One of the cardinal sins in jazz arranging is having individual parts for the musicians be BORING.
When writing a jazz chart, always arrange with the player in mind. Give him/her the best possible playing experience you can by writing something that is not only interesting, but also a part that “lays well” on the instrument.
Remember that a big band = 17 individual musicians. That means there are 17 individual playing experiences going on during a chart. And 17 individual OPINIONS on how they are liking what you wrote!
You can’t please everyone all the time. But you can strive to make every chart be a great playing experience for everyone involved.
Ballads can be a challenge because the tempos are obviously slower, thus making each part more of a challenge to make interesting and one that is not a “chop killer” for the trumpets and trombones.
There are simply things you can do to improve the harmonic backgrounds in ballads however. In this lesson, I cover one simple concept for improving harmonic pads in ballads. You may have thought of this before, but a reminder never hurts. 🙂