Jazz Ensemble Releases
Fish Face is a tune that will have you making an expression like you just smelled something foul or heard something funky! Spoiler alert: It's the second one...the tune smells fine. Young jazzers will have a blast performing this chart while directors will appreciate educational opportunities related to style changes and melodic interpretation. Also, early improvisors will have fun playing over very approachable changes that offer a slight diversion from a typical Bb blues.
The 1950s was an abundant decade for jazz music. The constantly evolving nature of the music found artists experimenting in many directions. “Cool” was a sound that is often attributed to the west coast jazz scene and elements of this style can even be heard in popular music of the era. Peggy Lee’s 1958 recording of “Fever” is a great example of this. The hip phrasing and slinky vocal style remains relevant and unique to this day. This chart is inspired by this sound and gives younger students an approachable outlet for raising their “cool” factor.
Sidetracked (But Not Derailed) is a minor blues that is essentially written in AABA form. The A section follows the same chord progression as John Coltrane’s “Mr. PC” while the B section is inspired by Trane’s “Locomotion.” Since “Locomotion” is a blues with an 8 bar interlude I thought it would be fun to play with the same concept in a minor blues. The title aims to represent this concept while also hinting at an overriding train (or “Trane”) theme. Sidetracked (But Not Derailed) was written for the Summit Middle School Jazz Ensemble (NJ) and their director, Justin Toomey.
Inspired by big band music of the swing era, Big Band Bash is a tribute to Glenn Miller, Chick Webb, Fletcher Henderson, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and numerous jazz legends who artistically and elegantly wove jazz textures from New Orleans into high society dance clubs and ballrooms in cities around the United States in the early quarter of the 20th century. As the bands grew in size to fill the demand for larger dance halls and clubs, more formal and polished arrangements were created. The form, harmony and timbres that evolved in these ensembles left a lasting mark on generations of large ensemble music. This chart incorporates some of the more popular harmonic and melodic concepts of the era and offers musicians an opportunity to learn more about the roots of today’s large form jazz ensembles.
I’m the type of person who will strike up a conversation with anyone. To me, something as mundane as checking out at a CVS is an opportunity to meet someone new. These conversations don’t always inspire jazz band charts but ONE random encounter did! The cashier’s response to my generic “How are you today?” couldn’t have been better. Driving home the phrase continued to rattle around in my head and eventually got me thinking about one of my favorite Kenny Dorham tunes entitled “Mamacita.” It’s a great bossa nova that utilizes a 12-bar form and groove throughout. It’s a terrific “jam tune” that got me thinking about how I might go about writing a “break” or B section to compliment it. (Not that Kenny Dorham needs my help but… you get the idea.) So, in the end this chart is a response to my cashier-friend’s words in a most literal way. That’s where Mamacita Needs a Break began. Ultimately the “break” became the B section of this new tune and a funky A section was added.