Close To You

Close To You | Burt Bacharach | Brass Ensemble

Written for Tredegar Town Band for their 2014 Brass In Concert program, this arrangement used the mellow tones of 6 flugelhorns with 6 trombones along with tuned percussion. It aims to capture the essence of an amazing performance of the tune by Burt Bacharach and Barbara Streisand on a Emmy award winning TV special entitled “Singer Presents Burt Bacharach

Ian Porthouse, MD for Tredegar, provided the idea for the arrangement, including a transition into their next piece With A Little Help From My Friends. This version is the one with a complete ending, as played by the band at a pre-contest performance. The arrangement calls for a talented Vibraphone player, along with a solid Bass Trombonist and a soloistic 1st Flugel. The latin vibed ending can use more percussion if you wish, although a light feel is preferred.

For those bands that don’t have access to 6 flugelhorns and 6 trombones, I’ve also reorchestrated it for the more standard 10 piece Brass Ensemble. There are small differences between the two versions, with 2 less instruments but the structure stays the same. The Vibraphone part is also cued in the brass, to make this version playable in all situations.

Close To You

Unfortunately, the arrangement didn’t make it onto the Brass In Concert DVD that year, so I only have a low quality recording of it. If your band buys this piece, I’d love to hear how your version sounds! Connect with me on Facebook or Twitter to let me know.

Here’s a score video so you can listen and follow along.

Six Songs from "A Shropshire Lad"

Six Songs from “A Shropshire Lad” | George Butterworth | Baritone and Wind Ensemble

Six Songs from “A Shropshire Lad” | George Butterworth | Baritone voice and Chamber Wind Ensemble

The very lovely setting of A.E. Housman‘s poems by George Butterworth, reorchestrated for Chamber Wind Ensemble, was commissioned by the Maidstone Wind Symphony for their recent Concert of Remembrance entitled “A Time For Peace“.

Composed in 1911 for baritone voice and piano, this collection of short pieces utilises poems from A.E. Housman’s “A Shropshire Lad” published in 1896. The words have been woven into a delicate and moving composition, with the emotions contained in the text expertly drawn out through use of dynamics and phrasing.

The delicate nature of the original pieces has been kept, with the voices of the wind orchestra giving a new timbral twist to the music. The reality of growing up in wartime is prevalent in the theme of the music and is captured well by Butterworth’s original. There has been a few orchestral settings of these songs, but this arrangement is to be the first for wind band.

Premiered by Martin Hindmarsh and a selection of the Maidstone Wind Symphony players, the performance was delicate and true to the original essence of the piano accompaniment. You can listen to a recording of their performance (whilst admittedly a poor quality) on the score video below.

For Once In My Life

For Once In My Life | Tenor Solo with Piano

For Once In My Life | Tenor Solo with Piano

THE ARRANGEMENT

A few years ago, good friends of mine were getting married and asked if I could arrange this song for their ceremony, to be sung by a tenor with piano accompaniment. I wanted to write a completely new take on this classic song, so decided to set it as a ballad, rather than the popular Stevie Wonder version which is uptempo. I also had a very good pianist and tenor soloist, so consequently, the difficulty of the arrangement is at an advanced intermediate level, with the tenor going up to a Bb and the piano part containing a lot of black notes! I was really happy with how it turned out, but unfortunately couldn’t fly to Australia just for the wedding and they didn’t record it. So now it’s available to purchase, in the hope that someone would enjoy singing it and maybe even send me a recording!

THE SONG

Written for the Motown label, it first was recorded by Barbara McNair, followed by a host of others in a ballad style, until Stevie Wonder pumped up the tempo and reached #2 on the U.S. Billboard charts. It eventually was the title track for his album of the same name, and features the amazing Funk Brothers, most notably James Jamerson for his incredible bass playing on this track, known to be one of the greatest example of his style. Stevie Wonder also provided the harmonica solo on the track.

THE VIDEO

Check out this amazing live version of the song by Stevie Wonder at the 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame concert in 2009. It doesn’t get any better than this!

PRINTING TIPS

Beautifully laid out, the score and parts are easy to read and available NOW for digital download at www.sheetmusicplus.com, thanks to the Arrange Me program at SMP Press. We suggest you print on 80gsm paper, to ensure that the copies last longer in your library. For more printing tips, visit here

Easy Pop Combo

Easy | The Commodores | Pop Combo

Easy | The Commodores | Pop Combo

THE SONG

Written by Lionel Richie, Easy is a classic power ballad that features a ripping guitar solo and reached #1 on the US RnB charts. The lyrics are a typical breakup song, with “easy like a Sunday morning” being the main hook referring to not being depressed about the breakup, but instead free to live his life without “chains”.

THE CHART

Arranged for Pop Combo, with three horns (Trumpet, Tenor Sax & Trombone) and backing vocals, this is a faithful recreation of the original Commodores hit. The groove is piano driven, and contains many hits, which the drummer can complement with fills. The shuffle style, with swung 16th’s, should be relaxed and tight.

THE VIDEO

Check out the classic music video from The Commodores. I just love the outfits and afros!

THE COVER

Many people will know this song from the Faith No More cover, released in 1992/93 with separate European and US versions. There is not much difference in structure between the two, although the cover version is heavier in style and tone. Because of this, you can feasibly use this arrangement to play the Faith No More version, with a few alterations.

PRINTING TIPS

Beautifully laid out, the score and parts are easy to read and available NOW for digital download at www.sheetmusicplus.com, thanks to the Arrange Me program at SMP Press. We suggest you print on 80gsm paper, to ensure that the copies last longer in your bands library. For more printing tips, visit here

Can't Take My Eyes Pop Combo

Can’t Take My Eyes Off You | Frankie Valli | Pop Combo

Can’t Take My Eyes Off You | Frankie Valli | Pop Combo

THE SONG

From the catalogue of the hugely popular Frankie Valli, lead singer of The Four Seasons, this song has been covered by hundreds of artists over 4 decades, and featured in the hit Broadway and movie musical The Jersey Boys. With smooth vocals and a kicking horn section, this tune is a must have for any cover band.

THE CHART

Written to be easily performed by entertainers who work with house bands, this arrangement is true to the original track and can be played without horns if needed. With a fully notated vocal part, along with accurate transcriptions of all the melodies, you can be sure that what is written in the parts is exactly what you want to hear. The horn section is perfectly balanced, whilst keeping the original parts and easily readable. This arrangement also features an optional ending not heard on the original track, but often asked for by performers.

ENTERTAINERS

Having worked with many different bands over the years, I’m in tune with the needs a singer has to be able to recreate the original sounds when performing.  Many charts I have played myself lack the amount of detail needed to easily rehearse and perform a tune, often with disastrous consequences. My charts are road tested and you can be assured that a good band will enjoy playing the arrangement due to its ease of reading and well laid out parts. All the parts are idiomatic of their instruments, with certain idiosyncrasies taken into account for each musician.

PRINTING TIPS

Beautifully laid out, the score and parts are easy to read and available NOW for digital download at www.sheetmusicplus.com, thanks to the Arrange Me program at SMP Press. We suggest you print on 80gsm paper, to ensure that the copies last longer in your bands library. For more printing tips, visit here

Should I Stay Jazz Ens

Should I Stay Or Should I Go | The Clash | Jazz Ensemble

Should I Stay Or Should I Go | The Clash | Jazz Ensemble

THE CHART

Written specifically for Swing Punks, the amazing London big band who play punk tunes in a jazz style, this vocal arrangement has all the bells and whistles. Starting in a bluesy swing style, see if you can pick up all the quotes as you progress through the chart. When it kicks into double time, it’ll get your audiences toes tapping just enough for you to snap them back to a languid blues atmosphere. With an open solo section this chart comes alive, allowing for soloists to take the tune where they want to. Double time ensues after that, with a big ending to finish this cracking chart.

THE SONG

Released in 1981, Should I Stay became The Clash’s only UK number 1 single, albeit 10 years after in a reissued single. It made 228 in Rolling Stones Top 500 and features Spanish backing vocals, in a strange twist.

THE BAND

Swing Punks (www.swingpunks.com) are an exciting big band based in London, UK who take the best punk music and turn it into swinging big band music. Featuring 3 vocalists and a full complement of horns, their shows are full of energy and pizzazz. I’ve been lucky enough to play with them a few times since moving closer to London, and I always enjoy mixing it up with such great musicians.

PRINTING TIPS

Beautifully laid out, the score and parts are easy to read and available NOW for digital download at www.sheetmusicplus.com, thanks to the Arrange Me program at SMP Press. We suggest you print on 80gsm paper, to ensure that the copies last longer in your bands library. For more printing tips, visit here

Heavenly Father SATB

Heavenly Father | Bon Iver | Choir

Heavenly Father | Bon Iver | Choir

The Arrangement

Recently, I was asked to write an arrangement for choir of the fantastic track Heavenly Father by Bon Iver. The performance he gave at the Sydney Opera House in 2016 as part of Vivid Live, featuring The Staves, was so breathtaking that I immediately agreed to transcribe and arrange the song.

An earthy arrangement that features a soloist and some extra special choral effects, this tune is full of emotions and reaches an amazing climax that will wow your audience. Featured in the movie Wish I Was Here by acclaimed director Zach Braff and scored for SATB Choir and soloist.

The Purchase

The arrangement is available at Sheet Music Plus at the below link. If there’s one piece of music you purchase for choir this year, make it this one!

Live performance

The performance Bon Iver delivered at the Sydney Opera House really took this song to a new level, giving it such emotion and power that takes your breath away. Utilising subtle body percussion and some exquisite voices, this video is a must watch if you wish to recreate the song at the highest level.

Original recording

The original track that Bon Iver recorded on the Wish I Was Here soundtrack uses an electronic choir for the drone, but Justin Vernon’s earthy voice remains the same – such an emotive tone and inflections. The song was written immediately after Justin viewed the film, an immediate reaction to the visuals of director Zach Braff. The film premiered at Sundance Film Festival and received mixed reviews – but the soundtrack was critically acclaimed with songs from The Shins and Coldplay.

Printing tips

Beautifully laid out, the score and parts are easy to read and available NOW for digital download at www.sheetmusicplus.com, thanks to the Arrange Me program at SMP Press. We suggest you print on 80gsm paper, to ensure that the copies last longer in your choirs library. For more printing tips, visit here

Printing Tips for Music

Printing Tips for Music | Advice

Printing Tips for Music

With the new era of digital publishing comes various challenges for musicians. Paper size, paper weight and printer maintenance/setup are all areas that we must educate ourselves in to print music at a high standard.

For all of my arrangements and compositions, I create PDF’s in A4 (8.26″ by 11.69″) size. This is the household standard in Australia and the UK, the main markets in which I have worked. If you wish to print in Letter (8.5″ by 11″), you will have to set the printer to fit to page. This will make the music slightly smaller, but still readable.

I recommend that you print using 100GSM or heavier paper. The standard copy paper (80 GSM) is far too light to last longer than a few uses if it is not carefully handled. Heavier paper will also be harder to crease, and sometimes will fall off the stand if it is bent.

Lastly, my PDF’s are in B&W only. This saves your precious colour ink for more important photograph and poster printing.

This is me brass band arrangement

This Is Me | The Greatest Showman

THE SONG

When I saw The Greatest Showman at the cinemas, I knew it was a special movie that would pass the test of time due to its message and strong music. The Grammy award-winning song This Is Me speaks of self-acceptance and triumph under adversity, and also has a kick ass beat with stirring vocals. This makes it the perfect song to arrange for Brass Band!

THE PIECE

This arrangement features extended percussion techniques to capture the original orchestration on the original soundtrack and will be a sure fire hit in any program. Scored for full brass band at an intermediate level and available over at www.sheetmusicplus.com

AMAZING LIVE VIDEO

If you haven’t seen this live performance of This Is Me, check it out. It’s such a powerful video.

THE STORY

With music by the award winning Pasek and Paul, The Greatest Showman is a movie musical based on the life of P.T. Barnum. It is a story of overcoming adversity, rising above social classes and the establishment of an entertainment visionary. Brilliantly played by Keala Settle, the bearded lady gives us an emotional rendition of This Is Me, with lyrics such as “I won’t let them break me down to dust” and “I am who I’m meant to be”, speaking of the struggle to be accepted in society.

THE ARRANGEMENT

Featuring two solos by the flugelhorn, a cornet and trombone duet, extended percussion such as field drum and techniques for capturing the woosh sound in the original recording, this arrangement is a direct transcription of the track on the original soundtrack.

I’ve whipped up a sample so you can listen to my arrangement.

If you are after a simpler arrangement, I’ve scored a 10 piece Brass Ensemble version as well here:

This is me brass band arrangement

The Tupou College Brass Band also recorded my version!

THE LOOK

Beautifully laid out, the score and parts are easy to read and available NOW for digital download at www.sheetmusicplus.com, thanks to the Arrange Me program at SMP Press. We suggest you print on 80gsm paper, to ensure that the copies last longer in your bands library.

Happy Brass Band

Happy | Pharrell Williams | Brass Band

Happy | Pharrell Williams | Brass Band

I’m happy to tell you that I’ve arranged Happy by Pharrell Williams, a smash hit from the movie Despicable Me 2. This exciting arrangement is the perfect addition to any concert. Featuring a trombone solo, cornet solo and a challenging counter melody by the solo cornets and euphonium, your audiences will have their feet tapping and hands clapping along to this great tune.

Don’t just ask me how it is, ask Matthew White (Solo Euphonium, Virtuosi GUS) “It’s literally the best brass band arrangement of anything… ever!!!”

Graded as advanced intermediate, this arrangement can be played at an easier difficulty by leaving the counter melody out. It is available to buy now, for full Brass Band

and a 10 piece Brass Ensemble.

Happy Brass Ensemble

THE ORIGINAL

If you’ve never heard this song before, what rock have you been living under? With a catchy beat, funky tune and awesome break down section, Happy has brought the soul genre back and topped the charts around the world, whilst winning numerous awards. Initially written for Cee-Lo Green, and following on Pharrell’s success with the Daft Punk album Random Access Memories as guest artist, Happy is the eighth highest selling single of all-time in the UK and was Billboard’s number 1 single for 2014.

THE PIECE

My Brass Band pieces are mostly aimed at advanced bands who would like to entertain their audiences with a more true-to-original arrangement that is also enjoyable for the musicians. Often the arrangements that are published are inaccurate transcriptions that are written very quickly, to capitalise on the success of the original song. But with my arrangements, you can be certain that the feel and detail of the song you love is captured, and put down on paper for you to perform.

PRINTING 

Beautifully laid out, the score and parts are easy to read and available NOW for digital download at www.sheetmusicplus.com, thanks to the Arrange Me program at SMP Press. We suggest you print on 80gsm paper, to ensure that the copies last longer in your bands library.