Five years ago, I started what I intended to be a series of Rifftides pieces about little big bands. This was the rationale:
Six to eleven pieces allow arrangers freedom that the conventions and sheer size of sixteen-piece bands tend to limit. Medium-sized groups have been important since the beginnings of jazz.
The tentet’s leader is Oliver Groenewald, a trumpeter, composer and arranger educated at Hochschule für Musik in Detmold, Germany. Groenewald studied trumpet with Art Farmer in Austria and Willie Thomas in the US, composition and arranging in the US with Chuck Israels. He has written extensively for World Brass, Canadian Brass and other ensembles. He now lives on Orcas Island in Puget Sound near Seattle. He is rehearsing a band of Pacific Northwest stalwarts that includes stars of the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra. Here, they run through Groenewald’s arrangement of “You Don’t Know What Love Is.” Brad Allison has the flugelhorn lead. Jay Thomas is the alto saxophone soloist. The video closes with names of all the players.
There was a sort of followup to the Medium But Well Done venture. To see it, go here. If you would like more on the topic, let me know, and we’ll put the slothful Rifftides staff to work on it. To send an email message, click on the word “Contact” in the blue band at the top of the page, or submit a comment using the “Speak Your Mind” box at the end of the post.
Just for fun, here’s World Brass with a witty Groenewald arrangement of “The Flight of the Bumblebee,” of all things. Let’s hear it for the drummer.