Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 17 of 17
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    My compositional experience has been classically oriented, where the composer writes note for note, includes dynamics, tempo, etc. While the performers have some latitude in how they play a piece, the arrangements stem from the composer. When writing jazz tunes, the composition seems to be focused on the melody and chord progression, but the arrangement is done by the performer(s). The performers are really co-composers given the way they construct the specific harmonies, transitions, improvised phrases, etc. I am learning to write jazz, but struggle with the appropriate balance of direction versus just guidance. I also feel myself taking the easy way out in assuming to the performer will make it good, rather than ensuring it as the composer (not that I could really do that, but you hopefully see the point).

    Anyway, just a few random thoughts after a night of trying to write.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Check out Wayne Shorter and Bill Evans' compositions!

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    You can certainly compose/arrange in jazz just as you do in classical; as you said, even in classical the performer has the last say in the matter, so there's really not much of a difference, IMO. I think a lot of people in jazz equate "arrangement" with "big band," but I've heard plenty of combos play very specific arrangements, and I think it sounds very cool.

    One of my favorite young, modern composers is Gian Tornatore, a NYC tenor player (who usually has a guitar in the group!), and his compositions are very "arranged," so to speak. Gian Tornatore | Musician, Composer and Arranger

    Now you have to share your charts with us!

    Marc

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy
    You can certainly compose/arrange in jazz just as you do in classical; as you said, even in classical the performer has the last say in the matter, so there's really not much of a difference, IMO. I think a lot of people in jazz equate "arrangement" with "big band," but I've heard plenty of combos play very specific arrangements, and I think it sounds very cool.

    One of my favorite young, modern composers is Gian Tornatore, a NYC tenor player (who usually has a guitar in the group!), and his compositions are very "arranged," so to speak. Gian Tornatore | Musician, Composer and Arranger

    Now you have to share your charts with us!

    Marc
    What are the odds! I am a good friend of Gian's and play with him every week. I can testify that he is a great composer as well as improviser. I think his writing and playing style has changed a bit compared to his earlier stuff.
    Here is a clip form a gig I did with his group, the composition "Sphere" is written by Gian.


    Here is from another gig-also Gian's composition a nice 3/4 tune.

    Here is another

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    When I listen to most of the Pat Metheny Group recordings, I am hearing music that is very arranged.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    classical composers didn't always dictate exactly how they wanted their compositions played. they grew more and more horrified with the flamboyant flourishes that some performers were adding and decided to take matters into their own hands!

    when it comes to jazz composition, however, i'd think that if you give musicians a strong melody around fun or challenging chord changes, they should be able to handle the rest.
    Last edited by patskywriter; 12-06-2011 at 05:49 PM.

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    Try to put as much detail as you need in order to realize your vision. Having said that, don't be suprised if somebody says, "Hey I like this tune, but let's do it in 7/8 with a latin feel, and add another ii V before the bridge."

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Soco
    What are the odds! I am a good friend of Gian's and play with him every week. I can testify that he is a great composer as well as improviser. I think his writing and playing style has changed a bit compared to his earlier stuff.
    Here is a clip form a gig I did with his group, the composition "Sphere" is written by Gian.
    Here is from another gig-also Gian's composition a nice 3/4 tune.
    Jostein,
    Wow, great unintentional setup! ;^)

    Great vids with you and Gian -- nice playing; thanks for posting those! It's about time for him to come out with another release ...

    Ciao,
    Marc

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy
    Jostein,
    Wow, great unintentional setup! ;^)

    Great vids with you and Gian -- nice playing; thanks for posting those! It's about time for him to come out with another release ...

    Ciao,
    Marc
    Thanks! How do you know Gian?

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Soco
    Thanks! How do you know Gian?
    Well, I'm a fan of Nate Radley, and one leads to the other...
    (I just bought your new album on CDBaby -- can't wait to listen!)

    Marc
    Last edited by marcwhy; 12-06-2011 at 01:50 AM.

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy
    Well, I'm a fan of Nate Radley, and one leads to the other...
    (I just bought your new album on CDBaby -- can't wait to listen!)

    Marc
    Cool, thanks so much! I really appreciate it.
    I am going to play with Gian on Friday, so I will give him your regards.

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Based on what I've read in biographies and interviews, there is a lot more pre arranged things in jazz than people realize, and a lot less improvisation than people assume. The notion that jazz composing is just a melody and chords is fine for informal jams, or small groups like duos and trios, but if you get 5 or 6 people together there is gonna be some chaos if there is not a specific arrangement written out. ( Kurt Rosenwinkel had a somewhat recent rant that was related to this)

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    I prefer having tunes that are less arranged and can go in several different directions. When I play with my band members a song never comes out the same way. Lot's of composing on the spot. Sometimes the results are better than other times, but when it really is happening it can be great. It is an organic approach.
    This whole movement of super-complex jazz with strict arrangement often sounds a bit mechanical to me especially when the players rely on licks patterns and arpeggios that they just run up and down the neck.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Hi!

    Interesting discussion...

    About the OP:

    When writing jazz tunes, the composition seems to be focused on the melody and chord progression, but the arrangement is done by the performer(s).
    I think that one should not make the mistake to think that Realbook-Sheets are the actual composition. What you write makes me suspect that you are confusing this...

    The commonly known leadsheets of tunes are transcriptions that provide only the most basic information of a tune. That not more information is provided does not necessarily mean that there was not more information in the actual composition.

    And then again, even if there is "more information" (which supposedly there is in the most cases), it is not said that this information (like dynamics, instrumentation, breaks, impro-parts or even comping patterns, bass lines, etc...) is written down by the composer and not just explained verbally to the fellow musicians.

    This is one of the fundamental differences between jazz and classical music and I can see how this can be very confusing or even frustrating for someone who is used to the way the classical cats do it

    Cheers,
    H.

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Soco
    Cool, thanks so much! I really appreciate it.
    I am going to play with Gian on Friday, so I will give him your regards.
    Have fun at the gig!
    [I'm out West; I had purchased all of Gian's CDs and charts a few years ago, and my group has been attempting them since!]

    Marc

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy
    Have fun at the gig!
    [I'm out West; I had purchased all of Gian's CDs and charts a few years ago, and my group has been attempting them since!]

    Marc
    That's very cool, Gian is a great guy and a great musician and composer, I am really enjoying working with him.
    I would love to check out your group!

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Remember jazz is about improvisation. The composer (who wrote the tune or piece) is still the composer, and the arranger (if there is one) is the arranger. But different from, say, classical music, the performer adds something of their own to the piece through improvising. And a jazz listener is looking for that something the performer adds, maybe differently each time.