Bart Marantz NPR/KERA Jazz Education Interview
Click below to listen to the interview
Click below to read the article
Written and Arranged By: Lennie Niehaus
Instrumentation: Big Band / Kendor Konvertible Series
Publisher: Kendor Music, inc.
Grade: 21/2 Swing Tempo = 152 $40.00
“Proving Ground” provides the director with a vechicle for teaching straight ahead swing style, which is a core or staple of good jazz musical roots. It incorporates the essentials for all young and not-so-young jazz student ensembles such as unions, ensemble tutti passages, fills for piano and improvisation.
The solo section for trumpet can be made longer and even passed around to other aspiring jazz soloists by simply adding a repeat sign starting at measure 57 to measure 73 for as many soloists as you want to feature. It’s only 16 measures long and perhaps the only flaw in the entire chart is that more space for this and other improvisors is needed. The trumpet solo has chord changes and a written suggested solo for the young improvisor. Both the line and changes can be transposed for most any instrumentalist wanting to dive in and improvise.
Following the intro, both altos and trumpet present the melody starting at measure 9. Good intonation in this area is essential and will set the “tone” for the entire chart. Since the head is performed by the lead alto it is imperative that the entire ensemble play with careful dynamics and is careful not to cover up the melody.
Lennie Niehaus is an exceptional writer who takes the obvious and puts his own stamp on it. Case in point would be the ending which begins at measure 105 and takes quotes from the original melody building intensity to measure 111, but then closes the chart with a soft rich chord change at measure #112. “Proving Ground” will “prove” to be an excellent addition to your book this school year and is highly recommended for learning to play the swing feel.
Top note for trumpet is written G above the staff.