Thesis

Jazz arrangements for a nine-piece ensemble

It can be a challenge for an aspiring jazz arranger to hear his/her big band arrangements. Scheduling a big band rehearsal is difficult, many musicians expect payment, and engagements are rare. In addition, writing for four trumpets, four trombones, five saxophones, and rhythm section is beyond the skill level of many beginning arrangers. A more realistic option is the nonet (nine-piece) ensemble consisting of two trumpets, trombone, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones, piano, upright bass, and drums. This provides a practical opportunity to write for all the instruments found in a big band. The range and tessitura of each instrument, the transpositions, articulations, mutes, blend, balance, and rhythm section styles can be studied with far less difficulty. The author plans to write and perform several arrangements for a jazz nonet. The arrangements will span varying styles and feature an assortment of arranging techniques.

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