Author Archives: Ellington Study Group

2/1/2019 – Quantum Harmony, Early Jazz – Special Guest Joshua Moshier

Our next class on February 1st will be jam-packed with a detailed of some of the basic harmony of jazz music. I’ll start with a deep dive into early jazz harmony, focusing on how improvising players manipulated and exploited the “classical” chromaticism of popular music and the evolved late 19th century European tradition. I’ll talk about interpreting diminished passing chords, secondary dominants, other chromaticism, and some of the ways the complex jazz harmonic tradition evolved from three and four-voice harmony and voice leading. I want to take a look at the classic Ellington piece “East St. Louis Toodle-oo,” and if we have time we’ll get into the more modern polyphonic music of artists like Steve Lacy, the “Downtown” NYC sound, and some music from the 21st century “Trad” jazz movement.

After a short schmooze break I’ll bring up our special guest Joshua Moshier. Joshua is a magnificent jazz pianist and composer, and has become an established presence as composer for film and TV. He’ll discuss his career, his jazz background, how he combines improvisation with composed material, and the process of recording and editing scores which feature improvised music.

Link to purchase tickets on Eventbrite

About Joshua Moshier:

Joshua’s live-action work includes scoring the FX series Baskets, starring Zach Galifianakis, the Emmy-nominated Netflix series Special from Jim Parsons’ That’s Wonderful Productions, the Netflix film Happy Anniversary from writer/director Jared Stern, and the main title music for the Emmy-nominated IFC series Documentary Now! starring Fred Armisen and Bill Hader.
In animation, Joshua’s work includes the upcoming HBO Max series Looney Tunes Cartoons, the Netflix series Dragons: Rescue Riders from DreamWorks, and the viral animated hit Sidewalk, directed by Celia Bullwinkel.
Joshua studied music at Northwestern University. Throughout and after college, he delved deeply into the Chicago jazz scene, performing as a pianist with Marquis Hill, Chris Madsen, Milton Suggs, John Moulder and many others. In his own group co-led with Mike Lebrun, he released Joy Not Jaded and The Local Colorists, as well as his Chamber Music America commissioned work Touch and Go: The Studs Terkel Project.
Joshua is an alumnus of the Sundance Institute Film Music Program (Narrative Feature) and the BMI Conducting Workshop.

Class Materials 9/21/19

VALT 4 - Dragnet
Valt 6 -Dragon

Sketch
Linear Movement 1
Sweet Smell of Success Analysis

 

 

9/21/2019 More Noir, Linear Harmony and Jeff Beal

On Saturday, Sept. 21st the Academy of Scoring Arts will host the latest installment of my Ellington Study Group.  I am excited to have as a guest speaker Jeff Beal (House of Cards, Monk, Blackfish, The Queen of Versailles). This jazz-oriented discussion will continue our exploration about scoring techniques in film noir. Jeff is an exceptionally creative and prolific composer and has a wealth of wisdom to share. Don’t miss this unforgettable meeting with a modern legend in film and television scoring.

I’ll start by give a talk about harmony: linear, chromatic, and non-functional harmony are all parts of the jazz and film composer’s “noir” toolkit, with roots in late 19th and early 20th century classical music. In the 40’s and 50’s. jazz and film composers and performers drew heavily on this tradition. We’ll start with Billy Strayhorn’s arrangement of Duke Ellington’s “Blue Serge” from 1947, then I’ll give a quick overview of some concepts of linear/chromatic harmony from a jazz and modern music composer’s perspective. Then we’ll then look at a few more cues from Elmer Bernstein’s 1957 score for “Sweet Smell of Success” as well as a some excerpts of a recent scoring project of  my own.

Jeff Beal will talk about his jazz influences, his trumpet background, and noir chromatic harmony in his highly lauded score for “House of Cards”, and about his upcoming commission from the LA Master Chorale.

Class Materials 3/23/2019

Sweet Smell of Success Analysis

Sweet Smell of Success Analysis

3/23/2019 The Dark Side: Music of Late 1950’s Film Noir and Marcelo Zarvos from “Ray Donovan”

Saturday, March 23rd 2019
Vitello’s E-Spot Lounge – 10:00 am to 1:00 pm

The Dark Side: The Music of Late 1950’s Film Noir, with Special Guest Marcelo Zarvos (HBO’s “Ray Donovan”)

Scott Healy brings the next installment of his Ellington Study group, starting off with a look at a few of the great jazz film scores from the film noir period: Duke Ellington’s score from “Anatomy of a Murder,” Elmer Bernstein’s “Sweet Smell of Success,” and Henry Mancini’s “Touch of Evil”. The late 1959’s was a great time for jazz music and for Hollywood. These so-called “noir” films are full of high drama and cool vibes, and their scores inhabit and serve the picture, as well as stand on their own as inspired and superbly-crafted art.

We’ll spend some time analyzing and discussing the harmonic technique and orchestration/instrumentation choices as well as how the music serves the picture. Scott will also show session files from a recent animation project scored in the classic film noir orchestral style.

Then after a short break we’ll speak with our guest Marcelo Zarvos. Marcelo has had a long and prolific career scoring for film and television, and is currently engaged scoring HBO’s “Ray Donovan.” The most recent season of this show was set in NYC and they really kicked the music up a notch; Marcelo’s score is edgy, organic, dark and dramatic…perhaps we could label the show a modern-day film noir? He will discuss the music for the series and his scoring process. Music editor Derek Somaru from “Ray Donovan” will also join in the discussion.

After the class we will have a buffet lunch served, and there will be more time for discussion and networking. So sharpen your digital pencils and get out your virtual score paper, put on your thinking caps and spend a morning getting dark and dirty with some great music.

We’ll spend some time analyzing and discussing the harmonic technique and orchestration/instrumentation choices in these classics, as well as how the music serves the picture.


About Marcelo Zarvos:

The subtle nuances of composer Marcelo Zarvos’ style are evidenced in his recent scores for FENCES directed by and starring Denzel Washington, Golden Globe-winning THE AFFAIR and RAY DONOVAN. Though his training began by studying classical music he later began delving into jazz, rock and world music. This expansion of influence helped to create Zarvos’ trademark sound – a seamless blend of classical, orchestral, rock, electronic and various ethnic elements, that together create uniquely affecting and emotionally charged music for film, TV, modern dance and the concert stage.

Zarvos most recently scored the acclaimed hit film WONDER starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay and directed by Stephen Chbosky which opened in November 2017.

Because of his skill with layered stories and emotive undertones, Brazilian-born Zarvos has become the go-to composer for filmmakers like Nicole Holofcener (ENOUGH SAID, PLEASE GIVE, the recent Amazon series ONE MISSISSIPPI), Antoine Fuqua (BROOKLYN’S FINEST), Tod Williams (THE DOOR IN THE FLOOR, CELL), Ross Katz (ADULT BEGINNERS, THE CHOICE), Cary Fukunaga (SIN NOMBRE) and Barry Levinson (THE HUMBLING, YOU DON’T KNOW JACK, ROCK THE KASBAH).

A classically trained pianist and composer, Zarvos earned his BFA from Cal Arts. He burst onto the film landscape in the early 2000s with his score for KISSING JESSICA STEIN and with the film adaptation of the John Irving novel, THE DOOR IN THE FLOOR. Zarvos’ credits include THE GOOD SHEPHERD, THE WORDS, BROOKLYN’S FINEST, THE FACE OF LOVE, REACHING FOR THE MOON (FLORES RARAS), SIN NOMBRE, HOLLYWOODLAND, ADULT BEGINNERS, THE HUMBLING, LITTLE ACCIDENTS, AMERICAN ULTRA and ENOUGH SAID.

Twice nominated for Primetime Emmy® Awards (for YOU DON’T KNOW JACK and TAKING CHANCE), Zarvos’ television work includes TOO BIG TO FAIL, THE BIG C, EXTANT the HBO movie PHIL SPECTOR, the Amazon series ONE MISSISSIPPI and Z: THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING and two current Showtime series THE AFFAIR and RAY DONOVAN.

Zarvos’ recent projects include THE LAND OF STEADY HABITS written and directed by Nicole Holofcener, THE CHOICE (based on the Nicholas Sparks novel), MAPPLETHORPE starring Matt Smith and directed by Ondi Timoner, THE CHAPERONE starring Elizabeth McGovern directed by Michael Engler and adapted by Julian Fellowes and scheduled for release in Spring 2019 BREAKTHROUGH starring Chrissy Metz and directed by Roxann Dawson opening in April 2019 , THE BEST OF ENEMIES starring Sam Rockwell and Taraji P. Henson directed by Robin Bissell opening in April 2019 and Antoine Fuqua’s upcoming Muhammad Ali documentary for HBO.

Class Materials 12/8/2018

World is Waiting – 3 Exs

Black Bottom Stomp Corrected Score

Black Bottom Stomp Harmony 1

Black Bottom Stomp TRANS 1 – Part 2

Principles of Linear Harmony