SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20TH 2018 – 10am – 12:30pm
Saturday the 20th is going to be a jam-packed class. I want to spend an hour talking about how to voice a big band horn session in to get that that classic, dynamic, crisp and swinging ensemble sound. We’ll talk about creating full ensemble “shout” tutti horn voicings, layering, voice doubling, instrument and section ranges, cross-doubling, and inner unisons. We’ll analyze examples from Duke Ellington and Thad Jones, and I’ll do a detailed analysis of a new chart of mine from Bernie’s record.
After a short break, I’ll being up band leader and drummer extraordinaire Bernie Dresel. The 16-piece BBB Featuring Bernie Dresel has just released their second record, Bern Bern Bern – seventy-two minutes of high-octane big band music featuring music by an LA’s finest composers and arrangers. Bernie will be discussing big band drum chart writing techniques, as well as his newer forward thinking recording production ideas applied to the big band.
So lock and load people, let’s get to it!
About Bernie Dresel:
Bernie Dresel has been one of the busiest studio and live musicians in the world as both a drummer and percussionist since moving to Los Angeles in 1983 after graduating from the prestigious Eastman School of Music. On film and tv you’ve heard Bernie most recently on Incredibles 2, Zootopia, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Family Guy, and The Simpsons. He has traveled the world, occupying the coveted drum chair for Grammy Award-winning Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band since its inception in 1999 until 2015. And also, for an overlapping 15 years (1992 to 2006), he was the drummer for the multi-Grammy Award-winning Brian Setzer Orchestra, selling close to 4 million records. Modern Drummer magazine’s readers’ poll named Bernie “Best Big Band Drummer” and Drum! Magazine has put him on their list of “53 Drummers Who Made a Difference in the ’90s” as well as honoring him with a Drummie® for Best Big Band Drummer.
And now Bernie has had his own big band for 4 years called The BBB Featuring Bernie Dresel, which is without question one of the world’s most exciting, most innovative and original hard-swinging large jazz ensembles ever. Their just released 2nd album, Bern Bern Bern (available now on CD and Pure Audio Blu-Ray), provides potent testimony to the sheer exhilaration of big band jazz….a combination of intense swing, fiery soloing, exciting arrangements, and tight ensemble playing that is showcased within a unique production palette, all the time being powered by Bernie Dresel’s extraordinary drumming talents. Bernie will be discussing big band drum chart writing techniques, as well as his newer forward thinking recording production ideas applied to the big band.
More information about Bernie, the album Bern Bern Bern, and this great big band can be found at www.TheBBBFeaturingBernieDresel.com
On Saturday, June 30th at 10am we’ll start delving into Miles Davis’ revolutionary “Birth of the Cool”. This influential and enduring work has it all: inspired arranging, cool vibe, great playing – a multi-session group effort featuring compositions and arrangements by Gil Evans, Gerry Mulligan, Miles, John Carisi and John Lewis. This nonet project from the late 1940’s and early 50’s is the culmination of hours of hanging out and experimenting, and is a great example of intricate, intimate and soulful small ensemble writing. We will study “Jeru” by Gerry Mulligan using scores and parts.
Then after a short break I’ll bring up my good friend and NYC homeboy drummer, composer and band-leader Paul Peress. Paul comes from an exceptionally musical family, his late father Maurice was a well-known conductor, composer, educator, and friend of Duke Ellington. Paul will discuss his own meeting Duke Ellington on several occasions, and his work with his father Ellington’s “Black Brown and Beige” with his father. He’ll also touch on work we did together in NY, where I arranged some of Paul’s music, and various music concepts important to him as a drummer/composer. For summer reading, check out how Maurice traces the roots of the intersection of jazz and classical music from the mid 19th century on, and recounts much of his multi-faceted career in his book “Dvorak to Duke Ellington”. Highly recommended.
Free coffee and lots of hang time, done by 12:30. See you there!
About Paul Peress:
“A MUST SEE ARTIST AND MASTER DRUMMER” – The Los Angeles Times
Paul Peress is a Grammy nominated drummer, bandleader, producer, and songwriter, newly based out of Los Angeles. He has worked as music director/drummer with Chaka Khan, Brenda Russell, Moby, The B-52’s, Mary Wilson, Deniece Williams, Regina Belle, Tom Scott, Bobby Kimball, Stephen Bishop, Jeff Golub… His band, The Paul Peress Project, has performed in over 20 countries, including appearances at The Heineken Jazz Festival, Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, South Africa’s Joy of Jazz Festival, BET’s Jazz St. Lucia…
Class Materials 5/5/18
“A LOVE SUPREME” sketch (is this authentic?):
Ellington’s auspicious Carnegie Hall debut in 1943 gave us the masterpiece “Black, Brown and Beige”, arguably the first long form, extended “legit” concert jazz work. Contemporary critics and aficionados were skeptical that Duke, or anyone for that matter, could pull off such a feat. Seriously, given that jazz is an improvised art form, how it be “composed” enough for the deadly serious concert stage? How can an a jazz artist sustain interest and craft a meaningful jazz work longer than the a few sides of a 78 rpm record? In the last class we spent some time on the first movement, of “Black, Brown and Beige” using a few contrasting recordings. We’ll continue on from where we left off.
A few decades later with Miles’ “Bitches Brew”, the line between written and improvised sound had grown opaque and the process multi-dimensional. Plus there remained no doubt that even the freest sounding jazz can be composed and legit. Concepts like exploiting musicians’ individuality, evolved common practice techniques, free improvisation, electronics, rock and R n B influences, and modern production all coalesced for Miles and the “Bitches Brew” band. Last month we took a hard look at “Pharaoh’s Dance”, I want to continue on and look at the rest of the record. Also I’ve been waiting to introduce Sun Ra to the group, maybe now’s the time? We also might check out a bit of Trane’s “A Love Supreme”.
After a short break I’ll introduce our guest speaker, five-time Grammy Award winner Mervyn Warren, a highly accomplished film and television composer, record producer, arranger, songwriter, lyricist, pianist, and vocalist. Mervyn is equally adept at many styles, his work spans the genres from film score, pop, R&B, jazz, orchestral, classical, vocal, country, and more. His filmography includes The Wedding Planner, A Walk To Remember, The Preacher’s Wife, and A Raisin In The Sun. His artist roster includes Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Queen Latifah, Boyz II Men, Barbra Streisand, Dolly Parton, Rascal Flatts, Chicago, Michael Bublé, Al Jarreau, & many more.
Mervyn will be joining us to shine the light on the recently completed project by legendary jazz vocal group The Manhattan Transfer. It’s been almost a decade since their last studio album (2009’s The Chick Corea Songbook), and their new 2018 album, The Junction, sets the group on a new course with hybrid elements of jazz, swing, hip hop, and more. We’ll be playing tracks from the new album and talking to Mervyn about his arranging, the recording process, and more.