YouTube clips feature ‘Score and Sound’ or live performances worth listening to.
Here I look at pieces at Grades 1.5 - 2 plus pieces at higher grades by these composers.
Grade 1.5 Li’l Hefti (Medium Swing) 3:04
This tribute to Hefti’s Li’l Darlin’ is ideal for a young band. A melodic chart with the articulation well-notated, rhythm section parts written out, written melody solos for trumpet and piano.
Trumpet 1 range to written G on top of the staff. Optional flute, clarinet, and vibes parts and playable with reduced instrumentation, it is a great way to introduce this style.
The exemplar file is great listening in order to pick up the nuances of this style.
Grade 1.5 Tango for Jam Jam (Tango) 3:26
A captivating tango sure to be a hit at any concert. The tempo is 120 BPM and the chart has a written alto sax solo, along with lots of built-in energy and most importantly, it's fun to play. You'll think you're in Argentina!
Doug Beach and George Shutak
These writers have been around for quite some time, but continue to produce highly playable and imaginative charts at all levels, but especially at lower grade levels. Published by Kendor Music, they provide backing tracks for solo sections on their website so that soloists can practice at home. A brilliant resource.
All of their charts listed in this, and previous, Repertoire Lists are worth consideration.
Grade 1.5 Untold Story (Trumpet Ballad) 4:10
This beautiful 8/8 ballad is an excellent showcase for your trumpet soloist. The pensive melody and rich harmony combine to create a wonderful change of pace easy level chart. While there is a short section that may be improvised, the solo part is entirely written and no improvisation is required.
Another composer from the Kendor stable who produces charts that are a little bit different and worth exploring.
Grade 2 Big Dog! (Shuffle) 4:30
This driving shuffle with cool lines, surprising harmonies, great rhythm section hooks, and much more makes for a great opener for developing groups. The open solo section (written or ad lib) features any soloist, with solo sheets provided for all. Once again, you can access backing tracks for soloists to rehearse with on the Kendor website.
Grade 2 Teaneck (Up-tempo swing) 3:00
Nat Adderley's "Teaneck" arranged by Mike Dana is a superb swing chart! At around 150 BPM, a well-written arrangement in every way with nice ensemble sections, a sax soli, the initial melody scored for alto and trumpet, written-out solos for trumpet and alto, lead trumpet range to written G, and an optional vibraphone part. A great to brighten up the day!
In Case You Missed Them
Here are two of Mike’s charts that I programmed regularly.
Grade 3.5 Nye Time (Hip-Hop/Swing) 4:30
Great recording to download or stream on the Kendor website.
The half-time groove of this hip-hop chart is so memorising and attractive to both players and listeners alike.! Trumpet and tenor sax solos can be played using concert D and F Dorian scales, and notated rhythm parts offer effective comping rhythms to enhance the tuneful melody.
Grade 3.5 True North (Alto Sax Ballad) 3:35
A captivating, contemporary even-eighth note ballad in the ECM tradition. Your 1st Alto player can really shine during this tuneful originals. There is a wordless optional vocal part to enhance the sensitivity and warmth of the piece. A really beautiful piece of music!
The Kendor website includes backing track for the soloist to rehearse with and access to a perusal copy of the score -
Grade 2 Slim Chickens (Funk) 4:40
Famous for his ongoing funky ‘Chicken’ pieces, this one is slighter easier, but none the less catchy! With lead trumpet range to written G on top of the staff, it includes written-out suggested solos for tenor 1 and trombone 1 with background figures to support the soloists. It’s a toe-tapper played at around 148 BPM with some nice bari sax parts, a sax soli, and full-sounding ensemble sections.
Kris also leads us into our Grade 3 additions to the list (more of these in Part 3!)
Grade 3 From A to Z (Funky Cha-Cha) 6:52
This chart tips its hat to the likes of Tito Puente and Poncho Sanchez. Commissioned for the Arizona All-State Jazz Band, this funky cha-cha over modal changes provides solo opportunities for anyone in the band (written or ad lib). This catchy tune is sure to get your audience up and dancing!
In Case You Missed Them
Here are two of Kris’s charts at different levels that are not about Chickens!
Grade 4 Gates of Tashbaan (Metheny Style Straight 8s) 5:07
A gorgeous Metheny-flavored chart featuring 2nd trombone and guitar. Solo space for both is provided, together with a few easy meter changes to 3/4. Lead trumpet range is to B-flat above the staff with an optional D. I’ve featured this one with my bands to give a great change of pace.
Alfred’s website contains a terrific exemplar recording:-
Grade 5 I’m OK, We’re OK (Fast Swing) 5:43
A burnin' mainstream up-tempo blues with a half-time funk section. This is a great fast swing opener or closer for festivals or concerts. This chart features lots of exciting ensemble writing and solo space for tenor sax 1 and trumpet 5. There are no woodwind doubles and the lead trumpet goes to E-flat.