school ensembles. The woodwind parts exist in two versions, one including two flutes, two clarinets and bass clarinets as doubles, and the other for five saxophones with optional soprano saxophone on the first alto and first tenor parts. The trumpet section requires harmon mutes and one flugelhorn. The solo parts for first trombone and flugelhorn are very moderate in range. Technical demands are moderate for all ensemble players but secure rhythmic reading and comprehension are necessary. The lead trumpet is written to a C/7 concert with an optional Bb/6. The trumpet section requires harmon mutes and one flugelhorn. Some pyramid background figures for woodwinds and brass require several players to demonstrate independence in placement of notes, but the major part is scored with each section functioning as a unit.

Improvisational Challenges: An eight-bar solo section for alto saxophone is included. Harmonic rate of change is moderate, with each chord typically lasting one bar of the solo section. The alto saxophone solo is marked ‘a la Sanborn’ and it would be advantageous to have the ensemble and soloist listen to recordings of improvisation in this style.

Pedagogical Value: An original contemporary funk ballad featuring trombone and flugelhorn melodic statements and a short improvised alto saxophone solo. Useful performance and teaching material in a contemporary jazz funk style. Pedagogical challenges include complex rhythmic figures, intricate rhythm section parts, and pyramid background figures. Good pedagogical value in contemporary funk style composition, in understanding the AABA song form, and analysing the characteristics of contemporary improvisation.

 

Phillips, Brigham

Sophisticated Lady

 

Duration: 6’

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: Yes

Musical Characteristics: A samba-style composition based on the Duke Ellington jazz standard Sophisticated Lady. The piece is set in a comfortable key for trombone, but will require a competent soloist to perform a melodic solo for sixty-four bars followed by an improvised solo of the same length. Rhythmically challenging for all sections, this arrangement is an exciting up-tempo reworking of the classic. Repeated sections are used to augment the standard form and to build a long crescendo to the finale. The trombone solo states the melody after a short montuno introduction, followed by an improvised trombone solo, improvised flugelhorn solo, ensemble chorus and a montuno ending and coda.

Technical Challenges: The piano and guitar parts include complex written-out figures which typify samba rhythm. The parts are quite technical and will require dexterity to achieve the indicated fast tempo. In many cases the parts include extended vamps that maintain constant eighth-note movement, transposed as the chords change. Brass endurance demands are moderate for all section players. Lead trumpet range includes an A/6; lead trombone range extends to Ab/5. The lead trombone player should be a mature performer who is able to maintain concentration throughout the two solo choruses. A bass trombone is required for the fourth trombone part. No mutes or special effects are needed for the brass sections although there is an optional flugelhorn part written on the fourth trumpet part. Most of the ensemble writing consists of full section figures with very few independent lines for individuals. Ensemble figures feature a large vocabulary of articulations including many fast legato scale passages.

Improvisational Challenges: Sophisticated Lady contains improvised solos sixty-four bars in length for trombone and flugelhorn. The tempo is fast and the harmonies quite complex, moving through a variety of key centres. Both soloists will need to be mature players who possess above-average high school improvisation skills. Harmonic rate of change is fast and includes altered chords of substantial complexity.

Pedagogical Value: This piece makes excellent connections with the jazz historical tradition, modern jazz writing and samba style and will be enriched by a study of the historic background of Duke Ellington, and by listening to his recordings. A significant work for jazz ensemble which is playable by secondary school groups if the solo trombonist is capable of performing the part; improvisation is difficult for the solo and rhythm section parts. Valuable for teaching the large vocabulary of articulations, and for confirming an understanding of stylistic terms: samba, salsa and montuno.

 

Read, Paul

Bedtime Story

 

Duration: 6’

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: Yes

Musical Characteristics: This difficult arrangement of the Herbie Hancock jazz tune includes only moderate range demands from the brass players but requires a strong rhythmic concept from the complete ensemble. Several sections of changing metre and metronome markings will need careful rehearsal if they are to be performed with assurance. The composition includes some woodwind doubles and a flugelhorn solo. The improvisation structure of the piece will require mature soloists and/or supplementary instruction from the teacher. The rhythm section will be better able to play in the correct performance style of this composition when they have listened to some of the many recorded versions of this jazz tune.

Technical Challenges: Brass section parts are technically very playable with no extreme range or embouchure demands. The first alto and second tenor saxophones play a contrapuntal duet on flutes during the opening bars, although the composer will provide optional parts which omit the doubles.

Improvisational Challenges: A difficult improvised flugelhorn solo is based on complex harmonies structured over forty-four bars which includes two separate double-time sections and metre changes from four-four to five-four time signatures. A transcribed solo is included with the solo changes marked on the flugelhorn part to provide stylistic source material and harmonic ideas for a student performer.

Pedagogical Value: This moderately difficult composition depends on mature student flugelhorn and alto saxophone soloists for successful performance. It is valuable for introducing the contemporary jazz style to student ensembles. The style will be best synthesised by listening to Herbie Hancock records, and by making a study of the source material given in the improvisation part.

 

Read, Paul

Sand Castle

 

Duration: 5’

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: Yes

Musical Characteristics: Sand Castle is a bossa nova marked ‘Loose Feel’ with a moderately fast tempo marking of quarter note at m.m. 132. A very soft, smooth melodic line is the focus of this arrangement. The complete ensemble presents the opening theme with optional flutes doubling a flugelhorn lead. Rhythmic unison figures are interrupted by short contrapuntal unison statements by the baritone saxophone sections and bass trombone. All ensemble figures are idiomatically written and appear to be stylistically linked to the melodic materials. The figures will be assimilated easily by student groups because the order of presentation and development of musical materials are controlled and logical. The piece requires attention to soft legato playing with some limited use of forte dynamics. Ensemble players will need to balance forward rhythmic momentum with a controlled soft approach to performance.

Technical Challenges: Optional flute doubles in the woodwinds are written in unison but require some confidence and a good technique if they are to be used. The majority of flute orchestration doubles the first trumpet/flugelhorn part as an additional colour in unison. Some complex notated solo bars in bass trombone and baritone saxophone will require mature, confident performers. The notes are idiomatically scored and not overly demanding in terms of range but do require reliable articulation, tone and pitch. The trumpet section ensemble parts all double on flugelhorn. Dexterity and fingering challenges are moderate in all ensemble parts. A carefully notated bass part provides challenging figures for the student performer which will contribute much to a stylistically correct performance. The piano part contains no suggested voicings for the student performer and will consequently require some preparation time to achieve a musical performance.

Improvisational Challenges: Tenor saxophone is featured in an initial sixty-six bar solo followed by a tutti ensemble statement, with an additional minimum of seventeen bars of solo improvisation in the coda section. There is an optional repeated section in the coda which is marked in the score as ‘Play At Least 2 Times - Build.’ Difficult harmonic language with changes in harmonies appearing frequently and at a moderately fast tempo will require a mature confident soloist.

Pedagogical Value: A sophisticated bossa nova composition with a strong jazz improvisation component. Moderate technical challenges and range demands combined with a difficult extended tenor saxophone solo require a mature soloist capable of performing the contemporary bossa nova style. The piano part will require careful preparation for most secondary school performers as piano voicings are omitted; bass trombone and baritone saxophone players will necessarily develop independence through performance of this piece. Good pedagogical value for secondary schools.

 

Read, Paul

Song No.1

Duration: 4’ 30"

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: Yes

Musical Characteristics: This composition (a movement from the composer’s Suite No. 3) features the second alto player with an extended solo on soprano saxophone. The music was written for and premiered by a Canadian secondary school jazz ensemble. A written statement of the slow jazz waltz tune is followed by twenty-eight bars of improvised solo which continues into a twelve-bar notated melodic section. The piece concludes with sixteen additional bars of improvised soprano as a coda. Some complex rhythm patterns in melodic and background orchestration are quite difficult. Solo harmonies are difficult but with sufficient rehearsal a secondary school soloist could perform competently.

 

Technical Challenges: The brass section will be challenged in performance even when selecting the alternative lower octaves. Secure and strong performers are necessary on all brass parts.The lead trumpet part is notated to Eb/7 with an alternative octave down notation. A beautiful contrapuntal trombone soli introduces this piece for four bars; trombone 1 plays up to Bb/5 and the bass trombone (4th part) descends to C/3. Ensemble rhythmic demands include four quarters over three, quarter note triplets over a half note and duple figures superimposed on the three-four jazz waltz rhythm. Most of the difficult rhythmic figures are section unison which should make them more accessible to student performers. Long tenuto phrases contrast in articulation with heavily accented bell tone figures in brass backgrounds.

Improvisational Challenges: The piece includes forty-four bars of improvisation for soprano saxophone, notated on the second alto saxophone part. If the second alto player does not improvise at the expected standard, the second and lead alto saxophone players may exchange parts. The changes for the solo are complex and rich, but the tempo is moderate and harmonies usually change only once per bar.

Pedagogical Value: With a mature soloist, this piece could provide an outstanding musical experience for secondary school performers. The soprano saxophone solo has the dominant role in melodic line and extended improvisation; the complex rhythmic patterns make heavy technical demands on soloist and ensemble. A challenging trombone soli demands work on unity and security of tone.

 

Read, Paul

Song No. 2

Duration: 3’ 30"

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: No

Musical Characteristics: A composition written in the tonal style of Keith Jarrett or Gary Burton. Solo piano accompanied by bass and drums in a moderately fast cut time introduces the theme, sustaining slow harmonic changes over a bass pedal point. Moderate brass ranges, optional woodwind doubles and extended piano solo sections will make this piece quite playable by secondary school ensembles.

Technical Challenges: Ensemble writing requires that performers are able to sneak into entries with no audible attack. Stagger-breathing is also necessary for long sustained chords where the parts indicate "breathe as necessary." A smooth classical legato style is required for the ensemble writing. The trumpet section suggests at least one player doubling on flugelhorn and the complete section must have harmon mutes. Moderate trumpet and trombone ranges will allow the piece to be performed in a smooth and musical manner. The players must have well-controlled dynamic range within a sostenuto-legato style. Many phrases start at one dynamic extreme and continue without a break to the opposite end of the dynamic spectrum. All players must be able to count rests securely to cope with many staggered and pyramid entries. These entries must be accurate and without any unnecessary aggression in the attack.

Improvisational Challenges: A forty-eight bar improvised piano solo (with optional open section) is based on a G major tonality with slow harmonic movement. A bridge section including some faster II-V7 movement is followed by a return to sustained G major tonality.

Pedagogical Value: A valuable introductory learning experience would be listening to styles of Jarrett, Burton, Mangione, and Corea; the awareness of the style would then simplify the rehearsal and performance of this contemporary style piano composition. Although rated in the difficult range, ensemble challenges may be considered of only medium difficulty for competent ensembles. Work will be required on some of the less familiar features, e.g. stagger breathing and pyramid entries.

 

Read, Paul

Waltz for Kelly

 

Duration: 4’ 30'

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: Yes

Musical Characteristics: An original jazz waltz arrangement which features a melodic statement and improvised solo on alto saxophone. Extensive use of the specified woodwind doubles (two flutes and two clarinets) would place this arrangement out of reach of almost all secondary school ensembles; the composer has solved the problem with alternative non-doubling woodwind parts. Rhythmically complex, the melody contains a wide variety of beat subdivisions including swing eighth figures, straight eighth figures, sixteenth notes and groupings of four over three. Background figures are similarly complex and require some independence within sections.

Technical Challenges: Complex and quick passages in the woodwinds will require careful rehearsal and confident, secure performers. Many legato articulated figures and carefully notated individual section articulations require close attention. The lead trumpet is written to a D/6 concert but alternative octaves are provided.If the optional lower octaves are used in the lead trumpet, the endurance demands are not exceptional. There is adequate rest for brass players in the arrangement and high tessitura is usually approached gradually.

Improvisational Challenges: Alto saxophone and piano each improvise on one chorus of the thirty-two bar form of this piece. Complex changes which provide a rich vocabulary of harmonic choices will be a challenge to both improvising soloists.

Pedagogical Value: The original score requires difficult woodwind doubling, although optional suggestions bring the piece to the level of possible performance for average secondary school ensembles. The piece requires mature soloists and strong ensemble players in all sections. Valuable teaching material for analysing the difficult aspects of the composition: extremely complex rhythms and articulations, as well as a rich vocabulary of harmonic choices. An excellent experience for increasing knowledge of the jazz waltz style.

 

Read, Paul

When You’re Smiling

Duration: 3’

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: Yes

Musical Characteristics: A straight ahead swing arrangement of this traditional standard jazz tune. With the score notated ‘Ham it up," the piece starts in rubato style, quarter note m.m. l92 followed by an ensemble section with rhythm section tacet. The arrangement moves into the ‘Light Dixie’ section at quarter note m.m. 176 dixieland tempo with another switch into a swing big band style. The arrangement features an extended improvised solo from third trumpet using plunger mute; various ensemble members have opportunity to present brief solos. Frequent quotes from other standard tunes from the same era as When You’re Smiling with a similar philosophical outlook are included as background figures to solos and section solis.

Technical Challenges: Embouchure and endurance demands are moderate for the trumpet and trombone sections. Only a few high-range phrases in climax ‘shout’ choruses will require significant strength from the lead trumpet player. Trills are an important component in the unison saxophone soli introduction. This is followed by a tutti trumpet section ascending half-valve rip to a high chord. The trumpet soloist must be capable with the plunger mute; the trombone section has several extended glisses in the dixieland section.

Improvisational Challenges: A fifty-six bar solo in the third trumpet is the only improvised section in the arrangement. The style of the solo as recommended by the composer includes plunger mute. A moderately fast tempo with harmonic changes at moderate frequency makes the solo section manageable by competent secondary school performers.

Pedagogical Value: A swing arrangement featuring small ensembles within the band paying homage to several early jazz styles. The small group feature for multiple performers within the ensemble would be useful in combination with a series of listening assignments to acquaint students with early jazz styles. Progression through the various settings of the tune provides useful instruction in early jazz styles. Teaching a historical perspective of the era would be useful and would also assist in the exercise of identifying the inserted quotes from other tunes. The third trumpet will need extra work on the extended improvisation passage. The piece also provides opportunity to work on specific details, e.g., the trills which are an important component, and the trumpet half-valve ascending rip.

 

Tait, Rick

Ana Maria

 

Duration: 10’

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: Yes

Musical Characteristics: This arrangement is an extended well-crafted setting of Wayne Shorter’s contemporary jazz tune. The arrangement features soprano saxophone (notated on the first alto part) in the opening melodic statement with rhythm section. Fully notated guitar, percussion and bass parts will assist student performers to create a stylistically accurate performance. The piano part has occasional suggested voicings but is primarily chord changes. This is a beautiful haunting melody orchestrated with much care and artistry. Frequent full band multi-octave unison lines provide a uniquely textured setting of the tune. Improvised solos include piano, optional bass and soprano saxophone on complex modal harmonies changing at a moderate rate. Rhythmic figures will be playable with adequate rehearsal by most secondary school ensembles, although performers will be challenged in several ‘double time feel’ bars.

Technical Challenges: Embouchure and endurance demands for the brass section are very moderate. No mutes are required for the brass and the only double in the woodwind section is soprano saxophone on the lead alto saxophone part. Brass range and endurance demands are moderate and within reach of most secondary school ensembles. Ensemble parts are not technically difficult but require careful stylistic rehearsal to ensure a common approach to the full band unison lines. Rhythm section players must be secure and consistent in their rhythmic feel and stylistic approach.

Improvisational Challenges: An extended piano solo, soprano saxophone solo and optional bass solo will require mature performers to move easily through the complex harmonies of this arrangement. The tempo is moderate so that improvised solos should not present problems if adequate preparation time is scheduled.

Pedagogical Value: This composition presents an authentic contemporary jazz style in a usable arrangement for most secondary schools. Recorded material exists to reinforce the musical and historical ideas behind the arrangement. The piece provides opportunities to comprehend the stylistic approach, particularly as it relates to the ‘latin-afro’ form. It is a useful study of complex harmonies which will help to increase skills on tutti unison playing. The moderate technical difficulties make it possible to focus on interpretation.

 

Tait, Rick

The Perfect Foot

 

Duration: 7’ 30"

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: Yes

Musical Characteristics: A funk shuffle written in alternating common and twelve-eight time with similar metric pulse. Occasional six-eight bars are included in the melodic statement and orchestrations. An introductory guitar solo followed by drum solo set the contemporary rock funk mood. The guitar part is carefully and completely notated to provide an accurate style resource for the performer. Brass ranges are moderate and ensemble parts focus more on accurate rhythmic placement than high register endurance. Any extremely high register notes are provided with lower octave options. Rhythmic figures are quite complex for all the ensemble sections and will require detailed rehearsal. They are written in a style which most secondary school students find attractive and easy to learn.

Technical Challenges: Good facility is required of all instrumentalists in the performance of this piece. Ensemble melodic and background figures require technical facility and fluidity. Optional woodwind doubles are included in the arrangement. Brass section endurance challenges are moderate, but secure rhythmic feel is necessary. Placement of figures with the beat in a common approach is critical. Complex rhythm section parts require confident readers and good musical skills to allow the parts to lock together at the specified tempo.

Improvisational Challenges: An eight-bar open repeat section starts an extended tenor saxophone solo which develops through sixty-four bars. The harmonies are primarily of long duration or repeated two-bar patterns requiring limited scalar materials. A mature soloist will be needed to deal with the extended form of the solo, or it would be possible to split the section between two soloists.

Pedagogical Value: Ensemble accuracy will be the primary challenge of this arrangement, particularly in working on the technical facility and fluidity required for the complex rhythms at the notated speed. Valuable to observe Tait’s attention to detail in composition, e.g., the accurate style resource he provides for the guitar part.

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