- mixed register trombone, Rhodes electric piano
I have always had a special love of this song. Aside from it’s beautiful stark and simple melody; it’s origin as an early American love song paints a poignant picture of a kind of “Romeo and Juliet” troubled love that tried to reach out and bridge boundaries. A vividly reverent tribute to both nature AND a lovestruck canoe-going trader who wants to marry the daughter of Shenandoah, a Native American chief, this song is an emotional gem on many levels. Shenandoah
Usually in the Key of D, I have lowered it to C as the trombone sounds very rich in the lower register. The harmony in the verse was loosely reworked from a Keith Jarrett version I found online and I added the intro motif and middle vamp.
The beautiful sound of the Fender Rhodes electric piano is featured (I love the Rhodes!). This is handled by the Roland MKS-20, an amazingly expressive rack mounted piano module that I just had repaired (cost a fortune but worth it!).
Details on the Roland MKS-20
The Roland MKS-20 was an innovative rack mounted digital piano module that was not based on samples, but rather on a type of early additive re-synthesis called “Structured Adaptive®” or “SA” synthesis. This ground-breaking technology provided an extremely expressive response, compared to the limited sampling technology of that era.
The MKS-20 design cleverly combined the digital side of the instrument with high-quality analog components and effects, resulting in a far warmer sound than most keyboards of the day. Velocity-triggered algorithms activated harmonic combinations which mimicked the naturally-occurring color changes of mechanical keyboards. Each of the 128 velocities had its own discrete color for each key, resulting in a highly expressive and organic sound.
- Bossa Nova Ballad (written by Bruno Martino)
I have always been enamored by the beauty of this tune. Although it was an Italian pop song, Joao Gilberto "put it on the map" with his poignant bossa nova version. My arrangement features low register trombone and a mellow emulation of jazz guitar, Fender Rhodes electric piano and electric bass to keep it soft and sensuous.
Although this was minor hit in Italy when released, it eventually became a worldwide jazz standard largely through its bossa nova re-interpretation by João Gilberto. Chet Baker—in his always understated lyricism—recorded a wonderful version of this as well.
- Bossa Nova Ballad written by Edu Lobo, Torquato Neto and Lani Hall (English Lyrics)
OMG... What can anyone say about this gorgeous tune other than its a privilege to play it on the trombone. The lyric for the vocal version both in Portuguese AND English are so perfect you want to just melt. Be sure to check out Bonnie Bowden singing with Sergio Mendes (and keep a handkerchief nearby...)
written by Antonio Carlos Jobim
Unrequited love or just a longing for someone that can never be, Ligia is another achingly beautiful tune by Tom Jobim.
Tom Jobim's genius for harmony is the focus of this stripped down arrangement featuring the trombone accompanied by only a jazz guitar, an acoustic bass and the subdued addition of a string quartet. There's no improv solo, just the tune once through and a short tag/coda.
A show tune is a popular song originally written as part of the score of a “show” (or stage musical), especially if the piece in question has become a standard, more or less detached in most people's minds from the original context. - Wikipedia
composed by George Gershwin
Summertime was composed in 1934 by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. The song soon became very popular and is recognized as one of the most covered songs in the history of recorded music, with more than 33,000 covers by groups and solo performers.
I have styled the arrangement as an organ trio (organ/organ pedal bass, jazz guitar, drums) backing up the trombone. I get a little raunchy with the plunger - it's one more great expressive tool for the bone :-)
FORM: Intro Tune (Changes) > Organ Solo > Bone Solo > Interlude > Tune (Changes) > Shrot Vamp (Fade out)
music by Jule Styne
This is a great tune for the trombone and I have kept in the the original key of Bb. My arrangement features a prominent lush orchestral countermelody behind the trombone and jazz rhythm section. A snippet of the antiphonal writing can be seen here. There's no improv section—just the tune once through.
Further Details (expand/collapse)
People is considered a signature tune for Barbra Streisand. It was composed by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill for the 1964 Broadway musical Funny Girl. The single, sung by Streisand, was released in January 1964, and peaked at number five on the Billboard pop chart, becoming the singer's first Top 40 hit. It also spent three weeks at number one on the Pop-Standards (adult contemporary) chart in June/July 1964. In 1998, Streisand's version was inducted in Grammy Hall of Fame.
In 1964, a bossa nova version featuring Barbra Streisand and Stevie Wonder was released on Columbia Records. Featuring lots of Stevie's amazing harmonica playing as well as his awesome singing, the duet gives new life to a timeless classic.
written by Burton Lane and Alan Jay Lerner
"On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" was the title tune to a 1965 Broadway Musical written by Burton Lane (music) and Alan Jay Lerner (lyrics).
My arrangement features a string ensemble and evolves into a latin groove for the short solo section.
The song has been recorded by a number of artists, the most famous of which is the Barbra Streisand version who was the star in the 1970 film. The song is reminiscent of Ravel's "Dawn" (Daybreak) movement from his ballet "Daphnis et Chloé".
Andy Williams does an absolutely wonderful version from his 1966 TV special.
Here's a "mini score snippet" of the strings part in the 1st Verse (NOTE: this will appear in a new window/tab)
Other Versions: (expand/collapse)
- written by Frederick Loewe, Alan Jay Lerner
"I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" is a song from the 1956 musical My Fair Lady, with music by Frederick Loewe and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner.
Ah... such a beautiful tune with such rich harmonic changes... This was always a fun tune to play on the cocktail piano gigs I used to play. I wrote the intro figure ages ago and yes, its kind of a thrill to finally record it with bone (especially accompanied by the rich Rhodes sound of the MKS-20).
Form is: INTRO › HEAD › BONE SOLO ON TUNE › SOLO ON LANGUID VAMP OUT
I've Grown Accustomed and You Are So Beautiful pair nicely together and I've kept them in the original keys (Eb and F respectively) which highlights the trombone in its middle register. Chet Baker does a touching version nicely posted as a YouTube video (link below).
A jazz standard is a composition that is held in continuing esteem and is commonly used as the basis of jazz arrangements and improvisations. The most common categories of origin are: Tin Pan Alley, Broadway musicals and Hollywood movies and to a less extent certain jazz composers. - jazzstandards.com
written by Hoagy Carmichael (lyrics by Johnny Mercer)
This is another gorgeous song from yesteryear. The music was penned by Hoagy Carmichael ("Stardust", "Georgia on My Mind" and others). Its a beautiful melody and sits well with the trombone.
My arrangement features the jazz guitar paired with vibes.1 The bone solo section is based on quartal-voiced harmony for a bit of contrast.
FORM is Intro › AABA (tune) › Bone solo › B (Vibes Solo) › A (Tune Recap and coda)
Linda Ronstadt does an absolutley stunning version... be sure to check out the YouTube link.
- Jazz Guitar: Roland D-50 / JV-880 combo
- Vibes: Roland MKS-20
written by Hoagy Carmichael
Another amazing jazz standard written by the ever-so-talented Hoagy Carmichael.
I have rewritten the tune in 3/4 rather than the original 4/4 time signature. My arrangement is in F, keeping the trombone in a resonant yet somewhat brighter register. (Norah Jones, who recently made this tune famous once again, does it in the key of C).
As in my other tunes in this studio arrangement section, the interplay between the Rhodes, jazz guitar and electric bass keeps the accompiament subtly lively despite the absence of a live drummer.
FORM is Intro › AABA (tune) › AA (Bone solo) › B (surprise!) › A (Tune Recap) > Outro
This song was been covered by a wide variety of artists. Ned Washington’s lyrics wonderfully capture the soft sensuality of love at its best. Three eclectic choices below:
written by Ray Evans
This beautiful tune was written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston for the Paramount Pictures film Captain Carey, U.S.A. (1950). The soundtrack version by Nat King Cole spent eight weeks at number one in the Billboard singles chart in 1950 and Cole's version of the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1992. Among his many recordings, Nat King Cole described this song as one of his favorites.
It's a gorgeous melody and I have chosen to keep the arrangement simple. There's no improv solo—just the melody once through. Strings provide a lush orchestral countermelody.
- written by Billy Preston and Bruce Fisher
This song was of course made famous by Joe Cocker—a master of the “emotional crescendo and frenzied climax.” Its a shoe-in for the trombone as well as it sounds great in the original key of F. I have given the accompaniment a gospel bluesy 12/8 feel, featuring the acoustic piano and organ. In addition, a jazzier sounding Fadd9 chord adds a tinge of richness to the harmony.
Form is: INTRO › HEAD › BONE SOLO ON TUNE › SOLO ON VAMP OUT/ FADE...
My bone playing is purposefully raw and borderline distorted. It’s tough to capture Joe Cocker’s bluesy grit but sweet and mellow nuance was NOT the approach on this one. :-)
Although as mentioned, Joe Cocker made this song a hit, probably fewer people know that this was penned by Billy Preston, Bruce Fisher and yes Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys together one night at a party. Dennis Wilson never claimed copyright credit.
written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David
Another more recent gem, this time from the 60s. "The Look of Love" was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and sung by Dusty Springfield, The song appeared in the 1967 film “Casino Royale” and in 2008, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
About the Music
Really great chord changes and an unusual time signature change of a single 2/4 bar in the B section makes this a really hip song. My arrangement builds on a groove set up by the electric bass and kick drum. The acoustic guitar complements the more prominent jazz guitar throughout the tune.
FORM: Intro > Tune (A/B) > Bone Solo (A) > Surprise! (B) > Vamp/Fade
Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, etc.
more tunes coming soon...
composed by Keith Jarrett
This tune is from Keith Jarrett’s Köln Concert solo improvisations released in 1975 by ECM Records. The recording became the best-selling solo album in jazz history and the all-time best-selling piano album with sales of more than 3.5 million!
It’s a beautiful melody. My arrangement is in Dm (rather than Am) keeping the trombone in the richer sounding middle register. It features strings, a “jazz guitar” and acoustic bass encapsulated as a light bossa nova.
FORM: Intro › Tune (changes) › Solo (changes) › Extended Vamp › Interlude (Intro) › Tune Recap (changes) › Tag Ending