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.