Searching (2008)

Musicians learn as they come into my band not to rely on when or what the player next to them is playing. My band only has two trumpets, two trombones and in the saxophone section an alto, tenor and bari sax along with the rhythm section. Those sight reading sometimes begin to second guess their entrances.  the horn writing maybe cross-sectional writing, thank you Duke Ellington, or passages may be soloistic.   One fellow in the trombone section of a big band sight reading one of my arrangements happened to pick up a different  mute than the guy next to him, thank you Manny Albam, and began to question if he was in the right place. What does this say about the predictability of a lot of big band writing?

Occasionally lead lines are passed around shifting quickly.  At the climax of Searching, a bossa nova, motives are layered as well as passed around the band quickly.  Each persons part is like one piece of a puzzle and it is not until all the pieces are laid out next to each other that you can see the entire picture, or in our case hear the intended musical outcome. With so much shifting taking place, and every part being important, I have dropped the indication “lead” with a dotted line over the important section I would normally notate in a players part.

Starting in bar 197 there are four and five note motives. The contours to the continuous eighth note phrases differ slightly and slowly start to overlap each other. Some are ascending while others a descending.  At letter K the music shifts rhythmic gears with the introduction of sixteenth notes. At bar 211 imitation takes place with these quicker moving lines. The arrows in the score indicate four and five note motives and the boxes show the phrases in imitation. Click on score pages to enlarge.

Start of the climax

Start of the climax

Searching p. 28Searching p. 29