NEW BIG BAND REPERTOIRE 2022-23
The Big Band repertoire list for 2022-23 contains pieces by some exciting young UK big band composers.
‘Heatwave’ is a great funk chart at 2.5 level composed by trumpeter/guitarist Nick Dewhurst used for keeping things going with Walsall Music Hub during lockdown. Check it out on YouTube. Also have a look at his Grade 3 Funk/Hip-Hop chart ‘One For Dennis’. You will find more of NIck’s compositions on his website - nickdewhurst.com
Fellow Birmingham Conservatoire graduate Ed Puddick has been busy building an award winning career in big band composition/arranging while lecturing on the subject at Guildhall School of Music and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, where he has just taken up a full-time lectureship. Charts composed for bands at a broad range of levels can be found on his website - edpuddick.com. We have included a number of these on this year’s list ranging from a Grade 3 swing chart - ‘Thornhill Bop’, through Grade 3.5 ‘Sink or Samba’, to the more complex, wonderful sounding Grade 5 swing number ‘Crazy Days’ (the title of his latest CD with the Upper Austrian Jazz Orchestra) and contemporary ballad ‘New Familiar’. Search for Ed and the Upper Austrian Jazz Orchestra on YouTube to hear these two charts and others given wonderful performances by this terrific band who will be visiting the UK later in the year.
Patchwork Jazz Orchestra are a London-based millennial big band that has no leader, but a collective of composers using the ensemble as a platform for fresh sounds and ideas. Wow!! Do they achieve their aim and more!!! Have a look at their website - patchworkjazzorchestra.com and look them up on YouTube for stunning performances of some of their charts we have included in this year’s list. If your band is adventurous and forward looking, you need to look at guitarist Billy Marrows’ Grade 4.5 Samba ‘Genmaicha’, Grade 5 Hi-Life/Swing ‘Dancing on Bentwood Chairs’ and Contemporary New Orleans Groove ‘Scenes from the Underground’.
Then there’s bassist Misha Mullov-Abbado’s Ballad/Funk Shuffle/Swing ‘Cross Platform Interchange’ and Latin feel ‘New Insomnia’ at Grade 4.5, together with his Contemporary Concert Jazz wonderfully titled ‘Hi Wriggly’ at Grade 5.
Saxophonist Tom Smith provides the gorgeous Gospel Trombone Feature ‘The Light That Shines’ at Grade 5 and the exciting Fast Swing number ‘Swansea Uproar’ at Grade 5.5. Many of the band’s members are NYJO and Royal Academy Jazz Course alumni.
Speaking of NYJO, if you head over to band leader Mark Armstrong’s website you will find a free - yes, I said free - arrangement of George Gershwin’s ‘Lady Be Good’ in a Fast Swing setting …… for those who want a challenge at Grade 5.5!!
We’ll be hearing more from these wonderfully gifted and creative musicians, together with other contemporaries in the future as we add more British flavour to the Big Band list.
Following last year’s additions of charts by Nikki Iles and Callum Au, we continue to add more pieces by these talented composers. Firstly, Stan Sulzmann’s arrangement of Nikki’s delightful slow swing number ‘Westerly’ at Grade 3 - a wonderful chart for the developing and more advanced band, together with Latin original ‘Grey As The Morning’ at Grade 5.5. Callum’s beautiful Alto Sax Ballad ‘The Stray Horn’ is included at Grade 5.5 and his exciting Latin/Swing Trumpet Feature ‘Well Endowde’ at Grade 6.
From America, Excelcia Music Publications continues to produce some fine charts for developing bands. At Grade 1 we have Steve Parson’s ‘Da Bump’. At Grade 1.5 we have Jack Cooper’s Funky Rock ‘Honk! Honk’ and ‘Up Jumped Swing’ together with Steve Wiest’s imaginative swing number ‘Signal Drop’. Grade 2 brings us a Kris Berg rock classic ‘(My, My My) My Fedora’ and Peter Sciaino’s Swing number ‘On The Cool Side’. Steve Wiest continues to weave his creative magic with Funk/Hip-Hop original ‘Gottaluvit’ at Grade 3 and Fast Swing chart ‘Use The Skylator!’ at Grade 4.
Female composers are also added this year with Monika Herzig’s Gospel Swing chart ‘Jump Right In’ at Grade 3 and Michele Fernández’s gorgeous Flugel Ballad ‘La Luz En Ti’ at Grade 4. Hopefully we can add more charts from these and others in the future.
Finally we have a good selection of imaginative charts by established composers and arrangers. At Grade 3 Gordon Goodwin provides another sure-fire hit with the latin influenced ‘Change Is Good’, Doug Beach chips in with Alto Sax Ballad ‘Distance’, Mike Tomaro give us a Samba in ‘Non-Stop Hustle’ and Alan Baylock weaves his magic with a Samba/Swing arrangement of Cole Porter’s ‘What Is This Thing Called Love’.
Mike Tomaro also provides a wonderful Driving Swing chart at Grade 4 called ‘Go Big Or Go Home’ (did he work for McDonalds?!). At the same level Michael Philip Mossman again demonstrates what a fine arranger he is by giving us a Mambo version of Irving Berlin’s ‘Let’s Face The Music And Dance’ and a Cha-Cha version of Dizzy Gillespie’s ‘Tour De Force’.
Bob Curnow never fails to be original in his writing and, at Grade 6, we now have his latest Contemporary Jazz chart ‘The Eighth Miracle!’. Guaranteed to challenge and please in equal measure.