This study starts by taking a listen to “Maids of Cadiz” by Gil Evans and Miles Davis. We talk about some of the broad strokes: form, pace, and how Gil shapes this evocative and powerful piece. Then we dive back into large ensemble voicing technique, continuing with the antiphonal style of Sammy Nestico, and introducing the chromatic, cross-doubled method of Thad Jones. We refer to Ray Wright’s “Inside the Score” and Don Sebesky’s “The Contemporary Arranger,” and talk about strategies that might make your writing clearer, more transparent, expressive and powerful, and get us away from the screen and on to the score paper, away from the keyboard and back into your “inner” ear.
About Scott Healy
Composer Scott Healy leads the The Ellington Study Group in Los Angeles, a hands-on study of scores and recordings of large ensemble jazz music as well as music theory and orchestration techniques. The material is advanced, and is geared toward professional classical and jazz composers, film composers, arrangers, and instrumentalists who want to increase their understanding and appreciation of large ensemble jazz writing. The discussion ranges from the minutia of voicing and harmony, to broader topics like form, pacing, transparent orchestration, compositional intent, and improvisation. Previous classes have included works by Duke Ellington from the 1930’s, Ellington/Strayhorn from the 1950’s, and works by jazz composers, arrangers, and band leaders Gil Evans and Miles Davis, Bennie Moten, Fletcher Henderson, Sammy Nestico, Thad Jones, and Sun Ra. Visit Scott’s website: bluedogmusic.com