Hi Everone and Merry Christmas/Happy New Year and Happy Holidays:
I humbly offer another JABB piece for your amusement. This project I tackled to learn some new stuff about JABB and DP4.6 (my new best friend in the digital music world).
Here’s what I learned or tried to learn this time: The slower tempo allowed me to really pay attention to the mod wheel, and sustain pedal (particularly working to vary my touch as well. Light touch and pedal is quite legato, strong attack and pedal is accented, but different than the attack when the pedal is off. This really takes practice, but I’m starting to get the hang of it slowly As Tom points out in other postings on the forum, without control of the mod wheel and the sustain pedal, the samples just lie there like old eggs. As a piano player, it goes against instinct sometimes to use the pedal this way, but this old dog is learning a new trick or two. It’s much fun.
Mixing buckets and saxes is an arranger’s challenge and one that I haven’t done a lot of, so this piece really pushed my mixing and writing skills. I think this mockup is a good indication of how a live band might do with this. You may notice that here is an impossible mute change later in the chart: open to buckets in less than a beat, but, the score is marked ‘into stand’ and so I thought this would be a good compromise.
The piece has a horrible title (All in Good Time). Picked because the publisher wanted to target the young band/jazz ed market and asked a few composers in our area to contribute. The principal challenge for the young ones was to play with good time in what may be called an adult tempo.
As I said in an earlier post, this is a tremendously difficult thing for me to do. My choice was to write a sort of Billy Byers / Neil Hefti style chart. You know, slow Basie with buckets and Joe Newman type harmon solo and so on.
Well it failed, miserably in my view. The piece was SO mundane and easy that I immediately tore every last strand of hair out of my head (it hurt too). And I deserved it. But never say die and I decided that it would be fun to see if there was anyway to resurrect this one at all. The melody is still pretty trite in my view and it borders on being a dance chart, but I think the improvements I made in it in the revision I just finished elevated it at least a bit. What I did was reshape, re- orchestrate and hip up some of the less interesting voicings. I also made a few rhythmic/melodic adjustments.
It’s playable by a young group, but they have some challenges:
1) Tempo /feel
2) the solo changes
3) finding bucket mutes
4) playing like they have 20 years experience playing this older style
5) playing those inner voices in tune. It isn’t easy for a kid to play a 13th a half step away from a 7th inside the voicing.
Words, words, words. Blah blah blah. Yaddayaddayadda. Just airing my thoughts.
Hope you might enjoy this attempt at CPR of an older “easy reader” as our old, and sorely missed friend, Frank Mantooth would call it.
PS If anyone is interested in it, I am going to post the score on my website. This chart was initially published and a few people bought it (and that was nice). I want to give a free copy of the revision in case anyone sees it there who purchased the original. FREE UPGRADES!!!! Whoohoo. I’ll put up the link when it is ready for public viewing. Right now it exists as a paper copy of the original with MANY peniclled corrections and revision. And believe me, that would be of LITTLE use to anyone.