Jazz Composition Blog

Allen Myers – Poster Presentation “Inspiration in the Development of Form”

Brad Mehldau DMA Program Notes of a piano recital – discussion on his use of consonance and dissonance

BMI Jazz Composers Workshop

Bill Holman Interview

Earl MacDonald Blog:    Composing       Bob Brookmeyer rehearsing Vanguard Orchestra,     Arranging for Westchester Jazz Orchestra    Stealing from McNeely

George Handy arranger and composer of Boyd Raebrun Orchestra, Dissertation by Benjamin Biermann

Gil Evans Arrangement of “My Ship” w/ Transcription by Jim Martin

Herb Pomeroy – The Pocket Herb (notes from Herb Pomeroy’s Line Writing, Duke Ellington and Jazz Comp Courses and a second set of notes from Pomeroy’s Line Writing and Ellington classes)

Inside the Score in the 21st Century: Techniques for Contemporary Large Jazz Ensemble Composition by Tyler Dennis

International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers

Jacob Collier – Music Theory Interview

Jazz Continuum Collected Writings – Keeping the Peace by Graham Collier

Jazz Arranging and Composing Books

Scott Healy’s Jazz Composition Blog: Writing, Arranging and Listening

Scott Healy Blog

Tim Davies  – jazz part 1, jazz melody and voicing part 2,

UNC Jazz Press

 Bob Brookmeyer

The Life of Bob Brookmeyer 

A Study of BobBrookmeyers’ Compositional Stytle for Large Jazz Ensemble dissertation by Stephen J. Guerra Jr.

Darce James Argue

Darce James Argue’s Blog – Part of the Carnegie Hall Musical Exchange

Darce James Argue Interview

Performance at Berklee with the Rainbow Big Band

Duke Ellington

Smithsonian Online Virtual Archive

Duke Ellington Jazz Composition Study Group Los Angeles

Duke Elington and Billy Strayhorn Jazz Composers (Smithsonian Albert H. Small Document Gallery)

The International Duke Ellington Music Society 

Arranging Ellington: The Ellington Effect by Darcy James Argue – Article discussing the unusual voice leading in just a few bars of Ellington’s Mood Indigo.


John La Barbera

John La Barbera Jazz Arranging Interview Part 1

John La Barbera Jazz Arranging Interview Part 2

Jim McNeely

“Lickety Split”: Modern Aspects of Composition and Orchestration in the Large Jazz Ensemble Compositions of Jim McNeely: An Anyalsis of “Extra Credit”, “In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning” and “Absolution”

Jim McNeely Website – Study scores can be purchased in the store section

Mostly Music Blog – interview with Jim McNeely

OmniTone Interview

Village Vanguard Orchestra

Maria Schneider

Maria Schneider Website

Maria Schneider Videos includes advice to young composers, composer’s block and more

Id (1991)

The title “Id” is borrowed from Freud’s Personality theory. It is a name for the instinctual part of behavior. Instinct describes the quick process of composing this piece for big band. It was written while attending Indiana University and is dedicated to Domonic Spera. Mr. Spera’s big band gave the premier and a second performance at the Indiana Music Educators Convention in 1991. A year later I found Mr. Spera had incorporated the piece for discussion and listening as a part of his advanced jazz composition class. I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. The dissonance of the main theme draws on the influence of Debussy’s use of exact parallel voicings as well as Duke Ellington’s cross section voicings. With each voice played by a different instrument among the different sections of the band, the dissonance of the minor second and the major seventh between voices I feel is further enhanced. I was looking for a striking sound to this angular theme.

Harmonic Structure of the horns voicing

Id Score page 3 The composition attempted to bring free and organized sections together for a raucous high energy groove. It is an up tempo 3/4 piece with rock and free jazz elements. Solo sections vary from a completely free section for the sax soloist, to ostinato figures with cross rhythms amongst the different sections of the band as background figures for the trumpet and trombone solos. The rhythmic figures were influenced by a study in African Rhythms back in the 80’s with the Ohio Chamber Orchestra and Cleveland Ballet tympanist George Kitely at Baldwin Wallace University (formerly known as Baldwin-Wallce College). Id page 10 Bob Brookmeyer gave some worthy advice upon hearing the piece years later while I was attending University of Missouri at Kansas City Conservatory. His advice was to never let the success of your piece be entirely dependent on the soloists. My recording had some wonderful soloing by some exceptionally talented young musicians but that did not stop him from offering his wisdom. His other piece of advice was drawn from his early years studying music history at the UMKC Conservatory. He recommended that I study the long expansive melodic lines of Gregorian chant. He also believed that a solo section should not occur until it is the only thing that can happen. Upon hearing “Shockwaves” for jazz octet, a work of mine from the mid 90’s, he felt I had reached a better balance than I had in “Id”. You can read about the form of Shockwaves in the Inspiration for Development and Form poster presented at the International Jazz Composers’ Symposium.