Bart Marantz NPR/KERA Jazz Education Interview
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Written and Arranged By: John Fedchock
Publisher: Kendor Music, Inc.
Grade 4 Shuffle Tempo (Quarter Note) q = 126 $48.00
“Big Bruiser” is a versatile, straight-ahead minor shuffle featuring trombone and tenor saxophone solos bridged by a full saxophone section soli. Dense voicings and unique figures give this chart a relentless swing, and the ensemble chorus gives everyone plenty to sink their teeth into.
The trick behind performing “Big Bruiser” is realizing it’s versatility. As much as it can be played as a full-out shuffle from beginning to end, the piece can take better shape if the ensemble, and especially the rhythm section can allow the energy, intensity and dynamics to settle down from time to time. The best places for the rhythm section to explore more subdued textures and less obvious comping techniques are during the two solo sections.
Although the style marking is a “shuffle”, the drummer may choose to relax into a looser swing feel to begin each solo section, allowing the trombone and tenor soloists room to build their statements. The pianist may also leave more space and imply some harmonic extensions to promote additional creative solo interpretations.
All background figures are harmonized with upper extensions present, so use of altered harmony by soloists and accompanists will not seem out of character. All of the ensemble figures should be approached with intensity, but also with a relaxed feel. In most cases, the drummer need not be overly concerned with playing figures, except for the tighter, more accented ideas by the brass in measures 21-24, 77-93 and 130.
“Big Bruiser” is part of the “Studio Writers Series” from Kendor and in a word is a winner.
Top note for trumpet is written E above high C.