Count Basie HS Big Band Clinic

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Three high school jazz bands from the NYC metropolitan area participated in a clinic on big band playing presented by Dr. Edward Joffe at Local 802 on 11/2/17. This clinic was open to the public and funded by Music for a Sound Future and The Council for Living Music. This particular session featured music associated with the Count Basie Orchestra. Each school was sent one big band chart to prepare for the clinic composed/arranged by artists whose work is largely associated with the Basie Band tradition—Frank Foster, Ernie Wilkins and Sammy Nestico. All of the charts emphasized the concept of “swing”—the most essential element of the jazz discipline. Basie big band repertoire is ideal for students because it also features standard big band instrumentation (5 saxes, 4 bones, 4 trumpets, 4 rhythm); traditional Blues structures; shout choruses; call & response section playing; background riffs; tutti section playing; solis/solos; fundamental rhythm section role-playing; comfortable tessitura for all of the horn players; and repertoire that has great historical significance. During the course of the presentation, different teaching techniques were employed in order to help each band achieve a better sense of swing, phrasing, balance and pitch. Watch the video at