I first came across the arranging and composition talents of Fred Sturm when I was in college back in the 1980s. If my memory serves me correctly, it was the Notre Dame Jazz Festival and the Eastman Studio Orchestra performed a multi-movement orchestral piece written by Fred based on a series of paintings by a well-known artist.
Writing for orchestra is extremely challenging (partly because there are WAY TOO many options to decide on), and Fred’s piece blew me away to say the least. I do remember talking with him briefly after the performance and he was very down to earth, cordial and humble too. (From my experience, the most talented people are usually good human beings.)
My friend Frank Mantooth had an interesting definition of arranging……He said: “arranging is where you take someone else’s music and you “trash it”. Vintage Mantooth….but what I believe he really meant was that good arrangers take what is given to them and add their own experience and “take” on how they interpret the original music. A good arranger is a good “recomposer”.
This video tutorial is a fantastic look into not only the history of arrangements on the classic standard on All of Me, but also contains a detailed look into Fred’s version of how he “recomposed” the tune into a brand new big band chart.
Other than the excellent look into previous charts on All of Me by a handful of great arranging masters, main points to consider in Fred’s chart are:
1) Analyzing and reducing a tune down to its key elements for “recomposition” material (even down to core pitches)
2) Composing jazz lines based on key elements
3) Use of pedal point for solo sections
4) Identifying melodic “cells” from the melody to create line mutations based on them
5) Varying chord changes to avoid the predictability of 4 and 8 bar phrases
This is a classic example of how detailed analysis and come creativity can turn any musical material into a new composition. Strap yourself in for this one! Hope you like it. Visit Fred’s Website Here