This easy-to-play rock chart with a haunting melody is very accessible to young players with little or no jazz ensemble experience. Everything is written-out, plus the chart has a solo section with a written-out solo for all or some winds. Brass ranges are limited but sound full with reduced instrumentation.
An easy mambo with well-notated drums, piano, and bass parts. Written solos for alto 1 and trumpet 1 with a full shout chorus after the development section. Modest brass ranges and all the usual alternate parts. Plays easy but sounds advanced—"Paquito’s Revenge" is very sweet!
This wonderful jazz tune is played at 120 BPM. It has written solos for alto 1, trumpet 1, and trombone 1 and a swingin' modulation from E-flat to F. Trumpet range is to written F-sharp top line. When you hear it, you’ll recognize this Count Basie composition!
Format a Tune: Making Your Small Group Sound Their Best! By Kris Berg
Arranging can involve complex issues such as re-harmonization, counterpoint, horn voicings and so on, “formatting” a tune involves simply taking the time to imagine what a tune will sound like when it is actually performed. Think of it as washing and detailing your car—certainly not a new paint job and a custom interior, but nonetheless, it makes it look better in the driveway. Many student jazz combo performances can be greatly enhanced with a little bit of formatting.
I suggest approaching the concept of formatting by imagining that you are in the audience watching your student combo perform. Think about the details of the presentation while the tune(s) are being played. What do you think the audience wants to see and hear from the performance?
Here are a few questions to ponder:
What style is the tune?
Is the style accurately performed?
How fast or slow is the tempo?
Can the group handle the tempo?
How many soloists?
Too many, too few soloists?
In what solo order?
Are the rhythm section players working as a unit?
Is there an introduction to the tune?
Is there an ending?
Is there development?
These are all simple questions to answer and will involve very little time.
Here are some things to consider:
Style/tempo: These are big priorities as it affects most of the remaining decisions you will make. Both style and tempo are great ways to change things up. Try playing a tune much faster or slowing it down. Alternate styles or grooves as in a tune similar to what typically occurs in “On Green Dolphin Street” or change the style completely. Try changing the meter. Play with it—step out of the box!
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The chicken saga continues! Kris Berg brings you this funky Tower of Power groove. Solos are written out for tenor and trombone, lead trumpet range is to written A, and the bass part is critical and somewhat challenging—that’s the story. It’s a clucking good time.