Monday, September 24, 2012


I made some progress on Tyler Hornby's tune this afternoon by sketching a harmonized version of the bridge.  Here is a "sneak peek":

The trumpets will play the melody in octaves.  I think I will put 3 trumpets in the higher octave and one down.  This is a trick I learned from Michael Abene in the BMI Jazz Composers' Workshop.  According to Michael, Manny Albam emphatically discouraged octave writing with 2 trumpets up and 2 trumpets down.  1 up and 3 down or 3 up and 1 down are both preferable for intonation reasons.

To the trumpets I may add one saxophone to the lower octave to help emulsify the sound.

The trombones are harmonized, similar to how a pianist punctuates with his/her left hand.  I will add the bari sax to the bottom, playing roots along with a similar, but not identical string bass part.

I had to be careful about the lower octave trumpet crossing into the trombone range.  By choosing mid-register trombone voicings and leaving some space, I think I avoided any problems.  The melody is just a bit too high for lead alto saxophone... and there's nothing worse than sax parts in the highest minor 3rd of the instrument. 

I changed a couple of rhythms and notes but more or less kept this section true to Tyler's original lead sheet.

Drums are always in the forefront of my mind, but interestingly, they are the last thing I enter into a score.

Now I'm onto the "shout" section, with drums soloing around ensemble hits.  Where did I put that hand-held cassette recorder of mine?

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