Frank Wess' 88th Birthday Celebration Is Upon Us!

I'm happy to report that I completed two arrangements for hire for The Frank Wess Nonet. Both of these tunes are original ballads by Frank, one of which is entitled "Entre Nous" and the other, "If You Can't Call, Don't Come And If You Can't Come, Don't Call," in typical Frank humor, of course! Both are beautiful tunes and I'm honored to have had the opportunity to offer renditions through my filter in their support. Frequently, specifications for arrangements for hire are pretty open, and offer the arranger carte blanche to handle the task as he/she is so inclined. Nnenna Freelon asked me to make her sound "young and solvent" with my arrangement of "Don't Explain" for her (LOL-that means it's pretty open). Judi Silvano was simply interested in certain grooves and tempos in the interest of maintaining balance for her book. Frank, however, was pretty specific about what he wanted. For "Entre Nous" (translation, Between Us) he didn't want much and wanted me to maintain his chord changes as well as the form of a big band arrangement he'd written on the same tune, which features him on flute. Since it's hard for him to see, he didn't want to having to read anything new. He wanted to simply be able to play without reference to a part. On "If You Can't Call, Don't Come And If You Can't Come, Don't Call" he was even more specific: "Hardly anything at all. No intro. Nothin' until the bridge on the second time through...not much...maybe a counterline and a cadenza." That's pretty specific! What Frank doesn't know, and I'm not afraid to post it here, as I am quite certain he will not see this blog entry, is that I wrote a third arrangement as a birthday gift, which Evan Barker copied as part of the gift. The birthday arrangement is a harmonization for Frank's five horns of Charlie Parker's "Au Privave." I wrote an eight measure Intro and used it again as a Coda. While there are a few options for various horns within Frank's nonet, I opted for one of my favorite instrumentations of two trumpets (although flugelhorns on the ballads), tenor, trombone and baritone sax, in that order from the top, down: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Personnel for The Frank Wess Nonet is as follows for the week run at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola: Frank Wess, solo tenor saxophone;Frank Greene, lead trumpet; Terell Stafford, jazz trumpet; Ted Nash, alto & tenor saxophones; Luis Bonilla, trombone; Scott Robinson, baritone saxophone and surely a plethora or other instruments; Michael Weiss, piano (Jan 19-21); Tomoko Ohno, piano (Jan 22-24); Peter Washington, bass (Jan 19-21); Noriko Ueda, bass (Jan 22-24); Winard Harper, drums. Being that this is Frank's 88th Birthday Celebration, he has invited a number of the jazz scene's finest pianists to join in with guest appearances on the piano ("The 88's") Be sure to make reservations because this is going to be packed and truly amazing! Guest pianists will appear as follows: Mulgrew Miller, piano (Jan 19, Tuesday) Renee Rosnes, piano (Jan 20, Wednesday) Bill Charlap, piano (Jan 21, Thursday) Billy Taylor, piano (Jan 22, Friday) Mike LeDonne, piano(Jan 23, Saturday) Hank Jones, piano (Jan 24, Sunday) Here's the rest of the info: Frank Wess 88th Birthday Celebration with The Frank Wess Nonet Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola Frederick P. Rose Hall Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center Time Warner Building Broadway at 60th Street 5th Floor 7:30pm & 9:30pm Cover: $30-35 Students: $15 select sets w/valid student ID Reservations: Call: 212-258-9595 or 9795 Personally I am very excited about all this for it is a great honor to have written these arrangements for the Jazz Royalty that is Frank Wess. This week has the potential to be among the greatest exposure of my career. :-) Rehearsals are tomorrow and Monday afternoons. While it is always a little nerve-wracking to hear the new work come off the page into the air, I am calmed by the fact that all the horn players are long-time friends and among the most fun people I know. I hope you will consider coming down for one of these nights. I intend to be present for many, if not all of the nights of Frank's 88th Birthday Celebration at Dizzy's. A couple of nights it's possible I won't be able to make it until the second set. We'll see! the course of writing this blog entry Frank Wess called and after that...Barry Manilow came on TV and started singing Mandy. LOL It seems quite a humorous differential in the spectrum of musical personalities. On another note, I see my web hosting company is now offering a proper interactive blog. Unfortunately for me I have no idea how to make the switch over without losing the existing entries but perhaps it will be more painless than it seems if I write them an e-mail. Hostbaby is pretty good about taking care of their clients. Stand by for more! Hope to see you at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola this week! --AB