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My Favorite Big Band Recordings

I’m a big band jazz connoisseur. I love playing the music, and I love checking out others. Here follows those I believe are of the highest musical level and well-worth giving attention to, updated as I see fit:

bill holman: a view from the side
The Bill Holman Band: Brilliant Corners
Bob Curnow’s L.A. Big Band: The Music Of Pat Metheny And Lyle Mays
The Bob Florence Limited Edition: With All The Bells And Whistles
The Count Basie Orchestra Live At El Morocco
Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society: Infernal Machines
Frank Sinatra: Sinatra At The Sands
iTiempo Latino! – The Airmen Of Note
Maria Schneider Orchestra: The Thompson Fields
Ray Charles + Count Basie Orchestra: Ray Sings Basie Swings
Stan Kenton: Contemporary Concepts
The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra: Up From The Skies

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Another bootleg: NJO on 11 May 2010

I found more files in the digital heap, and separated this live concert into tracks. I remember this concert; it was in a grade school gymnasium in Luxembourg and as you can hear, those kids were fantastic. Probably one of the best, most energetic audiences I’ve ever played for.

Bang Spot

Exposition 1: Good afternoon boys and girls

Four Brothers

Exposition 2: What are solos

Over There

Exposition 3: When Gavin didn’t have grey hair

Sister Moon

Kids Chatting

Dewdrops On Leaves

Exposition 4: Olivier being French

Mack The Knife

Exposition 5: Kerry introcudes Mr. Truffles

C Jam Blues (Head Chart)

Exposition 6: Gavin introduces the old man

That Old Black Magic

Exposition 7: Pedro introduces everyone and closing comments

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NJO Bootleg: The Grinning King

Every once in a while, it can be pretty fun to indulge in a bit of nostalgia and look through some of my old files . . . and look what popped up:

This is a live recording from my SHAPE International Band days of a NATO Jazz Orchestra concert, featuring yours truly on trombone solo. I don’t remember where or when it was. This recording, being live, and sounding like a feed off a sound board, is of course chock full of warts, made worse by the sound engineer obviously using our first tune to set sound levels (you can hear him adjusting as the tune progresses) . . . but we had a pretty darn good band, and in my humble opinion the composition turned out pretty well. This was originally written for Jim Finlayson, a trombonist and friend I knew before I joined the military back in the 2000s.

 

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Upcoming (some day!) Intonation Exercises: Four Part Chorales In Just Intonation book by yours truly

I’ve had the opportunity to work on this little pet project of mine lately, and I think it would be nice to put up a “teaser” showing a glimpse of the materials to be contained within:

Intonation Exercises Preview

The idea is to help train proper intonation by precisely notating every deviation in pitch through the course of these chorales, and breaking things down to easily digestible building blocks of these intonation tools. Note that this is just a couple of pages picked from different sections of the book; I hope that some of you find these useful enough to generate interest in the (not yet) finished product. The first chorale in this excerpt is very straight-forward; the second is obviously more advanced. The chorales in this book will consist of exercises like these, and of arrangements of traditional and original songs which reinforce the exercises. I also want them to eventually cover advanced harmony through complex jazz chords and beyond, dealing with harmonies based on higher harmonics. I’ll probably release it as a couple of volumes.

For more information on Sagittal notation, see:

Sagittal microtonal notation

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Articles on New World Brass website

I have written some articles for New World Brass, based on some of what I’ve included on my blog here. New World Brass is a young but ambitious website resource for brass musicians. Check it out here:

New World Brass

and my first article published there:

Introduction to Intonation

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More Sagittal-specific tools

I’ve gone through and copied my musical essays and the like to a separate page list on this blog – go look under “musical tools” to see. Mainly, this is to make it a bit easier to navigate to the different things I’ve written, rather than scrolling down this main page.

I’ve also added a list of chords, all notated in Sagittal notation. I figured that it would save me a lot of time writing music if I had a reference like this written out, and I make an appeal to crowd-sourcing to help check for errors. First, I’ve added just the list of pure-Sagittal chords, and it’s not really a complete list (as if any list really can be) but it’s pretty good for now. I’ll be adding a Mixed Sagittal version of the same chart soon.

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Planning For The Future

I often have heard that it’s wise to choose goals to reach for in the future – usually something on the order of a 1-year goal and a 10-year goal (with some minor variation on the time scales) to organize my plans into near-future goals and far-future goals. I have recently realized that I have been a bit foolish about how I do this. I would choose what are essentially career-type goals: attain mastery of orchestra writing, hike in the Rocky Mountains for two weeks, find a great wife and start a family, and other things like this. While this kind of thinking can be useful, it can ignore a basic fact of human psychology, that we are really short-term reward creatures. These goals really should be thought of as short-term rewards that I want to be receiving in 1 year or 10 years, an that boils down to not career goals, but what do I want a typical day to be like? Would it be similar to my typical days right now, or different? How?

I don’t really know. It seems important.