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Topic: “That’s So ‘Rich’” – JABB-GPO-GAS Henry Mancini Homage based on a theme by Rich Rayer

  1. #1
    Senior Member Frank D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Suburban NYC

    “That’s So ‘Rich’” – JABB-GPO-GAS Henry Mancini Homage based on a theme by Rich Rayer

    Hi Friends,

    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)
    Guitar (Electric)
    Drum set
    1st Violins Section
    2nd Violins Section
    Violas Section
    Celli 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 .

    Best regards,


    Edit: Link to the Original Orchestral Challenge 26 Thread

  2. #2
    Senior Member sd cisco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Southern Ontario, Canada

    Re: “That’s So ‘Rich’” – JABB-GPO-GAS Henry Mancini Homage based on a theme by Rich R

    Hello Frank and Happy New Year to you!!

    Wow, what a fabulous arrangement and performance! I loved the feel of the band and orchestra you put together here, and also the instrument pairings you mention really work! The mix of the brass, strings and vibes truly does sound quite Mancini-like. I saw a great You Tube video of Henry leading a studio band through Peter Gunn and he had some incredible veteran players together - all dressed up and sweating gallons (or litres!), but playing like there was no tomorrow!

    Back to That's So Rich; that last killer chord really blew me down - and then the last note! All of it a pleasure and very well done!
    The nicely informative write-up you provided gives good background.

    Thanks for posting, I yearn for more...........

    Best regards,
    sd cisco

  3. #3

    Re: “That’s So ‘Rich’” – JABB-GPO-GAS Henry Mancini Homage based on a theme by Rich R

    This has really come along to a great finish. Nice prose about how you constructed this too. I am honored that you would include my little phrase in with a discussion of and orchestrationed in the manner of Henry Mancini and Blake Edwards. I think that I will print this and frame it on my wall.

    This is definitely in the style of Mancini and you can't but hear the relationship to the Pink Panther theme right down to that last chord and fall off. NEAT!!!
    [Music is the Rhythm, Harmony and Breath of Life]
    "Music is music, and a note's a note" - Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong


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