Bart Marantz NPR/KERA Jazz Education Interview
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"Delta City Blues"
By: Dave Eshelman
Instrumentation: Big Band
Publisher: Neil A. Kjos Company
Grade 5 Funky Tempo = 154 $50.00
Michael Brecker is one of the most studied and renowned musicians in jazz music today. “Delta City Blues” was written by Brecker and was recorded by his quartet for the 1998 release entitled, “Two Blocks From The Edge” (Impulse Records, IMPD-260). Playing the solo tenor part on this piece is no easy task, but if worked at it can be accomplished.
Brecker draws from the unique characteristics of New Orleans drum style that combines the elements of a parade snare drum (a street beat) with the funkier beat of a full drum kit. He adds a bit of southern flavored gospel harmony to the mix making for a very enjoyable piece of music.
The first tenor saxophone part contains an improvised cadenza, which serves as a showcase spotlight for the tenor saxophone soloist. Harmonics are indicated by the diamond shaped notes provided by the arranger, Dave Eshelman. If your soloist is unfamiliar with harmonics, the regular notes also provided may be used for this part of the solo section. The improvised solos in the center section of the chart can be played as a standard blues or as an altered blues (as performed on the original recording) with each chord played as an altered dominant chord (b13, #9).
The one thing to keep in mind about “Delta City Blues" is that this was originally played by one of todays most accomplished tenor players on the scene, Michael Brecker who has complete command of the instrument. His abilities are almost super-human and anyone who has heard the original recording and is attempting to perform this chart will be immediately compared to the master. Make sure your soloist is ready for the challenge because “Delta City Blues" is just that and more for any tenor player!
Top note for trumpet F above high C