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How does a mere drummer become a competent jazz arranger?

"I began arranging for my high school jazz and Latin jazz ensembles while teaching at Lake View HS, Chicago, IL.  When teaching in an urban setting it is not unusual to begin most of your horn players at the high school level; many times you can locate a somewhat experienced rhythm section. Therefore, you have a 'young band', but one that differs from a Jr. High or Middle School ensemble: better high chops, more sophisticated conceptually, a much more burning rhythm section, yet not exactly ready for grade 4 &5 literature. So ... I began writing for their strengths, and masking the weaknesses. I struggled along in doing so until meeting a great friend and mentor, Frank Tesinski. Frank, one of the finest musician I have ever know, also began to write for my kids, but more importantly, tutored me on how to write jazz arrangements. From Frank I acquired copious notes on the 'does and don'ts' of jazz voicing and arranging. In subsequent years, through further study and much trial and error, I have become a very skilled arranger ... Woo Woo! And, I even compose some of my own tunes, something I hope to do much more of in the future. 

The following Jazz Big Band Charts are available for purchase:

  1. A Night In Tunisia, written by Dizzy Gillespie and Frank Paparelli ...transcribed from the Birks Works album (Grade 4.5)

  2. Cherokee, written by Ray Noble ... burning, but playable (Grade 4)

  3. Cantaloupe Island, written by Herbie Hancock ... contemporary funk and great to 'blow on'' (Grade 3)

  4. Billie's Bounce, written by Charles Parker ... unusual intro and programs well as a Contest selection (Grade 4)

The following Marching Band Half-time Show is available for purchase:

  1. Classic Rock Show

  2. Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen

  3. Immigrant Song, Led Zeplin

  4. Pinball Wizard, The Who

Check back soon and I will have uploaded Finale sound files of these arrangements.

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