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Spring NewsBoth the Columbia Jazz Band and the Columbia Concert Band are gearing up for a tandem concert at River Hill, as well as other performances later this year.
|by Len Morse (Percussion)||
Blog: My favorite musical pieces
Music is my religion. Whether I'm listening to it or performing it, my favorite pieces provoke strong emotions and fill my soul more often and more completely than any other activity. Recorded or live, slow or fast, with others or alone: The right chords, rhythms, and (sometimes) words can transcend this crude matter called a body. Music heightens the brain's senses and elevates the heart's passion to a place that, for some, just can't be reached via visual art or prose alone. I believe that for most musicians, to some degree, this is true.
The visions, emotions, and thoughts that materialize in your head can be born not only from the music you hear, but also from the scenes, lyrics, or characters that are tied to that music. This is especially true for movie soundtracks, and these emotions can stick with you for your entire life, sometimes even becoming part of your general philosophy.
The following list features ten great pieces (from oldest to newest), each including the title, composer, composition year, musical style, a one-word description, and a few thoughts from yours truly. Keeping this list to just ten was quite a challenge, but I now give you a peek into this music lover's head and heart:
o "The Rejoicing", George Frideric Handel, 1749, Baroque - CELEBRATION: This fourth movement from "Music For the Royal Fireworks" is a light and breezy tune. It is popular in wedding ceremonies, not only because of the title, but because the constantly running phrases give the piece a traditional buoyancy and happiness that usually accompanies revelry and dancing.
o First Movement of Piano Sonata No. 14 ("Moonlight Sonata"), Ludwig Van Beethoven, 1801, Classical - BEAUTY: Beethoven dedicated this piece to one of his female students, a countess. The repeated notes lead into a calm, slightly haunting piano melody that can easily cause deep thought or reflection in the listener. It can certainly help you relax after a tough work day.
o "The Stars & Stripes Forever", John Philip Sousa, 1896, March - PATRIOTISM: Never mind that this piece was written by America's "March King," or that it has been American's National March since 1987. Please focus, instead, on the stirring melody that everyone knows, the enticing urge to clap along, and the ensuing joy and pride in our country (despite it's drawbacks).
o "Sing Sing Sing", Louie Prima (arr. Benny Goodman), 1936, Swing Jazz - CRAZINESS: The speedy Goodman arrangement of this well known tune is immediately recognized all over the world and is a necessary part of any swing band library. Its crazy-go-nuts personality is evident from start to finish with a hot drum solo and syncopated, fiery lines for the instrumentalists.
o "Fanfare for the Common Man", Aaron Copland, 1943, Patriotic - MAJESTY: Originally written for WWII armed forces, this is a beautiful brass fanfare with accompanying percussion booms and crashes that conveys an undeniable brilliance. Hearing this piece always fills my head with visions of ragged mountain peaks, or wide-open plains beneath clear blue skies.
o "The Pink Panther", Henry Mancini, 1963, Contemporary Jazz - ELEGANCE: Maybe it was all those reruns of the animated Pink Panther cartoon during my 1970s childhood. The thin feline always handled situations with composure and extreme coolness, and Mancini's music portrays that perfectly. This is a great example of how a tune can be memorable without lyrics.
o "Good Vibrations", Brian Wilson & Mike Love, 1966, Classic Rock - CONTENTMENT: This song is considered by many to be The Beach Boys' all-time greatest hit, and I won't argue that. It provides me with an inner-warmth that stems from the perfect harmonies and beach atmosphere. The relaxed groove and simple "boy-meets-girl" message is, in a word, satisfying.
o "You're Only Human (Second Wind)", Billy Joel, 1985, Rock'n'Roll - HOPE: Billy wrote this piece expressly to prevent teenage suicide, but for me it meant something a little less intense. Throughout my teens and early 20s, I was still coming to terms with my own personality and my social life. This tune was a source of hope that got me through some rough patches.
o Theme from "Back to the Future", Alan Silvestri, 1985, Soundtrack - EXCITEMENT: I will forever associate this theme with the movie, as most fans will, but I also see it as a great portrayal of pure exhilaration. It musically illustrates the power, thrill, danger, and adventurous uncertainty of time travel in a gull-winged DeLorean. Watch out for those pine trees, Marty.
o "Gimme Gimme", Jeanine Tesori, 2002, Early Jazz - LOVE: From the musical "Thoroughly Modern Millie," this tune starts slowly and accelerates to a snappy 1920s jazz finish, yet the singer always retains her passion. She no longer wants to marry for money, but for a naturally deep, fulfilling, and barely quenchable love - something for which most of us strive.
The importance of music varies from person to person, but as a society, it has become the soundtrack for our lives. It helps us celebrate, grieve, honor, relax, think, and laugh, among other things. Embrace your favorite music; let it enhance your life journey and celebrate your achievements.
|by Pete Barenbregge (Jazz Band Director)||
Playing jazz duets = productive practice time
For wind players, playing demanding jazz duets can help solve many of your (jazz) technical concerns!
For me, playing duets is the quickest and most productive way to practice. Playing challenging duets not only demands your highest level of mental focus, but requires you to seriously dig in on articulation, intonation, technique, time and tone -- the more challenging, the better. Plus, when playing with another player, you will strive to do your best.
Regarding articulation, playing duets is the ideal opportunity to practice jazz articulation. Jazz articulation should be focused on a "d" tongue, not "t." In jazz phrasing, the softer "d" attack is more appropriate, smoother and will fit the style, whereas the "t" attack will sound too harsh. For example, a series of legato-tongued eighth notes should be "doo, doo, doo, doo," not "tah, tah, tah, tah," and so on.
Another articulation that is somewhat specific to jazz playing is the marcato or rooftop accent (^). In jazz, this accent is detached and accented -- think "daht." Yes, the tongue does stop the note, which is what makes it detached and somewhat unique to jazz articulation. This accent is usually most effective when played on a quarter note, but sometimes it will occur on an eighth note. The rooftop accent is very common in jazz phrasing/articulation, yet is most often played incorrectly and/or inconsistently.
Also, another typical jazz phrasing concept is when playing a group of two or more eighth notes; the last eighth note is played short. Not clipped, but short, and never rushed. Speaking of short notes, even staccatos are not as short in jazz playing as in legit or classical playing. Yes, they are shorter than the rooftop accent to be sure, but never clipped.
When playing eighth notes in a swing style, do not overdo the swing concept -- it will sound corny and stilted. Regarding the swing feel, the faster the tempo, the less "swing" feel is needed, and conversely, the slower the tempo, the swing feel becomes more critical. Always think of an eighth-note triplet with the first two notes tied together for a swing feel, not dotted eighth-sixteenths. In general, jazz phrasing is legato unless otherwise marked.
Hopefully, these are musical technical issues you strive to improve. Whether you play with a live duet partner or play along with a CD, either way you will be motivated to play at your highest level.
So, my personal recommendation: Play duets -- they're fun and productive!
Quarterly Word: "Blue Note" - A slight drop of pitch on the third, fifth or seventh tone of the scale, common in blues and jazz.
Quarterly Quote: "Men profess to be lovers of music, but for the most part they give no evidence in their opinions and lives that they have heard it." ~ Henry David Thoreau
President - Woody Wingfield
Vice President - Len Morse
Secretary - Michael Pack
Treasurer - Aileen Borders
Appointees and VolunteersHistorian - Melinda Frisch
Publicity Chair - Jim Kaiser
Fundraising Chair - Woody Wingfield
Equipment Manager - Len Morse
Grant Writer, CCB Program Editor - Jeanette Donald
Facebook Fan Page Moderator - Carolyn Hipkins
Accountant - David Weisenfreund, CPA
Librarian - Marilyn Kelsey
Curator - Jeanette Donald (Acting)
Uniform Manager - Bill DeVuono
HCAC Liason - Tanya Hoegh-Allan
Insurance Liason - Jenn Ambrosiano
CCB-CJB Liason - Maurice Feldman
CJB Tour Manager - Randy Malm
CB/CCB Webmaster - Len Morse
CJB Webmaster - Matt Williams
Graphic Artist - Corey Holland
Members-at-Large - Jenn Ambrosiano, Maurice Feldman, Jim Kaiser, Meghna Lipcon, Kathleen Shoemaker, Jim Wesloh, and John Zontek