Deep Inside Big Band Territory

vlcsnap-202623Hello, good morning, and welcome to the Saturday Morning News Post!

Readers, I’m ALL big band ALL the time these days! Not only am I directing McGill’s Jazz Orchestra III, but I am also writing a big band arrangement of my CBC commissioned “Jelly Roll Suite” and really, really trying to finish it soon. The charts are to be played by a McGill big band and will fulfill a degree requirement.

As many of you know, arranging for big band is new for me. It’s fun and exhausting creative work. Not creative in the same way as composing music, but creative in the problem solving sense. 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, and 5 saxophones,… sooo many voices to balance and consider range issues and counter lines, and background figures, etc. Anyways, I’m enjoying it enough so far that IF this arrangement works out, I may work on some more,… eventually.

Meanwhile, in my off time, I’m listening to some fantastic big band music by Vancouver composer/arranger extraordinaire Fred Stride. The record is called “Forward Motion” (CellarLive) and features many of Vancouver’s top jazz musicians. The album came out in 2006 yet somehow I only picked it up from Fred last week after a masterclass he gave at McGill. First of all, I’m kind of embarrassed that it took me so long to get it, and second of all, I’m surprised I didn’t hear more about it.

Hmm,… well, I guess I was living in China at the time,… okay, that pretty much explains it.

Anyways, my point is that it’s a great record and Fred Stride really knows his shit! Great tunes, creative and beautiful arrangements, and a fantastic band.
Belated congratulations Fred!

Okay, I gotta get back to work! There may be another post this week (click on the RSS button if you want to have posts go directly to your email) ; as always, thanks for reading and have a great week. jd