Holy Crankin' 'Em Out, Batman!


(image: CC Attribution, www.thenounproject.com)

In hindsight, I'm not quite sure how I did this: arranging 10 charts for vocalist and big band.  In about 2.5 or 3 weeks.  That's not all.  I somehow also managed to sleep, bathe, exercise, be present (more or less) for my family, and take care of basic domestic responsibilities.

I'm not known for having exemplary time-management skills. 

Yes, I cranked these son-of-a-guns out.  We read through them last night and, on the whole, it's a good program of music.  Out of the ten arrangements, only one is going to require some fairly substantial massaging.

some thoughts

At a certain point in this project I realized I had to write a chart every day-and-a-half or so.  I logged my time, and observed that I was taking about 13 hours per chart—including part preparation—on the first few.  Under normal circumstances, this is reason to celebrate.  But, in this situation, I would never make my deadline at this rate.

Believe it or not, I somehow whittled this down to about 6-7 hours per chart, including parts. 

This had more to do with being decisive & economical and less to do with being formulaic.  (Evidently, I've already got my Hirschisms in place anyhow.) 

First, being decisive:  have you ever found yourself playing or writing every possible permutation of a musical phrase, unable to decide which version is best?  I have.  Numerous times.  And, gosh, is this a time-sink.  On this particular project, I FORCED myself to accept the first decent-sounding line / voicing / texture I came up with.  And then had to move forward with the rest of the chart.

Second, being economical:  Have you ever checked out Nelson Riddle's arrangements for Sinatra or Ella?  You should.  Then you'll know what I mean.  This is smart arranging.  And, elegant. Read more here.


By the way, here's the tunelist:

. Big Spender (record copy from Peggy Lee - classic!)

. Come Rain or Come Shine (RH treatment)

. Cry Me a River (female adaptation of Bublé version - can you say Mission Impossible?)

. Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend (adaptation / improvement on Marilyn Monroe's version)

. Halo (by Beyoncé!! — this one came out cool!  RH treatment)

. I'm Not That Girl (from Wicked - lovely tune!  RH treatment)

. Lulu's Back In Town (female adaptation of Mel Tormé / Marty Paich version - swingin'!)

. Mack the Knife (RH treatment)

. Stop the Wedding (Etta James)

. They Can't Take That Away from Me (RH treatment)


The concert isn't until December — maybe I'll have some audio to post at that time.


on 2011-11-10 15:12 by Rick

A couple of months ago I blogged about a writing gig I had arranging 10 charts for vocal soloist and big band.  Here's the promo video for the concert, which will be in a few weeks.  This vid is a homebrew, shot at our reading session in August.

Update #2

Here are the final recordings of the arrangements, recorded live at the concert in December, 2011.

Posted on August 19, 2011 and filed under Arranging & Composing, News & Performances.