Bart Marantz NPR/KERA Jazz Education Interview
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"Soft ‘N Gentle"
By: Dean Sorenson
Instrumentation: Big Band – “Standard of Excellence Jazz In Concert Series”
Publisher: KJOS Neil A. Kjos Music Company
Grade 1 Slow-Swing Ballad Tempo = 82 $45.00
“Soft ‘N Gentle” is a swing ballad in the style of the great Count Basie Orchestra. This chart is written with the celebrated arranger Neal Hefti in mind, and Dean Sorenson dose a good job of capturing this style with the young big band in mind. The arrangement should be played slowly, yet with a strong sense of rhythm. The winds should concentrate on achieving a good balance and blend while the rhythm section should make sure they hold the tempo as steady as possible.
“Soft ‘N Gentle”dose not feature any soloists. Normally I would not review such a piece, but because this is for a jazz ensemble who is just starting to play this style of music I feel it is important to get the slow ensemble swing feel experienced as an ensemble first. What better way to do this than with a chart written in the style of Basie!
As with all “Standard of Excellence Jazz In Concert Series”selections, “Soft ‘N Gentle” is designed to be played by the full jazz ensemble. This chart however, will sound full and complete by as little as nine (9) musicians. As with all “Standard of Excellence Jazz In Concert Series”a CD of the arrangement accompanies the chart so the young artists playing the music can hear it first.
If you have a young or beginning jazz ensemble assembled then this chart is a very good place to start. Slow swing Basie is essential for all big bands and if it is taught as a starting point the end results should be very positive.
Top note for trumpet E in the staff