NY Pedestrian Blues
Music and arrangement by Jon Randall, solos by Justin Smith and Alex Murzyn.
“When I hear the blues, the blues makes me smile!” Joshua Redman
NYPB was written while Jon was performing novel arrangements of standard tunes with The Greater Apple Jazz Ensemble. It borrows inspiration from Charlie Parker’s Billie’s Bounce, but takes the changes in a slightly different direction and adds some syncopation, which is what inspired the title. The Blues is a wonderful basis for Jazz composition because it is surprisingly adaptable.
By Duke Pearson – arranged by Stephen Herrick, solos by Dave Martell, Stephen Herrick, and Mark Bernfield.
This arrangement is a testament to the ability of Jazz to fuse disparate elements. Some people might think that Hip Hop and Jazz are diametrically opposed, and yet the Hip Hop shuffle is essentially an evolution of Jazz Swing with a funky back beat. The fact that the music moves so effortlessly between the two grooves proves that there is common ground between all art forms when the mind is open and imaginative.
By Edu Lobo – arranged by Jon Randal, solo by Guido Fazio.
In the original version of this evocative and melancholy song, Edu Lobo sings of the immanent extinction of a rare Amazonian bird due to habitat destruction. Jon’s exquisite arrangement captures the tragedy of the situation while also celebrating the beauty and wonder of the bird itself. As the melody is passed around the band, you can almost hear the voices of the rainforest calling out to us.
Stella by Starlight
By Victor Young – arranged by Bill Zaccagni, adapted for four horns by Stephen Herrick, solos by Mark Rossi, Alex Murzyn, and Jon Randall.
This is one very hip arrangement of a well known Jazz standard. It takes the original tune and carries it into new ground immediately. The harmonies are dissonant without being harsh, and the tempo is quick without feeling rushed. The original arrangement was for three horns, but the band liked it so much that Stephen adapted it for four horns so the full octet could play it.
By Ray Bryant – arranged by Stephen Herrick, solos by Anne Sajdera, Justin Smith, Mark Bernfield, and Al Guzman.
With Latin rhythms, African call and response, and Jazz harmonies, this arrangement of Ray Bryant’s powerful tune exemplifies the ability of Jazz to incorporate many diverse elements. The idea of a “chant” is primal in nature, and this performance moves on a visceral level from beginning to end.
Fixing a Hole
By Paul McCartney – arranged by Stephen Herrick, solos by Justin Smith, Stephen Herrick, and Rick Pollack.
The Beatles were so prolific and creative, its no wonder their songs have been covered by Jazz and Classical artists as well as Pop artists. This arrangement seeks to be true to the whimsical and surrealistic qualities of the original while deconstructing the melody and setting it in completely new harmonic and rhythmic frameworks. From the verbatim intro, to the hard-shuffle ending, this version is a Magical Mystery Tour of its own.
Friday Night at the Cadillac Club
By Bob Berg – adapted for four horns by Stephen Herrick from the big band arrangement by Chris Culver, solos by Ron Wetzel, Stephen Herrick, and Jack Dorsey
The title says it all! Hard driving shuffle with a sassy melody that swings with the energy of a Friday night. Chris Culver’s arrangement for 13 horns is a staple of big band repertoire, but it works just as well in an octet. The rhythm section drives from top to bottom, and the horns soar on top. This tune is big time fun!
Recorded by J. Goody at Megasonic Sound, Oakland