Bart Marantz NPR/KERA Jazz Education Interview
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"Hard Blown Blues"
By: Les Sabina
Instrumentation: Big Band
Publisher: Kendor Music, Inc.
Grade: 2 1/2 Medium Slow Swing = 112
“Hard Blown Blues” is just what it says, a solid chart that really helps the young band get the feel for swing by well-written figures in all sections.
The director must be sure that when playing this arrangement the suggested tempo is upheld throughout the piece. A tempo faster then the one written at the top of the arrangement will neutralize the “slow burn” concept of the chart. Make sure that all markings for tempo, dynamics and concept are followed as written. It is suggested that in order to swing in a convincing fashion at a medium slow tempo, downbeats should be especially lengthened and, generally, offbeats should contain an obvious breath-accent.
In this type of piece the rhythm section musicians must concentrate on anchoring the entire ensemble. Measure 69-92 are dangerous unless the rhythm section holds the tempo true. At measure 105 a new key of Db major is introduced. The director who wants to get through this section without stopping may want to review the Db major key prior to rehearsing the arraignment.
Also, playing all dynamic markings as written will help this piece come alive for both the students who play it and the audience who hears it. “Hard Blown Blues” is a fine chart that offers students a chance to relax and enjoy a blues in the swing feel with good writing for each section of the jazz ensemble and will leave your students with the concept they need to continue to swing on down the road.
Top note for trumpet is written F in the staff.