Whether breathing new life into a standard, or making a newly written tune truly unique, the jazz arranger’s vision influences every aspect of the listener’s experience. Jazz Arranging explores techniques that will allow you to write effective jazz arrangements for all types of instrumental combinations.
Throughout the course, you will learn to write complete arrangements in a variety of formats and styles while addressing the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic challenges faced by every jazz arranger. The course examines the techniques behind writing introductions, harmonizing melodies, working with rhythm sections, creating interludes, developing secondary and tertiary focus, and understanding instrument ranges. Through analysis and discussion of methods used by the finest arrangers in jazz, you will learn how to develop a compelling jazz arrangement and how to bring the arrangement to a successful conclusion. The course provides the foundation for constructing arrangements in any jazz style, including the bop and hard-bop style of Horace Silver, Clifford Brown, and John Coltrane; the classic two-horn frontline with vocalist lineup, as popularized by Cannonball Adderly with Nancy Wilson, Marty Paich, and contemporary artists such as Michael Buble and Harry Connick Jr.; the smooth jazz stylings of Fourplay and Spyro Gyra; and arrangements for a big band jazz ensemble with five saxophones, four trumpets, four trombones, and full rhythm section, in the style pioneered by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Bob Brookmeyer, Maria Schneider, and others.
By the end of the course, you will not only have had the experience of writing many complete arrangements, but you will have resources that you can turn to for further inspiration, as well as access to a growing network of colleagues in the field of jazz writing. Course author Brian Lewis has written jazz arrangements for over thirty years, with works commissioned and recorded on a yearly basis since 1990. The course brings together all of his knowledge and experience, with the goal of imparting thorough and practical methods for becoming a versatile and sought-after jazz arranger.
By the end of the course, you will be able to:
apply proven arranging concepts in all the major jazz styles
understand voicing and harmonization techniques and use them to create specific musical moods
write for the characteristics of individual instruments and sections of instruments
analyze the work of the greatest jazz arrangers
“role model” in order to stimulate the writing process
identify the characteristic functions of the rhythm section when constructing grooves and comping patterns
demonstrate how to reshape melodies from lead sheet formats into stylistic, personalized melodic treatments
write complete, original arrangements (seven will be completed during the term)