Here is a fun arrangement of the classical Christmas song, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” Written for standard big band, this features a guitar and a sax solo. There are a few tricky meter changes, but the arrangement is not too difficult overall.
“Center of Gravity” is an original composition of mine. I was inspired by my studies of airplanes and aviation, so I wrote a big band chart about it. It harmonically dense, very rhythmic, and pretty brisk. This is a challenging, but fun, chart.
Mint Julep is a classic swing tune, in the style of Thad Jones. I wrote it while I was participating in the 2015 Disneyland All-American College Band. The name comes from a drink served in the park at “Café Orleans” (a direct replica of Café du Monde). Thus, the piece should have a relaxed feel to it, as if you were sipping a Mint Julep on a lazy summer afternoon.
Instrumentation: 17-Piece Big Band — 5 Saxophones (2 Alto Saxes, 2 Tenor Saxes, 1 Baritone Sax), 4 Trumpets (Trumpets 2-4 double on Flugelhorn), 4 Trombones, Rhythm Section (Piano, Electric Bass, Drums, Guitar)
Daydreams is a programmatic work—the piece should sound like a daydream. This is achieved through its melodies and textures. Each section represents a different thought, just as the mind wanders and drifts through one’s imagination. The various themes may seem incongruous at first, but they eventually converge, one being played on top of the other. The dream then fades away….
I composed Daydreams in an unconventional manner. It was written with an orchestral mindset. Consequently, some instruments may be filling unusual roles. To this end, each musician must be confident, deliberate, and musical. The piece is filled with dense writing, so intonation is also paramount. Most importantly, the work should reach its emotional peak at letter L, during which all the motives overlap.
Instrumentation: 17-Piece Big Band — 5 Saxophones (2 Alto Saxes [Both Double on Flute], 2 Tenor Saxes [Tenor 1 Doubles on Flute, Tenor 2 Doubles on Clarinet], 1 Baritone Sax [Doubles on Bass Clarinet]), 4 Trumpets (All Double on Flugelhorn), 4 Trombones, Rhythm Section (Piano, Electric Bass, Drums, Guitar)
Dark matter was first postulated to exist in the 1930s; however, this early evidence was not given much credence. It was not until the 1980s that dark matter began to make its foothold in the standard cosmological model. Astronomers have measured all of the observable mass and energy in the universe to an incredible degree of accuracy. They also know how much to expect, by observing gravity’s effect on galaxies and galaxy clusters. These observations have yielded an astounding result—about 95% of the expected matter is missing. This has been confirmed time and time again by independent calculations. All of this has led scientists to an inevitable conclusion: most of our universe is composed of matter we cannot see or detect. That is, dark matter.
My composition truly personifies dark matter—a substance about which we know nothing, but almost undeniably know exists. It is shrouded in mystery and confusion; it is the unknown. I captured the intangible nature of dark matter by writing in a very chromatic, almost atonal style. It alludes to key centers, yet never quite elucidates.
It begins rather innocuously with a simple vamp figure. Trombones later join in, followed by a snaky melody. In time, the full band adds in with hits and countermelodies, all of which weave in and out of one another. The solo section is the heart of the matter—no time, no key, no rules; what happens here is entirely unknown. Eventually, the vamp figure begins again, bringing time along with it. The background figures are unconventional: trombones gliss freely, trumpets play clusters, and saxes flutter chromatically.