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