Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
sgcim

NON-Standard tunes to arrange for big band?

36 posts in this topic

I started off the pandemic writing arrangements of all of my original tunes, then went on to obscure jazz standards and movie themes' that no one has done for big band, then standards that I had original harmonic/rhythmic ideas on, then standards that the greats (Puerling, among others) had great ideas on (that I could steal- you can't copyright arrangements), and now I've reached the point where I'm using tunes from other genres whose composers had jazz roots.

So far I've hit up rock tunes from bands like The Association, Circus maximus, Nick Drake, Judee Sill (!), If, Manhattan Transfer, Steely Dan and Traffic.

All these songs have great harmonic/melodic/rhythmic features to them that make them the equal of any other good tunes, and I also love them.

Does anyone have any suggestions of NON- standard tunes that they think might work for big band?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

sg, the first three albums of the original Manfred Mann lineup had some songs with interesting harmonies.  I suspect that this was because their guitarist was Mike Vickers, who went on to do arrangements for The Beatles and others.

 

In 1970 Mike Westbrook put out an album with a band of all-stars called Love Songs.  You might get some ideas there.

 

Shortly after, Keith Tippet's Centipede put out an album called Septober Energy.  You might get some ideas there too!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of these are already arranged, LOL. Alex Sipiagin did great work here, but he had great material to work with.

probably none of these are useful for "big band" purposes, they stand alone as is just fine, staying within themselves because that's where they live, but oh well, i never miss a change to throw them out there for anybody looking for "new songs"...although none are hardly "new" in age.

Or...I keep waiting for somebody do discover this one, somebody who's not afraid to color with the darker colors of the emotions:

 

I don't mind me some R&B in my songs, so...depends on who's going to be playing these charts. but the OHSHIT moment of this one is at the VERY end.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How slow does your band have their pocket?

 

Ok, let's go for the obvious:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

that last one is in the Real Book, isn't it? So it's technically a "standard"

But is it a "standard" if nobody plays it?

and don't get me going there about Carla Bley, good lord, there's some meat there...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Going back to a previous eta...do you know Over The Weekend" Just disbeidcovrred it a few months ago, a John Benson Brooks gem, and very minimally covered over the decades, hardly a standard!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mundell Lowe - "The Lost and the Lonely" from Satan in High Heels.

 

Stanley Wilson "Lonely Beat" from M Squad

 

Combustible Edison - "Impact!"

 

Les Baxter - "Papagayo"

 

Leonard Rosenman - Theme from "The Chapman Report" (first track in the link):

 

 

Rene Garriguenc - "Street Themes in Jazz" from The Twilight Zone:

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Leith Stevens - "Toss Me a Scalpel" from The Interns:

 

Franz Waxman - "Crime in the Streets"

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Piero Piccioni - Theme from The Tenth Victim.

Arrives at about the 1:20 mark:

 

Kenyon Hopkins - "Dream Beat"

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, rostasi said:

 

Wild stuff! Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, GA Russell said:

sg, the first three albums of the original Manfred Mann lineup had some songs with interesting harmonies.  I suspect that this was because their guitarist was Mike Vickers, who went on to do arrangements for The Beatles and others.

 

In 1970 Mike Westbrook put out an album with a band of all-stars called Love Songs.  You might get some ideas there.

 

Shortly after, Keith Tippet's Centipede put out an album called Septober Energy.  You might get some ideas there too!

 

Some great suggestions as usual. I was thinking about doing something from Arthur Lee (Love) , although Bachrach wrote that one, and BB put down Love's version for getting all the chords wrong!:lol:The orchestrator of "Forever Changes went on to form his own big band, which is phenomenal. I think we mentioned David Angel's band here once.Definitely an overlooked genius:

Manfred Mann's albums are a great suggestion, because they had someone in the group who was a master at taking good tunes that had mediocre arrangements, and making great songs out of them. I'll have to do some research on Mike Vickers; he was probably the guy in the group responsible for that.

After reading a book on modern British jazz, I always wanted to hear Septober Energy, but never got around to it. Thanks!

The Westbrook album sounds great. I'll check out every cut.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there might be a jazzbigbandtune in here?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, JSngry said:

Going back to a previous eta...do you know Over The Weekend" Just disbeidcovrred it a few months ago, a John Benson Brooks gem, and very minimally covered over the decades, hardly a standard!

WOW! Monday Michiru! How is she not a household name? What do people want? Everything is there, great vocalist, great tunes, great lyrics, great grooves, superb solos!

You can't give them anymore than that. I guess she's doing okay considering she's 57, and has made over 200 recordings. The daughter of Toshiko and Charlie Mariano!

Spanky Wilson, another 'how could I never have heard of her' vocalist. Sublime, and a great tune.

Les McCann with Eddie Harris. Nice slow groove. Definitely possibilities...

I've already done one Nascimento tune, the masterpiece with Turrentine and Deodato's genius string arr., and have been looking for others that are just as good, and so far "Miracle of the Fishes" is the closest yet.

Thanks also for the hint on "Over the Weekend"; JBB is a huge fave of mine. I'll try to track it down.

Thanks for all the great stuff!

6 hours ago, Teasing the Korean said:

Leith Stevens - "Toss Me a Scalpel" from The Interns:

 

Franz Waxman - "Crime in the Streets"

 

When I used to play with clarinetist Joe Dixon, I wrote out Lake in the woods from SIHH, and we recorded it. Joe had to get permission from Mundell Lowe to record it, and I was there when he phoned him up. Mundell said, "What that little POS?"

I couldn't believe it. I guess he liked the faster, swing stuff more than that one, but everyone who's heard it, loved it. Phil Schaap has the only recording of it on his website for $25. A good singer I used to work with put lyrics to it, and wanted to record it too, but he was under the impression I composed it, and when he found out it was already revorded by ML, didn't want to record it because he'd have to pay ML.

Thanks so much for the "Lonely Beat". I can't do anything better that SW did with it, but I'm gonna transcribe it. I love that type of stuff. Raksin has something like that for a noir film he did, but for some reason he didn't like it.

The Waxman thing is also great, but it's probably been done by someone already, and you can't improve it anyway.

I loved that Tenth Victim theme when I first saw the movie. Thanks for reminding me of it. The Kenyon Hopkins thing is nice. I'd have to internalize it a little more before I could think of what to do with it.

Toss me a Scalpel would make another great transcription. There's really nothing I could add to a lot of these, because they've already been done so well, but some of them are too good to not transcribe them. Thanks! You've made up for your sabbatical.:g

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, sgcim said:

WOW! Monday Michiru! How is she not a household name? What do people want? Everything is there, great vocalist, great tunes, great lyrics, great grooves, superb solos!

You can't give them anymore than that. I guess she's doing okay considering she's 57, and has made over 200 recordings. The daughter of Toshiko and Charlie Mariano!

 

She's hanging in there...still very underground/cult figure. A long, strange trip...But yeah, all the progress in new pop either goes through her or has to catch up with her. What I put up here is just the best of what's available on YouTube. There's much more...but here's two from her Japan days, more pop in nature, but DAMN, what pop! She's got this gift for doing all the pivots in a wholly unique way, be it melody, harmony, or lyrics, stuff just takes these turns and shifts that are always RIGHT.

Check out that TOTAL WTF? curveball at the end - PURE SUGAR POP!!! I don't often joyfully LOL at pop, but damn, this one gets me EVERYtime!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, sgcim said:

Thanks for all the great stuff!

When I used to play with clarinetist Joe Dixon, I wrote out Lake in the woods from SIHH, and we recorded it. Joe had to get permission from Mundell Lowe to record it, and I was there when he phoned him up. Mundell said, "What that little POS?"

I couldn't believe it. I guess he liked the faster, swing stuff more than that one, but everyone who's heard it, loved it. Phil Schaap has the only recording of it on his website for $25. A good singer I used to work with put lyrics to it, and wanted to record it too, but he was under the impression I composed it, and when he found out it was already revorded by ML, didn't want to record it because he'd have to pay ML.

Thanks so much for the "Lonely Beat". I can't do anything better that SW did with it, but I'm gonna transcribe it. I love that type of stuff. Raksin has something like that for a noir film he did, but for some reason he didn't like it.

The Waxman thing is also great, but it's probably been done by someone already, and you can't improve it anyway.

I loved that Tenth Victim theme when I first saw the movie. Thanks for reminding me of it. The Kenyon Hopkins thing is nice. I'd have to internalize it a little more before I could think of what to do with it.

Toss me a Scalpel would make another great transcription. There's really nothing I could add to a lot of these, because they've already been done so well, but some of them are too good to not transcribe them. Thanks! You've made up for your sabbatical.:g

That is crazy about "Lake in the Woods!"

I love the buildup in the bridge of "Lonely Beat."  The end of the bridge is killer, and I love the piano interlude between the bridge and final stanza.  It is played by an obscure session pianist named Johnny Williams.  Wonder whatever became of him. ;) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, sgcim said:

Thanks also for the hint on "Over the Weekend"; JBB is a huge fave of mine. I'll try to track it down.

I just found this one via a Dianne Reeves record and was blown away. It's not been recorded much that I can tell, and following the finds in chronological order is...interesting. It keeps getting more and more elaborate.

Starts here, in 1953:

then takes a left to a swinging version by Dave Lambert on a 1960 record I had never heard of until this research (video is cues to start on the song)...

and then Johnny Mathis (on Mercury, very nice writing by Al7yn Ferguson), in 1964. Here's where it starts getting, like i said,.elaborate...

Then to Nancy Wilson in 1967 (Billy May, iirc):

in between, Blossom Dearie in 1983 & Don McLean(sic) in 1987, don't care about either one, so...

Dianne Reeves in 2008 (George Duke!!!!!!)

past that, that's all I can find. Hardly anything if not obscure, and still room for interpretations, I think. How it gets to the bridge is pretty....delightful, imo.

Personally, I'm not so much into songs for the sake of songs any more, but you know, when one comes along that you haven't heard AND is really interesting AND is not at all visible in a level that is concomitant to its interest...yeah, that works for me!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow! I was about to give up on it after hearing the Mercer and Lambert versions, but after that, it just kept getting better and better.

That nauseating pronouncement of "It's the singer, not the song" is yet again found simplistic. It's the arrangement, It's the song, it's the singer, it's the accompanists, It's JBB!

Of course Reeves and Wilson win out, but Mathis' version showed how expressive the bridge could actually be.

Brooks 'came a long way from St Louis' on that one. Thanks!

21 hours ago, Teasing the Korean said:

That is crazy about "Lake in the Woods!"

I love the buildup in the bridge of "Lonely Beat."  The end of the bridge is killer, and I love the piano interlude between the bridge and final stanza.  It is played by an obscure session pianist named Johnny Williams.  Wonder whatever became of him. ;) 

Yeah, I lost a lot of respect for Mundy after that phone call... My guitar teacher at the time said that ML had ghost writers working for him. He never wrote anything in that vein before or after, so who knows?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's probably an intrinsically vocal song, definitely not a jam ditty, but... there's something there for a carefully considered instrumental exposition, I think...way over my head to do that, but if you can do it, please do!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, sgcim said:

Yeah, I lost a lot of respect for Mundy after that phone call... My guitar teacher at the time said that ML had ghost writers working for him. He never wrote anything in that vein before or after, so who knows?

When I interviewed Mundell Lowe in the late 1990s, I asked him if he still had the charts for the Satan in High Heels album.  He said he kept the charts for the main title but didn't hang onto the others.  Imagine writing an album like that and trashing the charts!

As far as Lowe's arranging skills, a musician friend of mine who studied with Billy Bauer asked him about Lowe, and Bauer said that Mundy was a great arranger, and that he could come up with amazing arrangements on the fly at rehearsals.  

Edited by Teasing the Korean

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Teasing the Korean said:

When I interviewed Mundell Lowe in the late 1990s, I asked him if he still had the charts for the Satan in High Heels album.  He said he kept the charts for the main title but didn't hang onto the others.  Imagine writing an album like that and trashing the charts!

As far as Lowe's arranging skills, a musician friend of mine who studied with Billy Bauer asked him about Lowe, and Bauer said that Mundy was a great arranger, and that he could come up with amazing arrangements on the fly at rehearsals.  

He might have just written the main title, and farmed the other part of the score to another writer. Who would trash LITW?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a great Bobby Troup song that never gained traction as a "standard"...I don't understand that, except maybe too much harmonic movement for civilians

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a nice one from the school of chromatically descending progression ("My Little Boat", "Early Autumn", "Lover" etc...) / initially happy, ultimately sad lyrics school of songwriting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did think of "Early Autumn". I also like a song with a tag built into it as part of the recurring structure that's actually "necessary", and not just a gimmick.

What other above-average Bobby Troup songs are there? Can't say that I've really dug deep into his catalog.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.