This song is the result of my entry for the Garritan Orchestral Challenge No. 26. It’s based on a theme by Rich Rayer, the winner of the previous challenge. The piece I submitted for the challenge was still a work-in-progress. However, I thought it would be fun to work-out the rest of my ideas and complete the arrangement and that’s what’s posted here.
Please click on the title to play the completed arrangement of …
“That’s So ‘Rich’”
Source Material …
Rich’s theme immediately reminded me of a couple of minor blues tunes from the late 50’s/early 60’s recorded by the Cannonball Adderley Quintet. His pianist at the time, Bobby Timmons, wrote ‘Dat Dere’, and his brother Nat (trumpet/cornet) composed the classic ‘Work Song’.
All went well harmonizing Rich’s melody until it ended, abruptly, on C natural. To fit the mold of the minor blues I was creating, I needed it to hold on the B natural to end the phrase on the dominant (G+ in C minor).
Hmmmm … what to do? I tried several different chord types against it and when I used a diminished seventh chord … voila, it not only worked, but gave this piece the exact harmonic twist I was hoping to uncover. I composed 4 bars of new material to bridge Rich’s first 8 bars, into a tie of a repeat of his second 4. The 4 bar tag was based on my material. So what you end up with, for each 20 measure chorus, is:
1st 4 – Rich
2nd 4 – Rich
3rd 4 – Frank
4th 4 – Rich
5th 4 – Frank
I was happy that it fit together rather seamlessly, so all I had to worry about was arranging it. The intro is based entirely on fragments drawn from Rich’s theme. Onward to the main event!
That Mancini Touch …
When most people think of Henry Mancini (1924-1994), they think of the brilliant film scores he composed over a 30+ year period, many of them for famous Blake Edwards movies. But I go back to his original successes with Edwards … the TV series’ “Peter Gunn” and “Mr. Lucky”. And it was there that Mancini composed and arranged a ton of “cool” late 50’s jazz, in both big-band and small, intimate night club combo settings. And, man, could that guy write swinging jazz!
The melody that I developed from Rich’s theme really gave me the vibe of one of those Peter Gunn, smoky-nightclub, combo-jazz tunes. Harmonically, the minor 9th chord became the main flavor chord for the sound I wanted. The muted trumpet solo plays around the 9th for much of his 2nd chorus solo (D natural for a Cm9 chord).
I was off and running! After I scored the string background behind the harmon-muted trumpet solo, I thought, what are some other quintessential Mancini touches that many of his jazz-pop arrangements employed? Besides the strings added to a jazz band, here’s a few others trademarks: Cup-muted trombones, vibe clusters w/ tremolo (beneath the sax-trombone duet on the 3rd chorus), unison alto/bass flutes (lead in 4th chorus), and big impact brass/sax chords w/ fall-offs. It wasn’t long before I decided to base my chart roughly on Mancini’s classic arrangement of his “The Pink Panther” theme.
While I was working on this piece, it was just a bit eerie when the news reported that Blake Edwards had just died … RIP.
Lot’s’a ‘verb …
I usually don’t use this much reverb, but I thought to nail that 50’s-early 60’s sound, I needed to kick it up a notch. I thought it helped to sonically define that era.
Reed 1 – Soprano sax, alto flute
Reed 2 – Alto Sax, alto flute
Reed 3 – Tenor sax
Reed 4 – Tenor sax
Reed 5 – Baritone sax, bass flute
Trumpets 1-4 (Tp 1 needs harmon mute)
Trombones 1-4 (Tb 4 is bass trombone, all use cup mutes, Tb 2 also needs bucket mute)
Piano (GAS – Basic)
1st Violins Section
2nd Violins Section
It’s All Related …
Besides learning how to create some of these Mancini arranging techniques with Garritan libraries, I thought it would be fun to pay some musical respect to Rich for his continuous involvement and support in the forum. Besides, just about a year ago, I had already did a jazz piece based on his brother Bill’s 10-tone scale (“So Bill Me Later”). And, hey, what could be a better model for “That’s So Rich”? … Mancini was born in Cleveland, just a short jog east of Lorain .
Edit: Link to the Original Orchestral Challenge 26 Thread