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Old 09-21-2011, 03:45 PM
rrayner rrayner is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 706
Default Chesapeake Swing Band Medley #1

The "Chesapeake Swing Band Medley #1" is a medley of three songs: 1) "Cheek To Cheek", composed by Irving Berlin in 1935 for the movie "Top Hat"; 2) "Secret Love" composed by Sammy Fain in 1953 for the musical "Calamity Jane"; and 3) "Too Close For Comfort" composed by Jerry Bock, Larry Holofcener, & George David Weiss in 1956 for the musical "Mr. Wonderful". The "Chesapeake Swing Band" is a dance/swing band centered in Southern Maryland and headed up by my friend, Jim Meadows.

These songs are old standards (are far as swing dance music is concerned), and I always loved to play them, back when I was a working musician. As I had never written arrangements for these songs, and they fit the genre of music played by Jim's group, I decided to make a medley of them for him. This is a little bit of a change of plans for me -- I haven't finished keying in the last of my arrangements from the '60s yet (one more to go), but I needed a break to try something new.

The instrumentation is standard for a swing/dance band: 5 Saxes (2 Altos, 2 Tenors, Baritone); 4 Trumpets; 4 Trombones (3 Tenor, 1 Bass); and Rhythm Section (Electric Guitar, Piano, Bass, Drums). Actually, you won't hear much piano in this, as the piano part is mostly chord symbols.

You can play the attached original .not file, or go to BoxNet to hear the mp3 file, as it would sound on my Yamaha Clavinova CVP-405. Go to:

Back in my school days, 50 years ago, this style would be referred to as "commercial" -- something that has a happy, danceable sound to it, without getting too close to the jazz idiom, but with a little bit of swing. The voicings are intentionally "plain vanilla" -- not much richness in the chords, except in the final ending, but I think it comes off fairly well. The musical cliches are intentional. Also, there are no drum fills -- just solid rhythm, keeping the songs moving. I'm not pleased with the choppiness of the sax solis (ensembles), but I haven't found a way to smooth them out. The legato is better on the brass. Also, I have filled in the Guitar part with 4-note chords. The voicings may not be playable in tempo by a live guitarist as written, but they fulfill my requirement for the sound of a rhythm guitar. At least each chord is playable by itself.

Note that I have left the "swing notation" (quarter/eighth note triplets) in place. I've had some problems with the "swing to standard" conversion. It makes it a little bit harder to read, but I need to deliver the proper swing feel.

I hope you enjoy listening to this arrangement.

Ralph Rayner
Attached Files
File Type: not Chesapeake Swing Band Medley #1.not (1.17 MB, 22 views)

Last edited by rrayner; 01-18-2015 at 02:18 PM. Reason: Updated attachment & BoxNet link
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