News & Views Thursday, September 20, 2018

Favorite Jazz Selections Monday, July 30, 2018

recommended by Ben Huntoon, Jazz Specialist

sierra-smp269-fVine Street Rumble by Benny Carter, Grade 5
As originally recorded by Count Basie on the Roulette LP (Vogue CD) “Kansas City Suite – the Music of Benny Carter,” this is a medium-up Shuffle feel, with solos for tenor saxophone and piano. The sax section plays the tune in unison while the brass interject those terrific rhythmic figures that Carter wrote so well. Soft, tight ensemble passage swing like crazy and raise the roof when played yet again up an octave and very powerfully. What a joy this one is! Classic Basie!

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy by Josef Zawinul/arr. Phil Wilson, Grade 4.5
As recorded by Buddy Rich on the album of the same name, this ‘fat-back’ rock classic begins with a repeated vamp featuring solo guitar and/or piano before a horn trio — alto, tenor, trumpet – paves the way for the full ensemble entrance. This is high-intensity writing for all, and solo space is reserved for tenor and guitar. A sudden switch to swing in the final bars provides a perfect ending. Rhythm section parts are partially notated with chords cued.

kendor-64006-fBig Dipper by Thad Jones, Grade 6
This new advanced level edition is taken directly from the original ink parts that were on the stands at the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra (now the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra) debut performance in February 1966 and continues to be played by the group Monday nights at the Village Vanguard in New York City. Originally commissioned by Count Basie for an entire album of Thad Jones’ music, however Basie never made the record, instead suggesting that Thad start his own band. This extended 16-bar blues still maintain that swinging Basie mindset in a straight-ahead blues style. Its basic foundations are a relaxed but powerful rhythm section with a driving ride cymbal beat and crisp hi-hat, underpinning saxes and brass that are tight, and always on the back of the beat.

leon-07010238-fMoanin’ by Charles Mingus/arr. Sy Johnson, Grade 5
This up-tempo swinger has become the signature tune for the Mingus Big Band. It opens with a free-wheeling baritone sax solo and features raucous ensemble passages and group improvisations. You won’t find this chart on any easy-listening radio stations!

I Left My Heart in San Francisco arr. Quincy Jones, Grade 4
Quincy Jones wrote some incredible arrangements on very popular tunes for the Count Basie Orchestra. As recorded on “60’s – This Time By Basie,” Quincy’s arrangement of “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” features great interplay between the ensemble (melody) and the piano (solo fills, all written out). There is short solo space for tenor saxophone, and ranges are very moderate. This chart is playable by most any band. A classic!

Moten Swing arr. Ernie Wilkins, Grade 4.5
There have been a lot of published charts on this tune, but this is the original version as played by and recorded by the Count Basie Orchestra. This chart should be in every jazz band library! Wonderful roaring ensemble passages and soft, soft sections which will make your band sparkle. A guaranteed winner.

About the Author:
Ben Huntoon is the Jazz Education Consultant at Stanton’s Sheet Music. He received bachelors and masters degrees in music from Capital University and The Ohio State University respectively. As a professional trumpeter, Ben is accomplished in a wide variety of genres and has performed throughout the Midwest on many stages over the past 30 years. He also teaches trumpet, coaches brass ensembles and has served on the jazz faculty at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio.

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