Frey, Lincoln

Kidney Stew

 

Duration: 2'

Level of Difficulty: Medium

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: No

Musical Characteristics: Kidney Stew is a shuffle blues arrangement based on a composition by Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson. Very playable blues riffs and ensemble figures in the key of B flat concert are technically easy to perform. The lead trumpet part ascends to B flat/6 on several occasions, but generally the brass range and endurance demands are not excessive. There is an improvised twelve-bar blues solo for third trumpet. Rhythm section parts do not include detailed voicings for chords or rhythms, but the harmonic and style demands are in the secondary school music student vernacular.

Technical Challenges: Traditional shuffle-blues ‘riffs’ are orchestrated to support a blues melody in a familiar key for secondary school students. Some section pitch bends are included on the melodic statement and brass section players must be able to produce a loud and short ‘hat’ accent. No mutes or woodwind doubles are included. The lead trumpet player must be able to play with some consistency on notes from F/6 to B flat/6. Very little independent part writing is included in this composition. Each instrumental section performs throughout in rhythmic unison.

Improvisational Challenges: This composition is based on a twelve-bar blues form in B flat concert. The tempo is moderate and its basic structure will encourage the use of the B flat blues scale as harmonic material for the solo. The solo section is notated for third trumpet but could easily be assigned to other ensemble players. Beginning improvisers will find this an easy form on which to develop their skills.

Pedagogical Value: Kidney Stew can provide the students with the opportunity to participate in an authentic blues experience. The piece can be easily opened up for more soloists, and students can be encouraged to alter existing background figures. As notated, the composition is a basic framework to be used for creative development. Kidney Stew is valuable pedagogical material which can be coordinated with many historical and contemporary blues recordings.

Characteristics:

(1) well-crafted: Yes: x No:

(2) written idiomatically for all instruments; Yes: x No:

(3) musical interest in all parts; Yes: x No:

(4) technically challenging at an appropriate

level in all parts; Yes: x No:

(5) improvisational challenge at an

appropriate level; Yes: x No:

(6) potential for student musical growth. Yes: x No:

 

Frey, Lincoln

Old Fashioned Love

 

Duration: 3'

Level of Difficulty: Medium

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: Yes

Musical Characteristics: Old Fashioned Love is an arrangement of a blues tune in F concert attributed by the arranger to James P. Johnson. Written at a medium swing tempo of a quarter note at m.m. 132, the piece features a saxophone soli with brass section fills and background figures. Improvised solos are included for trombone, guitar, piano, alto and tenor saxophone, but chord changes appear in all parts, and solos may be easily assigned to any players. All ensemble parts are very playable and will not require a great deal of endurance from the brass players. No special effects are indicated, although the melody includes one sixteenth note triplet which appears in most ensemble parts and will need to be rehearsed. A pleasant and playable blues arrangement for jazz ensemble.

Technical Challenges: The technical challenges in Old Fashioned Love are minimal for all sections. Rhythm section parts include only a sketch of the required performance

materials but the style and harmonies are limited in complexity and will not present great difficulties to the average secondary school performer.

Improvisational Challenges: The improvisation sections are based on an extended sixteen bar blues form in F concert. The harmonic materials necessary are limited and will be within the range of experience and performance skills of most secondary school performers.

Pedagogical Value: This traditional blues composition may be used to teach all students to improvise in an easy key on one of the many variations of the blues form. The composition may be easily adapted to various teaching and performance situations because each performance part includes the chord changes. Excellent pedagogical material.

Characteristics:

(1) well-crafted; Yes: x No:

(2) written idiomatically for all instruments; Yes: x No:

(3) musical interest in all parts; Yes: x No:

(4) technically challenging at an appropriate

level in all parts; Yes: x No:

(5) improvisational challenge at an

appropriate level; Yes: x No:

(6) potential for student musical growth. Yes: x No:

 

Grecco, Paul

Yesterdays

 

Duration: 5'

Level of Difficulty: Medium

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: No

Musical Characteristics: Yesterdays is a moderate swing arrangement based on the Jerome Kern standard tune. The composition includes improvised solos for tenor saxophone and trumpet and an extended saxophone soli section. Brass ranges are moderate and will be playable by secondary school players of average strength and endurance. Rhythm section parts include specific voicings for guitar and keyboard. A very playable arrangement of this classic standard tune.

Technical Challenges: The rhythmic unison saxophone soli will require well-developed finger dexterity and fluidity of interpretation. The soli includes some pitch bends for the section to execute in unison. Almost all ensemble writing in this composition is in rhythmic unison and will be playable by sections with varying abilities.

Improvisational Challenges: Sixteen-bar improvised solos are included for tenor saxophone and trumpet. No repeat signs are written although the marking ‘Brass backgrounds on cue’ implies that the solo section could be extended if desired. The solo harmonies are quite complex and include many chord alterations. The speed of harmonic change is moderately fast, with frequent II-V7 progressions within the framework of the piece.

Pedagogical Value: This arrangement is good pedagogical material playable by many secondary school ensembles. The technical demands are moderate and the swing style writing is directly connected with many recorded big-band compositions. The standard tune upon which the composition is based has been recorded in various forms by many jazz artists. A comparison of the varied approaches would be a valuable pedagogical adjunct to the performance and rehearsal of this arrangement.

Characteristics:

(1) well-crafted; Yes: x No:

(2) written idiomatically for all instruments; Yes: x No:

(3) musical interest in all parts; Yes: x No:

(4) technically challenging at an appropriate

level in all parts; Yes: x No:

(5) improvisational challenge at an

appropriate level; Yes: x No:

(6) potential for student musical growth. Yes: x No:

 

Jacobs, Bill

Jumpin’ at the Woodside

 

Duration: 4'

Level of Difficulty: Medium

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: Yes

Musical Characteristics: This composition is a careful reworking and simplification of the Count Basie/Charlie Hathaway arrangement built on a series of classic swing band riffs. Detailed dynamics indicated throughout the up-tempo swing score add to the pacing and excitement. Demands on the brass section are moderate although both trumpets and trombones require plunger mutes (a hand in the bell can be used to simulate the plunger sound if mutes are unavailable). Improvised solos are included for tenor saxophone, second trumpet and first trombone. Carefully notated bass and drum set parts provide complete notation and performance suggestions. The piano and guitar parts contain only chord symbols with no voicing or rhythmic suggestions for student performers.

Technical Challenges: The woodwind parts are idiomatically written and will be playable by most secondary school jazz ensembles. The piece should be performed by an ensemble with a well developed rhythmic sense even though it is generally only moderately demanding. Brass embouchure demands and endurance challenges are not excessive but the swing style which is integral to the piece demands accurate placement of notes and a well developed sense of ensemble. A wide range of articulations is notated; their correct interpretation will be more quickly learned through listening to recordings of this era. Woodwind and brass players must be able to scoop up to sustained notes and brass sections will operate plunger mutes to change the timbre of selected notes. There is very little independent writing of individual parts. The majority of the composition is based on section or ensemble riffs in rhythmic unison.

Improvisational Challenges: Jumpin’ at the Woodside includes improvised solos of forty-two bars for tenor saxophone, thirty-two bars for second trumpet and eight bars for first trombone. The structure includes two A sections based on a partial B flat blues progression, a B section of V7-I progressions, and a return to the A section material. The tempo is moderately fast but the chord changes occur quite slowly with many chords sustained for four bars. The composition is in a key which is familiar and comfortable to most secondary school students; this will increase the potential for successful improvisation experiences within the given framework.

Pedagogical Value: Jumpin’ at the Woodside is a swing-era classic re-worked, simplified and notated for modern jazz ensembles. Although this arrangement has been created by a Canadian composer, the musical materials, form and structure are identical in most respects to the original American composition. Good pedagogical value for teaching blues swing band style if used in combination with listening to recorded examples. Provides opportunities to work on ensemble unity; balance of riffs with background; dynamic intensity; musical expression. The fact that only chord symbols are written for piano and guitar places the piece in a more difficult ensemble rating; if the piano and guitar players are experienced in working with chord symbols, the ensemble rating moves into a less difficult category.

Characteristics:

(1) well-crafted; Yes: x No:

(2) written idiomatically for all instruments; Yes: x No:

(3) musical interest in all parts; Yes: No: x

(4) technically challenging at an appropriate

level in all parts; Yes: x No:

(5) improvisational challenge at an

appropriate level; Yes: x No:

(6) potential for student musical growth. Yes: x No:

 

Nimmons, Phil

Islands (Atlantic Suite, Second Movement)

 

Duration: 4'

Level of Difficulty: Medium

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: Yes

Musical Characteristics: This slow ballad features soprano saxophone or clarinet throughout the entire piece. The solo part includes a notated melody with chord symbols above the staff. It may be performed with student improvised ornamentation depending on the abilities of the instrumentalist. Because it is written in the key of A concert, students will need to be experienced enough to read parts in multiple sharps. The ensemble parts are not difficult in terms of brass range and endurance or in woodwind technical demands. The piano part has complete harmonic and rhythmic voicings which will assist a student to perform in the correct jazz style.

Technical Challenges: The piece opens with a four-bar ballad style trombone soli which needs secure intonation and smooth articulation. The fourth or bass trombone should be able to produce a pedal tone A/2 but an A/3 would be a possibility. Brass range demands are moderate; lead trumpet is written to A/6 concert and lead trombone to A/5. Trombones require cup mutes; trumpets use harmon mutes with extended stems. Independent writing for baritone saxophone requires a secure performer, although the part is not technically difficult. Some low register baritone saxophone parts involve substantial decrescendos which require good breath control. A rubato cadenza is notated for soprano saxophone and piano. Rhythm section parts are extremely well notated with full voicings and rhythmic suggestions.

Improvisational Challenges: The composition is structured around an extended soprano saxophone melodic statement; melody and chord notation provide two sources of material upon which to base an improvisation. The cadenza also provides a written melody as well as chord changes, providing excellent flexibility to accommodate varying levels of student improvisers.

Pedagogical Value: This composition featuring solo saxophone would be valuable in teaching jazz ballad style. This artistically constructed Canadian composition has excellent pedagogical value to develop expression in performance. Opportunity to review ornamentation; multiple sharps; pyramid chords; rubato cadenza. Develops security of intonation; smooth articulation; phrasing and unobtrusive accompaniment skills. Study and rehearsal may be enriched by listening to recordings of the complete Atlantic Suite by Phil Nimmons.

Characteristics:

(1) well-crafted; Yes: x No:

(2) written idiomatically for all instruments; Yes: x No:

(3) musical interest in all parts; Yes: x No:

(4) technically challenging at an appropriate

level in all parts; Yes: x No:

(5) improvisational challenge at an

appropriate level; Yes: x No:

(6) potential for student musical growth. Yes: x No:

 

Phillips, Brigham

Georgia

 

Duration: 4'

Level of Difficulty: Medium

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: No

Musical Characteristics: A slow ballad based on the standard jazz tune, originally composed as a vocal arrangement, and adapted by the composer to feature any instrument of the jazz ensemble. Georgia opens with the solo instrument supported by piano alone for sixteen bars, then the rhythm section enters, followed by full ensemble background. There are two bars with high-range trumpet parts, with optional lower voicings, to make the arrangement playable at secondary school level. The composition includes an improvised solo for alto saxophone. The background figures are rhythmically playable and will not require extensive rehearsal. The ensemble must have the ability to play soft dynamics and to support the soloist at all times.

 

Technical Challenges: The composition is in the key of F concert and avoids extremes of range for the soloist. The majority of the ensemble writing consists of chordal background figures with an occasional contrapuntal counter-melody. A limited number of bars in the extreme upper register for trumpet provides the option to choose the lower octave; this device would moderate the endurance and range demands. The fourth trombone part is written for bass trombone and will require an instrument and performer responsive in the low range.

Improvisational Challenges: The opening introduction scored for piano and a featured melodic instrument includes either improvisation or a vocally-oriented statement of the tune. The alto saxophone solo improvisation begins on the harmonies of the AABA song form but returns to a melodic focus to end the arrangement on the final ‘A’ of the form.

Pedagogical Value: Ballad arrangement based on this jazz standard can be related to many commercially available recordings. Provides opportunity to explore the historical aspects of the Georgia era. Flexible arrangement that is moderately demanding on ensemble and the featured soloist of choice (any instrument). Composition has good pedagogical value with adaptability to different teaching situations. Increases awareness of the elements of the ballad style: slow melody, soft dynamics, long phrases and sustained chords.

Characteristics:

(1) well-crafted; Yes: x No:

(2) written idiomatically for all instruments; Yes: x No:

(3) musical interest in all parts; Yes: x No:

(4) technically challenging at an appropriate

level in all parts; Yes: x No:

(5) improvisational challenge at an

appropriate level; Yes: x No

(6) potential for student musical growth. Yes: x No:

 

Phillips, Brigham

Jeff’s Blues

 

Duration: 4' 3"

Level of Difficulty: Medium.

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer.

Recording: No

Musical Characteristics: A medium tempo tune which includes very attractive background figures in a traditional swing blues style. The arrangement is structured to feature three improvising soloists from within the band on a B flat blues progression. Solos are designated in the score as soloist 1, 2 and 3 and may be assigned to any players of appropriate ability and interest. Each individual solo is marked with backgrounds for four choruses, but it would be possible to split each solo section to give opportunity to many student improvisers. Background figures include quotations from Duke Ellington’s C Jam Blues and Things Ain’t What They Used to Be. The brass ranges are not extreme, although the lead trumpet must be able to perform a B flat/6 with consistency. The tempo is medium fast and the ensemble figures are idiomatic.

Technical Challenges: Endurance and embouchure demands for the brass section are limited, with sufficient rest periods so that areas of higher endurance will be approached with rested muscles. No mutes or doubles are required in any of the ensemble parts. There are some ensemble fall-off notes that will require rehearsal and explanation. There is one optional shake notated in the brass section which could be rehearsed or omitted at the conductor’s discretion. Instrumental parts function primarily in a section block manner with very little independence of individual parts.

Improvisational Challenges: This composition features either three or six soloists from within the ensemble performing on a B flat blues progression. Secondary school improvisation students frequently feel comfortable improvising in this key and on a progression at this tempo. The length of the solo sections, the limited scales necessary for performance and the idiomatic and supportive backgrounds will make this composition useful for student improvisers in many secondary school situations.

Pedagogical Value: A traditional blues composition based on the B flat blues scale. Solo format is adaptable to many combinations of instruments and with minimal preparation could be a valuable learning experience for student ensembles. Students will find it attractive to perform and conductors will find that it is easily adaptable to many secondary school situations. Valuable for developing understanding of swing-blues style and for working on special effects: ‘fall-off’ notes, ‘shakes,’ ‘riffs.’

Characteristics:

(1) well-crafted; Yes: x No:

(2) written idiomatically for all instruments; Yes: x No:

(3) musical interest in all parts; Yes: x No:

(4) technically challenging at an appropriate

level in all parts; Yes: x No:

(5) improvisational challenge at an

appropriate level; Yes: x No:

(6) potential for student musical growth. Yes: x No:

 

Staples, David

Late for Dinner

 

Duration: 6'

Level of Difficulty: Medium

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: Yes

Musical Characteristics: Late for Dinner is a contemporary rock style original composition featuring alto saxophone, written in a tonal melodic straight eighth style. There is a slow introduction for the saxophones, with optional flute doubles; the third trumpet part suggests optional flugelhorn. The rhythm section parts are very carefully notated and include full voicings and rhythmic notations for all players. The guitar and extra percussion parts (bells and triangle) have significant roles in the orchestration. Improvised solos are included for piano and alto saxophone.

Technical Challenges: Late for Dinner presents moderate technical challenges for the high school performer. The solo alto saxophone part requires confident performance but is technically possible. The ensemble woodwind and brass parts are written primarily in rhythmic unison; this will enable less experienced performers to follow strong lead players. Brass ranges in trumpets and trombones are moderate and provide adequate rest to maintain student embouchure strength. Rhythm section parts are detailed and include many tasteful contemporary devices which contribute to the musical effect of the piece.

Improvisational Challenges: The improvisation sections are based on a repeated sixteen-bar passage which is played twice by the alto saxophone, followed by two further repetitions on piano. The chords change regularly every two bars and the soloist will need to use a different scale every four bars. The rate of harmonic change is moderately slow and chord changes are regular in timing and easy to hear. Improvisation in this framework would require preparation on the part of a high school soloist but would present limited problems to an advanced high school performer.

Pedagogical Value: This is a well-crafted contemporary composition which will enable student performers to focus on style and expression in music. Technical demands are moderate for all sections. It provides valuable material for study of modern rock styles and to focus on balance and pacing in performance. Will be useful pedagogical material in a wide range of secondary teaching situations.

Characteristics:

(1) well-crafted; Yes: x No:

(2) written idiomatically for all instruments; Yes: x No:

(3) musical interest in all parts; Yes: x No:

(4) technically challenging at an appropriate

level in all parts; Yes: x No:

(5) improvisational challenge at an

appropriate level; Yes: x No:

(6) potential for student musical growth. Yes: x No:

 

Turner, Brad

Blues for Nat

 

Duration: 3'

Level of Difficulty: Medium

Availability of Score and Parts: Composer

Recording: No

Musical Characteristics: Blues for Nat is a minor blues composition that includes some of the gospel related small ensemble sounds of the Nat Adderley and Cannonball Adderley jazz bands. The composition features a trumpet and tenor saxophone soli accompanied by full ensemble backgrounds, a harmonised saxophone section soli, an open solo section and an ensemble ‘shout’ chorus. The piece is based on a repeated twelve-bar blues theme marked at a moderately fast tempo of half note at m.m. 100. It would be possible to perform this piece at a slower tempo without significant loss of the style feel created by the composer. Rhythm section parts are carefully notated and include specific voicing and rhythmic cues for student performers.

Technical Challenges: The technical challenges in this composition are moderate, brass ranges are limited and the parts are playable by average high school players. The

saxophone soli will require careful rehearsal but includes primarily eighth-note movement in keys which do not include exceptionally difficult fingering patterns.

Improvisational Challenges: Blues for Nat includes an open solo section which can be assigned to any of the players in the ensemble. The minor blues pattern is a repeated twelve-bar chorus with ensemble backgrounds ‘on cue’ for the second time through each solo. The G minor blues progression uses scale and fingering patterns that are quite easy to play on most band instruments.

Pedagogical Value: Excellent pedagogical material. Brass ranges are moderate, providing the potential for performance by many secondary school ensembles. The performance and rehearsal of this composition may easily be related to the many minor blues pieces in this style. The open solo section provides the opportunity for all players to practise improvisation in rehearsal. Each performance of the piece could feature a varied selection and number of soloists.

Characteristics:

(1) well-crafted; Yes: x No:

(2) written idiomatically for all instruments; Yes: x No:

(3) musical interest in all parts; Yes: x No:

(4) technically challenging at an appropriate

level in all parts; Yes: x No:

(5) improvisational challenge at an

appropriate level; Yes: x No:

(6) potential for student growth. Yes: x No:

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