NEW BIG BAND REPERTOIRE 2023-24
Time to start looking at new repertoire for next season. There are 40 new charts being added to the list this year in a range of different styles and difficulty levels. Please remember that this means that some charts drop off the list, so always look at the latest list when selecting your chosen piece from the Repertoire List.
Two medium swing charts are fine additions to the current list. Terry White’s skilful arrangement of Hank Mobley’s ‘My Groove, Your Move’ (Alfred) joins Dean Sorensen’s original ‘Pete Left Town’ (Kjos).
Excelcia Music continue to add to their growing library of quality pieces with Steve Parsons’ lively ‘Jive Samba’.
Paul Baker’s ‘Aventuras!’ is a fine Latin Rock original (Baker’s Jazz and More) while Steve Shanley conjures up a new calypso with ‘Calypso Angelical’ (Barnhouse).
Seasoned composer Mike Dana gives us an interesting Light Funk/Samba take on Buddy Bernie & Nat Simon’s ‘Ponciana’ and Rick Hirsch turns his arranging skills to a Straight 8s version of ‘Star Eyes’ by Don Raye & Gene DePaul (both Alfred).
Michele Fernandez continues to provide creative, authentic Latin charts with her Cuban Cha-Cha ‘Chevré’ and Brazilian Bossa ‘The Things That Need To Heal’, which has a terrific introduction for you to feature a solo pianist (both Hal Leonard). Peter Sciaino’s Latin Rock chart ‘The Boulevard’ (Excelcia Music) provides a great contrast to the previous two items.
Then you can slow down with a choice of ballads. Kris Berg provides alto sax players with a great opportunity to shine in ‘Distant Ridges’ (Kendor), while Mike Tomaro uses all his wonderful composing skills to give us another fine original in ‘Missing You’ (Doug Beach Music).
Want to show off your trumpet section? Then UK composer Ed Puddick provides a highly attractive arrangement of Richard Rodgers’ ‘Younger Than Spring Time’ (sheetmusicplus.com). Not to be missed.
Callum Au continues to release more of his imaginative compositions and arrangements. At this level we have a gorgeous Tenor Sax Ballad ‘Athena’s Dream’ (callumaumusic.com). Mike Kamuf creates a clever Swing/straight 8s arrangement of Freddie Hubbard’s ‘Crisis’ (Alfred) and Matt Morey conjures up a classic Salsa sound with ‘Los Dos’ (Baker’s Jazz and More).
A couple of wonderful Alto Sax Ballads here, with Mark Taylor providing masterful arrangements of Billy Strayhorn’s ‘Chelsea Bridge’ and Tadd Dameron’s ‘Hot House’ (both Hal Leonard). Alan Baylock produces his usual high level of imaginative arranging skills with his Trumpet Ballad/Swing version of Victor Herbert’s classic ‘My Foolish Heart’ (Alfred).
Kris Berg appears here again with a modern swing original ‘Cross Road’ (Excelcia) while Paul Baker also re-appears with his Latin original ‘Los Vientos de Cambio’. You can’t go wrong with these two masters of the genre.
Patty Darling always composes imaginative works for Big Band. Her Half-time Funk latest - ‘Twists and Turns’ - is no exception. (Sierra)
An all British line-up at this level. Again, two fine Ballads lead the way. ‘Face To Face’ is the latest offering from multi-award winner Nikki Iles (email@example.com) joining Ed Puddick’s ‘Forum Internum’. Ed’s piece can be heard on YouTube, being performed by the Upper Austrian Jazz Orchestra, as can his clever Latin chart ‘Veiculo Longo’ (edpuddick.com).
A newcomer to our list this year is tenor sax master and composer Andy Scott, also famed for his work with the Apollo Saxophone Quartet. ‘Lip Service’ is a high energy Funk chart, originally written for the Manchester’s Bluejuice Big Band (astute-music.com).
Also from Andy Scott is ‘La Conchita’, a bright Samba commissioned by Sandbach School Big band and premiered by them together with the RNCM Big Band (astute-music.com). Continuing with the Latin theme is a brilliant Bob Curnow arrangement of Pat Metheny & Lyle Mays’ ‘Are You Going With Me’ (Sierra). Also expertly arranged for Randy Bracker’s big band by Jamie Roth is Michael Brecker’s quintessential fusion tune ‘Spherical’ (HXMusic/FJH).
If you’ve heard Callum Au’s terrific arrangement of Michael Giacchino’s ‘The Incredibles’ for the Louis Dowdeswell Big Band on YouTube (if not, why not??!!), and your band has the chops to manage it, go buy a set at sheetmusicplus.com! You will also find there Callum’s arrangement of Louis Prima favourite ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’, once again arranged for the Louis Dowdeswell Big Band. From his own website (callumau.com) you can access Callum’s colourful and sensitive Tenor Ballad, ‘The Weaver’, winner of the Brussels Jazz Orchestra International Composition Contest 2020.
Sierra Music continues to publish imaginative, well-constructed charts, including Rich DeRosa’s great original chart - ‘Birds Of A Feather’. Composed for the North Texas One O’Clock Lab Band, this extraordinary piece is guaranteed to stretch your understanding of the Big Band genre.
Chuck Owen has been producing creative compositions for his own band, The Jazz Surge, based in Tampa, Florida, for many years. If you have looked into his compositions already on our list you will know what I mean. The release of the band’s 25th Anniversary recording ‘Within Us’ brings a whole new range of imaginative pieces to our attention. At this level we have the title track - ‘Within Us (An Invincible Summer)’, a gorgeous Ballad-like piece of contemporary big band writing - and ‘Apalachicola’, with a brooding slow minor blues-like feel. Try taking a tip out of Chuck’s playbook and add a touch of Stéphane Grappelli into the mix by featuring a jazz violinist. It gives a highly original sound to the standard big band line-up.
As with many of these charts, performances are easily available to listen to on YouTube; some with scrolling scores. Composers, like Chuck, are increasingly producing their own downloadable pdf scores and parts. With most American publications on our list it is possible to purchase downloadable pdf scores and parts from jwpepper.com if you cannot access pieces in time from UK distributors such as Studio Music.
Chief conductor of the Danish Radio Big Band, Miho Hazama, and guest conductor with the Metropole Orkest, is new to our list. Born in Japan, but based in New York, her background in classical composition brings an interesting approach to big band music. From her debut album with DR Big Band, ‘Imaginary Visions’ comes ‘Mimi’s March’ (mihohazama.com/shop), a terrific Shuffle chart with lots of twists and turns. Guaranteed to keep your band awake!
Two more charts from each of Chuck Owen and Miho Hazama’s albums here. Chuck’s ‘Trail Of The Ancients’ is a terrific Fusion concert jazz chart, with elements of Pat Metheny-ish sounds, pop and world music thrown in for good measure. If you’ve a violinist, this brings another colour, but if not there are viable alternatives. If you enjoyed Bob Curnow’s Pat Metheny arrangements such as ‘First Circle’ and ‘Minuano’ you’ll really enjoy this expansive work-out. ‘Sparks Fly’ has a dramatic, almost cinematic Fusion groove to it, abounding in energy. A powerhouse number packed full of dynamic twists and turns.
Miho’s ‘I Said Cool, You Said … What?’ is another challenging Contemporary jazz chart with a great sense of nervous energy - perhaps you can’t expect much else when it opens in a fast 13/8 time signature! Brilliant, with a catchy groove from the rhythm section, this will really push your performance to the next level! Meanwhile, ‘Your Scenery Story’ is much more serene, with a great Laid-back feel, terrific changes in orchestration, and a number of time signature changes to keep you on your toes!
Don’t forget the new UK composers we introduced to the list last year - Nick Dewhurst, Billy Marrows, Misha Mullova-Abbado and Tom Smith, along with Ed Puddick There will be more charts coming from up and coming writers on next year’s list. Watch this space!