Washington Post March for Big Band

Today is Independence Day in the United States. For the past few years the Asheville Jazz Orchestra has performed an annual celebration around July 4th. Yesterday we played this year’s concert and premiered a brand new big band arrangement I just completed of Washington Post March, by John Philip Sousa. Here’s a midi realization.

As always when you use a computer to realize a piece of music intended for acoustic instruments, you’ll have to use your imagination. I could spend a lot more time cleaning up the playback and making it sound better, but that’s more work than I feel is worth for something intended to be played by real musicians. But you will get the general idea and it makes a decent demo.

When I compose my big band music I generally start with some hand written sketches first and map out the whole arrangement. Once I have the overall form and sections planned out I’ll get my score set up in Finale. Rhythm section parts and soloists I usually use Band-in-a-Box to create, export them as a midi file, and then import it into Finale. I can then copy and paste what I need into my big band file. I find it particularly helpful to have a bass part going while hearing back my horn voicings. Sometimes little quirks or errors in the importing process end up sounding pretty cool to me and make their way into the actual chart.

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