Home > Projects > Two Jazz Tunes

I have been fooling around with this pair of tunes for over a year. By the end of 2012 I had piano trio arrangements of both, and finally got around to arranging them for a jazz quintet (trumpet, sax, piano, bass, and drums).

In June 2013, I hired a band to make a demo recording of these tunes:

Liner notes and additional files (scores and my scratch demos) are below.

Head And Shoes

This is a mashup of sorts, of two songs: Hat And Beard by Eric Dolphy, and Hat And Feet by Fountains of Wayne. Perhaps I should have called it Feet And Beard.

I have a tendency to write "busy", with all musicians playing all the time. I don't leave enough space. One thing I was trying to do with this song was alternate bursts of activity with longer stretches of breathing room. I also wanted the melody to be a bunch of "gestures" that didn't really feel like a tonal melody.

Head And Shoes.mp3 (studio demo).

Other files:


The first phrase of this melody just popped into my head. Over the following few weeks, I added to it very gradually, about one measure at a time. It's another example of trying to balance motion and space, though not as extreme as Head And Shoes. It's also much more straightforward as a hummable melody (at least, Eva and Noah can hum it after hearing it dozens of times).

When it came time to record the first version, I discovered something interesting about the rhythm. The amount of "swing" I needed fluctuated continuously throughout. Almost every pair of eighth notes needed a slightly different level of swing to sound right, including some that are completely "straight" and some that are close to a dotted-eighth and sixteenth pattern. This is the sort of thing that performers do naturally all the time, but when you are entering it in the computer, it takes a lot of adjusting to get right.

Aptin'.mp3 (studio demo).

Other files:

The band