Busy, busy!

10th AvenueLots of things keeping me away from here lately. My top band read “Graceful Kitten” last week just to make sure everything was OK, and then I passed it out to the freshman band. It’s working out fine with the less-experienced kids.

I’ve started what was going to be a grade 3 funk tune, but halfway through it somehow got a double-time swing feel B section for contrast. It just felt right putting that in. I’m scoring it so it should sound OK with limited numbers of trombones and trumpets, since in my experience it’s not hard to recruit saxophones, but trombones are harder to find.

If anyone’s actually reading this, let me know what kind of tunes you’re looking for. The funk tune was a request by my middle band, who I haven’t written anything for yet this year. I think they will like it.(jwaggoner AT waggonerpublishing.com)

The arrangement of  Frank Zappa’s “Grand Wazoo” that I did a couple of months ago is working out well with my top band. It captures the feel of Frank’s chart somewhat, but blends it with a more traditional big-band sound. I may make a couple of changes to it as we continue to work on it. We’ll play it in November.

We’re also working on a couple of the tunes from Pat Williams’ 1989 CD, 10th Avenue. We managed to get copies of “Still Crazy After All These Years” and “New York State Of Mind” from Williams’ company. The “New York Big Band” on the record uses French horns instead of saxes, three synths, and one saxophone – Michael Brecker! It’s a great record, one of the best-sounding CDs of the early years of CDs. These tunes are for “mature bands,” but they are great charts, and my kids are digging playing them, even though they are challenging them a lot. And I’ve got a piano player who is channeling Richard Tee on the thing…it’s gonna be cool!


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