All That Jazz

Emilies Big Band Arrangement

Please do listen to Emilies Big Band Arrangement – All That Jazz on the news post on our website, it is truly remarkable. Mr Rolton, Music Teacher

Class 8 project was to learn about jazz Big Bands, and to write (and then perform) a Big Band arrangement of “ And All That Jazz” from the musical Chicago. She’s worked on this tirelessly (and with huge enthusiasm) over the past few months, and she finally finished the score about 10 days ago.

She had organised for the Sussex University Big Band to play the arrangement but, just as she was about to visit them to start rehearsing, the lock-down happened! So we thought about it for a bit, and have just completed recording it at home (using “real-player” instrument samples in Logic 


It was amazing watching the process of her writing the arrangement unfold. She went to big band concerts and read everything she could find about big band arranging, as well as listening to big band music from the 30s up to the present day. She taught herself from scratch to use the notation software “Notion”, and she entered the whole score herself. 

All the ideas, motifs and rhythms are hers and, after some tutorials on jazz chords and chord 

voicing, she was able to fill out her original sketches and create parts for 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, 5 saxes (1 doubling clarinet), piano, bass, guitar and drums. In the process, she learned lots of new things about about jazz rhythms and chords.

When she eventually sang the vocal for the recording, she did it in just a few takes, and the final version has no pitch correction or other processing except eq and reverb. The alto sax solo near the end is a transcription from a live version of the song but, as I say, all the other melodic, rhythmic and harmonic ideas are hers, as is the sequence of verses, choruses and instrumental sections.

Emilies father.