Thinking in terms of an arrangement as having a constant ebb and flow of span, weight and density helped totally change the way I thought about putting a jazz arrangement (especially for big band) together.
It was a concept that I was not even aware of until I was doing a Master’s Degree and studied with Cliff Colnot, a prominent commercial jingle writer/arranger in the Chicago area. Cliff is one of those guys that is basically just brilliant, and, although not a jazz player in the traditional sense, his knowledge of arranging and musical conception was light years ahead of anyone I had run across up to that time. Since he worked in the cut throat commercial music scene, his knowledge of a variety of musical styles was second to none. He was a taskmaster at arranging, however, and studying with Cliff had a definite impact on raising the level of my arranging skills at the time.
The book we used in this particular arranging class was Arranging Concepts Complete: The Ultimate Arranging Course for Today’s Music (Dick Grove Arranging Series)
. It is by far one of the best arranging books I have learned from.
Considering the concept of span, weight and density throughout a musical arrangement will help steer you away from always thinking in terms of writing for “sections” within a big band. This video explains in simple terms the concept and how it can help your arrangements begin to sound fresher and more original each and every time. More about this concept in future videos.