For 17-piece Jazz Band
by David P. Miller
In May of 2016, I was watching the closing credits of a TV show set in New Orleans. During these credits, I heard a jazz lick on a tenor sax, just a minor chord arpeggio, but those four notes stuck in my head and wouldn’t let go. Over the next two months, the concept grew and grew, until it grew into this finished piece for jazz band.
It sounds a little bit like something out of the 20’s, music for dancers called “Flappers,” and it sounds vaguely reminiscent of the Star Wars Cantina Song, and it sounds a bit like Halloween, so I settled on calling it “Midnight Flapper,” simply because I couldn’t think of anything better.
Not only has this tune been stuck in my head for a month, but most of the people who I’ve asked to listen to it have reported it got stuck in their heads, too! I guess that means it’s at least a memorable melody.
We have rated the difficulty of this tune as a Grade III, but if anything, it’s a Grade III+ because the lead trumpet goes up to high D, and there’s a moderately challenging tenor sax solo. Also, there are truly blatant “scoops” for all the winds, several spots where the players need to slide smoothly from one note to the next. While this is easy-peasy for trombones, it will take some work for trumpets and saxes to master the technique. But don’t omit it – these scoops are essential to the tune. You’ll hear why in the audio demo.
Here is a computer rendering of the Finale Score. As soon as we get a live band to record it for us, we will replace this with that recording.
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