Soulful Brother Gelispie***
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.
White Christmas** (Baritone Saxophone Feature)
This is a big band arrangement of The Drifters 1954 version of George & Ira Gershwin’s Christmas season classic composition. It features the Baritone Saxophone mimicking the melodic phrasing of Baritone/Bass vocalist of this classic 1950’s R&B/Doo-Wop group. The high tenor voice singing the melody in The Drifters’ version is mimicked by the melody voiced in the trombone section. After the melodic statement, which is in a 2-beat feel (quarter note = 125 – 130), there is a straight-ahead swing solo section with background figures for the Baritone Saxophone. After the solo section, the arrangement returns to the tenor-voiced melody in the Trombones leading back to the Baritone Saxophone taking over the melody to bring the arrangement to the end. This is a very entertaining arrangement to perform during the Christmas season, which will definitely bring back memories to those who grew up in the 1950’s.
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 Angelou. 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Three Little Words*** (Vocal Feature)
This is a modern medium-up tempo arrangement of the Tin Pan Alley classic from the 1950 musical film of the same name. The arrangement begins with voice and bass in duet for the first chorus and then explodes into an ensemble interlude, setting up the next chorus for the voice accompanied by full ensemble orchestration. As the arrangement progresses, the voice trades 8’s with a soli in each individual horn section followed by 8’s with piano, guitar, bass and finally 4’s with drums. This arrangement is very interactive between the vocalist and the ensemble and very entertaining for the listener.
Baby, It’s Cold Outside** (Vocal Feature)
As recorded by Nnenna Freelon and the John Brown Big Band on the 2012 Brown Boulevard release “Christmas,” this is a straight ahead arrangement of Frank Loesser’s composition introduced in the 1949 film “Neptune’s Daughter.” Highly regarded as a Christmas song owing to it’s winter theme, the lyrics actually make no mention of the actual holiday. The arrangement features a vocal duet between Male and Female voice, written in Db major and modulating to D major. This arrangement is a delight for audiences as a part of any concert program.
Little Drummer Boy*** (Vocal Feature)
As recorded by Nnenna Freelon and the John Brown Big Band on the 2012 Brown Boulevard release “Christmas,” this is a reharmonized arrangement on this classic Christmas tune that features a March-like/New Orleans street beat feel, masterfully executed by New Orleans drummer Adonnis Rose on the recording session. Unless you’re from NOLA, it is recommended that the drummer listen to Adonnis’ interpretation of this groove and only refer to the written drum groove a “suggestion.” The tempo is quarter note = 90 in the key of C Major and modulating to Db Major. As the arrangement progresses it goes into Swing with a double-time feel while modulating again to D Major. Throughout this metric modulation of tempos, the lyric is sung with the same å = 90 tempo feel. At the end of the arrangement there is a recap back to the original New Orleans street beat feel as displayed in the beginning of the chart. This is a great chart to be performed during the Christmas season and to add variety to any concert program.
Let It Snow** (Vocal Feature)
As recorded by Nnenna Freelon and the John Brown Big Band on the 2012 Brown Boulevard release “Christmas,” this arrangement is a straight-ahead swinger of the Sammy Cahn/Jule Styne composition. Ironically, this tune was written the two song writers during a 1945 summer heatwave in Hollywood as they were imagining “cooler” weather conditions. The arrangement is in Db major and can be sung by soprano/alto female voice or baritone male voice. This is another great chart that can be performed during the Christmas/Winter concert season.
Lets Call The Whole Thing Off** (Vocal or Trumpet Feature)
This arrangement is a medium tempo straight-ahead swinger of the George & Ira Gershwin classic from the 1937 film “Shall We Dance.” Written in F Major, this tune has been arranged to be either a vocal feature or a trumpet feature with parts for both instruments included. The intro of the arrangement begins with solo bass walking a 2-beat feel on the last eight measures of the form, followed by the voice/trumpet in duet with the bass for the first 8 measures of the form. From there the feature instrument is accompanied by ensemble orchestration for the remainder of that first chorus of the form. The next chorus of the arrangement is a solo section for either of the featured instruments or for the 4th trumpet, guitar, piano or bass if the vocalist chooses not to sing an improvised solo. There is a ½ chorus Ensemble Shout section that sets up the featured instrument for the bridge of the final chorus, leading to a 4 measure repeated tag and a composed ending. This is a very versatile arrangement that can be sung by a male and female vocalist separately, together or by a featured trumpet soloist.