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Topic: “So ‘Bill’ Me Later” – Jazz Big Band Arr. Using Bill Rayer’s 10-Tone/2-Octave Scale

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Frank D's Avatar
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    “So ‘Bill’ Me Later” – Jazz Big Band Arr. Using Bill Rayer’s 10-Tone/2-Octave Scale

    Hi Everyone,

    When Bill Rayer posted his “Chaos Dreams” (later incorporated into“The Legacy”), the scale he created for his piece intrigued me. After noodling around with it, I thought it might be fun to do an experimental piece of my own, but in a different genre: jazz big band. Click on the title to hear/download my arrangement based on Bill’s scale:

    “So ‘Bill’ Me Later”

    Here’s Bill’s original scale (with some enharmonic license by me):

    G-Ab-C-Db-F-Gb-Bb-Cb-Eb-Fb-(G)

    I re-interpreted the scale as follows:

    · I Looked at his 10-tone scale of successive m2nd-M3rd intervals (excepting the final Fb-G m3rd) as two, dovetailed five-tone scales built a m2nd apart, each comprised entirely of perfect 4ths. The perfect 4th thus became the key interval for my piece. Nearly all my harmony is quartal, with some clusters sprinkled in here and there.

    · I also looked at Bill’s scale as a 12-tone row with only A and D natural missing. The first 10 notes of the “A”-section theme is Bill’s scale used as a row. Also, the bass line under the piano solo in the long, swing, middle “B”-section is Bill’s scale in its original order.

    · Whenever possible, I wanted to remain faithful to the fact that Bill spread the 10 tones over two octaves.

    Although Bill’s scale (and my piece) is in G, this may very well be the first piece of music I’ve written with no regard to harmony. Yes, the predominately quartal voicings can be analyzed in traditional harmony terms, but I preferred to think only of line and then simply voice down with the available tones. The resulting harmony often has an ambiguous feel to it, perfect for jazz. Most of the voicings contain at least five tones, and the big, impact polychords (as well as the final pyramid) contain all 10 tones of the scale. This arrangement will definitely NOT sound like a Count Basie chart to you!

    My approach to remain faithful to Bill’s “Blurring of the Bar Lines” was to accomplish this by extending and floating phrases. Although the entire arrangement is in 3/4, including the middle swing section, there are few places where the music feels like it is in 3 (and those were quite deliberate to ground the piece a little).

    ORCHESTRATION: “So ‘Bill’ Me Later” is scored for a “standard” 16-piece jazz big band:

    5 Saxes (S-A-T-T-B)
    4 Trumpets
    4 Trombones (including bass trombone)
    Piano, Bass, and Drum Set

    All reeds and brass is Garritan JABB; rhythm section is GigaPianoII, Larry Seyer Bass, and Cakewalk TTS Drums (brush and jazz kits).

    The piece was created in Sonar 8.3.1

    Thanks to Bill for the encouragement … and for letting me borrow his scale .

    I hope you find it interesting and different. I welcome any and all comments!

    Regards,

    Frank

  2. #2

    Re: “So ‘Bill’ Me Later” – Jazz Big Band Arr. Using Bill Rayer’s 10-Tone/2-Octave Sca

    This is great Frank. Love the track and the mix.
    Producer ~ Sound Engineer ~ Musician

    http://www.myspace.com/451525581

  3. #3

    Re: “So ‘Bill’ Me Later” – Jazz Big Band Arr. Using Bill Rayer’s 10-Tone/2-Octave Sca

    Now that is "Cool" Jazz. Written with thought and a whole lot of inspiration thrown in! Nicely done Frank!

    I like your analyzation of your construct. You definitely plan this piece out and had specific goals in mind. As result this piece makes perfect sense. You've also thrown in a little rhytmic salt and pepper to spice it up.

    Than you for a great listen. I am on my 3rd run through and it is definitely growing on me!
    [Music is the Rhythm, Harmony and Breath of Life]
    "Music is music, and a note's a note" - Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong

    Rich

  4. #4
    Senior Member Frank D's Avatar
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    Re: “So ‘Bill’ Me Later” – Jazz Big Band Arr. Using Bill Rayer’s 10-Tone/2-Octave Sca

    Hey Hippie,

    Quote Originally Posted by Hippie View Post
    This is great Frank. Love the track and the mix.
    Thanks for the listen and your feedback Aram ... if you liked the mix, then "I am not worthy, I am not worthy" .

    The hardest thing for me in creating a reasonable facsimile of a big band mix is in trying to maximize the dynamic range. In a club, when you have just the piano-bass-drums playing, you are on the edge of your chair just trying to hear it. But when the full ensemble shout chorus arrives, you need to run for cover! That dynamic contrast is SO exciting. In an audio recording, you kinda' have to compromise those low and high intensity moments, although to me, it diminishes the shear power of a live big band performance.

    Regards,

    Frank

  5. #5
    Senior Member sd cisco's Avatar
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    Re: “So ‘Bill’ Me Later” – Jazz Big Band Arr. Using Bill Rayer’s 10-Tone/2-Octave Sca

    Hey Frank!!
    Totally cool man and so well done. I loved the polychords and the smooth arrangement which typifies your work - and you get that great ensemble sound, that's the part the really blows me away too, it sounds like a real group and to achieve that, one must really know the chops and my friend, you do! And thanks too for Bill Rayer's openness in sharing this innovative scale, which you have put to the test and it certainly works!!
    Congratulations on this piece - I am most impressed!

    Best regards,
    sd cisco

  6. #6

    Talking Re: “So ‘Bill’ Me Later” – Jazz Big Band Arr. Using Bill Rayer’s 10-Tone/2-Octave Sca

    Wow, What a piece of music! Nicely rendered and well constructed.

    You know I never thought of putting in the jazz idiom. You certainly have a grasp on the 'disappearing' barline. But isn't that jazz?

    I wanted it to go on and on. You caught me with the pentatonic construct and the intervalic relations. They work out so nice!

    Great job, I'll be humming this all day. This goes on my CD of the Best of Garritan.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Best regards,
    Bill

    P.S. How much later before I can 'Bill' you?
    We dream to write and we write to dream.

    Challenge #10 Winner

  7. #7

    Re: “So ‘Bill’ Me Later” – Jazz Big Band Arr. Using Bill Rayer’s 10-Tone/2-Octave Sca

    Great piece. Solid ground, great brass chords, very impressive piano playing, and you managed to get a memorable melody out of it as well. I like it!
    Theo

  8. #8

    Re: “So ‘Bill’ Me Later” – Jazz Big Band Arr. Using Bill Rayer’s 10-Tone/2-Octave Sca

    It's happy, thoughtful and interesting. It has a lot of the qualities that I admire. Thanks for sharing it.
    Best regards,

    Little Red King
    http://luridcactus.com/MusicPage.html

  9. #9
    Senior Member Frank D's Avatar
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    Re: “So ‘Bill’ Me Later” – Jazz Big Band Arr. Using Bill Rayer’s 10-Tone/2-Octave Sca

    Hi Rich!

    Quote Originally Posted by RichR View Post
    Now that is "Cool" Jazz. Written with thought and a whole lot of inspiration thrown in! Nicely done Frank!
    Many thanks Rich ... I suppose we have to thank your brother too for gettin' me a thinkin'!

    Quote Originally Posted by RichR View Post
    I like your analyzation of your construct. You definitely plan this piece out and had specific goals in mind. As result this piece makes perfect sense. You've also thrown in a little rhytmic salt and pepper to spice it up.
    I'll tell you a funny story: Once I decided to use the scale as a row and came up with the "A"-theme, I figured, OK, now I have a plausible beginning and ending, but "what-to-do" in-between? I know I wanted the middle section to swing, but wasn't quite sure how I would develop it. All I knew was I wanted to build momentum throughout the "B" section.

    At the time Bill posted "Chaos Dreams", I had been listening a lot to Dee Barton's "Waltz Of The Prophets" (Stan Kenton Orchestra, early 60's), a great chart if you have never heard it ... based on the whole-tone scale (as was his "Turtle Talk", another fantastic big band arrangement he did for Kenton). Anyway, I figured, in order to learn a bit, I would try some things that Barton did in my developing piece.

    Well, I must have tried four or five things from "WOTP" in my middle swing section ... and ALL of them failed miserably! The difference in feel, melodic phrasing, tempo, etc. was just too different in my piece, so I was forced to take each failure and come up with something more organic for my chart, which really forced me to be more original. Once I had the conversational thingie going at the beginning of the middle section with the 'bones, unison saxes, and then trumpets, the rest of the B-section, right into the ensemble shouts, just fell into place ... trust me, I got lucky!

    But that's what makes creating music so exciting and fun for me ... I like when the music leads me to a solution. I always have a plan, but I learned as I got older to let the developing piece of music be my partner in problem solving.

    Quote Originally Posted by RichR View Post
    Than you for a great listen. I am on my 3rd run through and it is definitely growing on me!
    Thanks again Rich ... very happy that a fellow reed lover enjoyed it!

    Regards,

    Frank

  10. #10
    Senior Member Frank D's Avatar
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    Re: “So ‘Bill’ Me Later” – Jazz Big Band Arr. Using Bill Rayer’s 10-Tone/2-Octave Sca

    Hey SD ... You are TOO kind in your comments!

    I do appreciate them and glad you enjoyed the piece. I'm also happy that you dug the ensembles ... I think that was what I enjoyed creating the most and was most proud of by the time I finished the chart. It really takes time trying to make those passages sound like 13 cats are really blowing on it, but when it comes out well, you're happy you tried. Hopefully, from this experience, I'll get faster on future ensemble work.

    And those big polychords ... yeah, it's a blast to stack a gazillion fourths with sometimes only three pitches in the voicing doubled!

    Thanks again SD so much for listening and taking the time to comment.

    Regards,

    Frank

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