David Berger on the writing habits of masters

In this video David Berger discusses the work habits of a handful of the great composer-arrangers in jazz. Berger himself is an esteemed and accomplished composer, arranger, and transcriber who really knows the score, so to speak.

Here are some highlights from the video:

:50  Discusses Billy Byers, a Monday-to-Friday 9-to-5 writer who wrote directly to his full score. In ink.

1:38  Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhdorn used a condensed score with only 4 systems: 1 each for the saxes, Harry Carney, the trumpets, and the trombones (sometimes shared with the bass).

3:06  Paraphrases Maurice Ravel's perspective on composing at the piano versus composing away from the piano

4:09  Gil Evans wrote use a magnifying glass

4:37  Compares Al Cohn and Bob Brookmeyer's routines at the same music house

5:41  Berger discusses his habit of writing either when the urge strikes him, or when he has a specific assignment or deadline

6:40  Berger offers the take-home message that everyone has to discover for themselves what enables them to get their work done, that there is no right or wrong way to go about it.


Posted on April 16, 2015 and filed under Arranging & Composing.