One of things that will make or break your big band arrangement is the idea that the chart has to have some kind of flow from beginning to end. Ultimately, it should tell a story on an emotional level so that listeners have a great experience listening to it.
If you have ever gotten “goose bumps” while listening to a piece of music (jazz, classical, etc.) you know exactly what I mean. The music connected to you on a basic emotional level.
Generally, music that can do this has a series of climactic points along the way, while keeping the listener connected during the entire piece with interesting stuff.
Its really no different than a great movie – the best movies suck you in and take you right to the climax of the story then drop you down gently so you walk out of the theatre saying “what a great movie”.
Your big band chart should be no different. The goal is for the listeners and players to say “what a great chart” after it is played.
This lesson deals with some things you might consider doing to help you get an idea of how to map out a chart before you even write a note of the arrangement.