UPDATE (21 April): Well, I’m almost finished entering the “head” section of “Ruby My Dear,” (at a rate of one page a day, but having missed one day: I’m at the final “A” of the first time through the AABA form) and while that may not sound like I’m very far along at all, what remains once I’ve done that is the solos (a lot of empty staves in those, with only a few backgrounds) and the Coda, because–being a lazy git–I didn’t do a different, separate orchestration of the head for the end of the tune. (The orchestra does what any jazz quintet does: go back to the top, play the same thing through to the coda. I’m not proud of that, but, well… that’s what I wrote.)I‘m actually more pleased with this thing than I expected. I mean, I don’t think it’s something I would ever try to sell or publish for money, but there’s some neat things in it, and I get the feeling I actually knew a fair bit for an inexperienced undegrad: there’s a nice (if brief) brass chorale section, some interesting stuff done with the strings and woodwinds, and so on. I get the feeling I worked very hard on this orchestration at the time. I’m still blown away by how hearing it–even just played using the free, and slightly cheesy, synth software that comes with Musescore, has allowed me to make little cosmetic changes and fix little mistakes along the way.
(Which is to say, the file I’ll be producing isn’t quite a purely archival file. There are a few little changes and improvements here and there, things I didn’t want to leave them as they were, and wouldn’t have if I’d known what I wrote at the time would sound like. But I’m fine with that: I’m not narcissistic enough to imagine anyone analyzing these scores a century from now, and even if someone did, the changes are so minor they wouldn’t matter anyway.)
Once I’m done with this, I may actually try do some simpler arrangements for small string orchestra and jazz quartet or something–the sort of thing I’d do for a jazz soloist who wanted to do an album like this one:
… just for the fun of it. (There’s no real demand for anything like that, but it’d be nice to know how to do it. Would be even nicer if I could find a couple of such arrangements to analyze for myself.) And hell, I may try doing some original chart for big band, if I can come up with a melody to slap onto some familiar set of changes.
ORIGINAL POST: The newest in my notation projects is a suite of Thelonious Monk tunes that I arranged for orchestra, by which I mean, a proper classical music orchestra: flutes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, trumpets, trombones, tuba, a little percussion, a string section and a harp. This orchestra accompanies a classic jazz quintet (sax, trumpet, piano, bass, and drums). It’s not quite a modern symphony orchestra or anything, just what I imagined to be a TV studio orchestra in the 1950s or 1960s. This was my idea of what Third Stream meant, back in Saskatoon in 1996. (I know better now, but at the time, I thought it meant jazz group accompanied by orchestra, or those “______ with strings” albums one ran across sometimes–I’m thinking of , or, The Birth of the Cool and Porgy and Bess, well, anything that went beyond the big-band paradigm, really.)
The arrangement was actually homework for an orchestration class I took with a professor named Robert Klose. Continue reading