Soulful Brother Gillespie***
This is an original composition and arrangement recorded by Derrick Gardner & The BIG dig! BAND on the 2020 Impact Jazz release “Still I Rise.” This medium tempo composition is dedicated to an unsung hero of jazz drumming Randy Gelispie. This composition represents what I like to refer to as a “Rhythmic Composition” based solely off of a specific rhythmic figure or groove. As I’ve performed with Randy over the years he played a very unique groove that he describes in scat syllables as “SHA GA DOO BA DOO GUM BOW,” which was the inspiration for the melody, form and chord structure of this composition. The arrangement features Guitar and Soprano Saxophone solos with background figures. The development section of the arrangement features a Drum solo that trades with ensemble orchestration and then to an open Drum solo. The CODA features a repeated vamp with layered horn figures by section, collective improvisation between Alto Saxophone and Guitar laid over this unique Gelispie groove for which the composition and arrangement is based upon.
To Whom It May Concern***
This is an original composition and arrangement recorded by Derrick Gardner & The BIG dig! BAND on the 2020 Impact Jazz release “Still I Rise.” This composition is a medium-up tempo Jazz Waltz in F Minor. The melody is first displayed by Bass and Guitar in unison then followed by the melody voiced in the saxophone section with counter-melodic figures in the brass. This composition was originally arranged solely as a Bass feature, however when we recorded this piece I opened up the solo section to include solos for Trombone and Baritone Saxophone. Chord changes for Concert, Bb & Eb pitched instruments are included along with instructions describing the arrangement roadmap from the recording should you desire to open up the solo section for your performance. The written arrangement features a solo section for the Bass and a solo section for a “Walking Bass” solo as well. Also included is a two chorus Saxophone Soli, an Ensemble Soli section and a two chorus Drum solo that trades with ensemble orchestration. This great piece to be used to feature the Bass and change the pace in a concert program from a Swing feel to a 3/4 Jazz Waltz feel.
Blues ala Burgess***
This is an original composition and arrangement recorded by Derrick Gardner & The BIG dig! BAND on the 2020 Impact Jazz release “Still I Rise.” This is a medium-up tempo blues in G Major dedicated to my father, trumpeter, composer/arranger and educator Burgess Gardner. The melody of this piece is based off of an improvisational motif I heard my father play on one of his recordings. This arrangement features a three chorus Saxophone Soli (w/Soprano Sax lead) and solo sections with background figures for Trumpet and Tenor Saxophone. The development section of the arrangement features a two chorus Ensemble Shout containing a unison Trombone Soli pitted against the Trumpet and Saxophone sections. The ending features a dramatic Drum solo answering conducted ensemble orchestration leading to the final fully voiced chord of the arrangement. Every jazz concert should have a blues as part of it’s programming and this one would fit perfectly.
Still I Rise***
This is an original composition dedicated to the African American poet, singer memoirist and civil rights activist Maya Angelo. This original arrangement was recorded by Derrick Gardner & The BIG dig! BAND as the title track on the 2020 Impact Jazz release “Still I Rise.” The composition is organized as an AABAC form counting 40 measures in length. The opening measures of this medium-up tempo arrangement features a Saxophone Soli in duet with drums and a call & answer concept with the Brass. There are solo sections with background figures for Trumpet and Trombone, leading to a trading section between the Drums and ensemble orchestration. The development section of the arrangement features an Ensemble Soli on the two A sections and a Saxophone Soli on the B section of the form. This chart can be used very effectively as an opener or a closer to any concert program.
One Thing Led To Another**
This is an original composition and arrangement recorded by Derrick Gardner & The BIG dig! BAND on the 2020 Impact Jazz release “Still I Rise.” This is a medium tempo Bossa features Trumpet, Alto Saxophone, Trombone and Bass solos with accompanying background figures, leading to a fully voiced but relaxed Ensemble Shout section. A great piece to be used to add variety and change the pace in a concert program from a Swing feel to the straight 8th Bossa feel.
8 Ball, Side Pocket***
This is an original composition and arrangement recorded by Derrick Gardner & The BIG dig! BAND on the 2020 Impact Jazz release “Still I Rise.” This medium tempo AABA swinger is in the stylings of the Count Basie Orchestra and the composition itself is a contrafact on the Freddie Green original “Corner Pocket.” It features a Tenor Saxophone solo w/ background figures and a Piano solo. There is also a one chorus soft ensemble soli section in the Basie style and then a loud ensemble shout bringing the arrangement to it’s end with the classic Basie piano “splanks.”
This medium-up tempo Terence Blanchard original was recorded by his quintet on the 1992 Columbia Records release “Simply Stated.” This arrangement follows the basic framework and form of Terence’ composition with Trumpet, Tenor Saxophone and Piano solos. There are background figures for the Trumpet and Tenor Saxophone solos. Further to this, the arrangement has a saxophone section soli and an ensemble soli section that uses part of Blanchard’s original trumpet solo.
Push Come ‘Da Shove*****
This is an original composition based on a C Minor blues with reharmonized chord progressions and an extended form. This arrangement was recorded by Derrick Gardner & The BIG dig! BAND on the 2020 Impact Jazz release “Still I Rise.” The introduction is “Rubato ad Libitum” centered around a recurring melodic idea executed freely by each individual horn player by section in a “waterfall” type of mannerism. This is followed by an up tempo rhythm section vamp in C Minor that sets up the time for the unison saxophone section melody. The solo sections for Trumpet and Alto Saxophone are complete with background figures with a Drum solo between the two horn solos. “McCoy Tyner” inspired trombone soli after the melodic statement, conducted ensemble interlude, challenging saxophone soli with Soprano Sax lead. This is a great opener or closer to any concert program and challenging for any ensemble.
Originally recorded as an octet arrangement by Derrick Gardner & The Jazz Prophets +2 on the Owl Studios release “Echoes of Ethnicity” (OWL00129). This is a hard bop tribute to tenor saxophone legend Sonny Rollins that has been twice recycled from the original tune “Four” and then from Lee Morgan’s “Haina.” The solo sections for the Tenor Sax and Trumpet are complete with background figures. The Piano solo is unaccompanied and leads into an ensemble shout that features melodic references to “Four.” There is also a Drum solo before the recap of the melody. The big band arrangement features the same arrangement components as the octet arrangement but with an added saxophone soli section, featuring a collage of several Sonny Rollins composition (including Strode Rode, Airegin, Valse Hot, and Blue Seven) (see “4NEWK” under octet arrangements).
I’m Glad there Is You** – Vocal Feature
*Vocal Feature This vocal feature departs from the normal ballad-like version of this popular standard and has been arranged as a nice medium tempo swinger. Can be sung by all ranges of the voice. Ensemble shout section features a saxophone section soli with the voice doubling the lead alto saxophone. The CODA features a “tag” section for the voice to ad lib over with rondo-like background figures in the brass and saxophones.
Just A Touch***
Originally recorded as a sextet arrangement by Derrick Gardner & The Jazz Prophets on the Owl Studios release “A Ride To The Other Side” (OWL00121). This is a slow walking ballad with the melody stated twice and written in a “stop time” manner to symbolize a “soft touch.” The first melodic statement is tutti throughout the full horn section, then stated in a very effective waterfall/pyramid manner the second time. The Tenor Saxophone solo is supported by background figures and the solo section for the drums is blended with ensemble figures in a Thad Jones “Tip Toe” style.
(J. Coltrane) -This is an arrangement on the 2nd movement of John Coltrane’s landmark suite “A Love Supreme,” written for 16-piece Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Choir (SATB). This arrangement features the tenor saxophone as the primary soloist who also shares the melody with the full ensemble. The choir is featured in the introduction over pedal points that alternate between Eb minor and Bb7alt, performed in the same manner as the 4th movement (Psalm) of “A Love Supreme.” The lyrics incorporate passages from Coltrane’s prayer which are written in the liner notes of the original recording. This leads into the famous Jimmy Garrison bass intro to set up the melody displayed by the brass, saxophones and rhythm section. The choir is also utilized singing background figures behind the tenor saxophone solo and as part of the ensemble shout section. In the same manner as the original recording, there is a piano solo after the statement of the melody which leads to a “McCoy Tyner” inspired trombone soli as the interlude before the tenor saxophone solo. This arrangement can be performed without the choir as an instrumental/big band arrangement as well. This is a very dynamic and climactic piece.
Willow Weep For Me** – Vocal Feature
(A. Ronell) -Vocal Feature This arrangement on this popular standard is a vocal feature for female voice (Soprano/Alto). It has been reharmonized into the minor tonality (D minor) with reharmonized chord progressions on the bridge as well. It features a scat solo section that vamps in D minor w/”rondo-like” background figures in the brass and saxophones, building into a very exciting ensemble shout section.
Originally recorded as an octet arrangement by Derrick Gardner & The Jazz Prophets +2 on the Owl Studios release “Echoes of Ethnicity” (OWL00129). The big band arrangement features the same arrangement components as the octet arrangement but with an added, and a rarely done, Brass Soli section; where the Trumpet and Trombone sections are pitted against each other in alternating four measure phrases. The solo sections for Trombone and Baritone Saxophone are complete with background figures and there is a Drum solo during the last nine measures of the Ensemble Shout. (see “Miss’ippi Man” under octet arrangements)
Straight Up and Down***
(Chick Corea) This is an arrangement of one Chick Corea’s many great compositions. The melody is shared by both solo piano and full ensemble. The soloists are Piano, Alto Saxophone and Trumpet with the horn solos accompanied with background figures. The introduction, interlude and ensemble soli feature excerpts from the melody and ideas based on Chick’s unique style of piano comping.