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Books on small-group jazz arranging

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Peter McFerrin, Nov 3, 2002.

  1. Any recommendations for books about arranging for small jazz groups? I know a little about counterpoint and harmony, but as my probably futile efforts to make an arrangement for "Till There Was You" that allows me to play on the D and G strings without stepping all over our bari player are showing, maybe I should learn more on the topic.
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well the person who really "wrote the book" was Horace Silver and it was his style of arranging for quintet -starting with the Jazz Messengers - that influenced loads of Jazz groups since - I mean his approach to small group arranging is what I hear still today in many gigging bands.

    So - he has put a lot of his experience in a Hal Leonard book :

    "Horace Silver - the Art of Small Combo Jazz Playing,Composing and Arranging"

    Highly recommended!! :)

    On the other hand it is quite "general" and may not address the "specifics" that you seem to need - maybe this would be in a course or curriculum book for a full-time Jazz course - maybe somebody like Chris Fitzgerald would be able to help?

    It may be just a case of listening to some recordings with Baritone in a small group like the Gerry Mulligan quartets with Chet Baker/Paul Desmond?
  3. A good idea, Bruce. I've got some Pepper Adams to listen to, as well--he tended toward a more percussive approach in his arrangements (probably a result of having worked with Mingus) whereas Mulligan would zip and dart all over the place with Baker.

    I'll figure something out. Thanks for the Silver suggestion, though--it should serve me well.
  4. James S

    James S

    Apr 17, 2002
    New Hampshire

    I teach Arranging 1 and 2 at Berklee. today I taught a two hour class on beginning arranging for two horns and your question / problem is a common one.

    While all of the above books and methods are good, I suggest that you learn to arrange the same way that you learned to play.

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