As the name implies, this latin-fusion piece is written in the mid-tempo 88 BPM and combines intricately interlocking lines with heavy funk riffs. This tune highlights the technical flexibility of the ensemble while maintaining a solid groove. A modal solo section gives the improvising soloists in your ensemble a chance to shine.
Alba, a solemn, yet somewhat uplifting song, begins with a simple melody and floating chords that delay a resolution. The “B” sections serves as a disconnect that resolves back into the beginning melody. The solo section is simple and open to interpretation stylistically. The “B” section disconnects from the solos and this time drives us into an uplifting jam at the end. Alba can be heard on the Dave Longfellow’s self-titled 2009 release.
Old meets new as the only acoustic instrument family invented in the 20th century realizes one of the great works of the Italian Renaissance. Originally composed in the late 16th century for brass choir, this piece divides the ensemble in half and pits one choir against another in a call and response style known as antiphon. With 10 distinct parts, this piece places emphasis on individual musicianship within the larger ensemble.
This is a fun, high-energy calypso that will have the audience up on their feet! I composed “Carpe Diem” during the time I had the Sons Of Steel steel band. It was written with performance in mind with lots of room for cool choreography, which the “Sons” were known for during our live concerts.
This Spanish-tinged calypso from a forthcoming suite chronicling the adventures of Cervantes' Don Quixote is ideal for the intermediate to advanced ensemble. Caribbean syncopation coupled with traditional Iberian harmonies paint a picture of the heroic knight-errant in an epic struggle for his life and sanity.
El Sueño is a work about the surrealist nature of a dream – toying with expectations. In this case, it is the expectation of what will come next given the particular genre of music. Sometimes a new section is immediately recognized, while other times the music morphs into the new material.
This piece is built on a moderate tempo 2-3 son clave groove. The first melodic section greatly contrasts the rest of the piece with a diminished intensity that grows through the later sections. Toward the end, a vamp opens up the opportunity for soloists.
Schubert's most famous art song based on Goethe's eerie text comes to life in this bomb arrangement. The drama between the father, boy, and earl king unfolds true to Schubert's original, with each character portrayed in a different register. Tension between the boy and the Erlking builds to a climax with a minor jam section perfect for a talented drumset or timbales player. But in the end, the child "war tot!"
Expiration Dating opens with a series of bell-tones in ascending perfect fourths. This leads to a light introductory groove in an A Major tonality, with horn-style hits in the inner parts. The primary, D Major melody of the piece is accompanied by rolling figures in the inner parts, a montuno-like bass line, and a highly linear drum set figure. After a return to the A Major and D Major sections for an improvised solo, the melody is repeated. The piece ends with an elaboration on the main theme of the melody and open vamp in the context of a B Minor turnaround.
This tune was originally commisioned for a Canadian/Caribbean Film called “Finder of Lost Children.” The first part of the piece is rather happy going with a chorus that plays with phrasing the same melody on and off the beat. But then—as in many families—once you scratch the surface, there are often hidden secrets. The middle part of the piece becomes a bit darker and more dramatic. Finally, the last part is a return to the main theme in order to, as a family member might say, “keep up the appearances.”
Written in a free, romantic style, this piece allows the soloist to show off both the emotional depth and the technical potential of the cello pan. The piece starts in a slow rubato and gradually builds in intensity throughout the work, reaching an emotional height in the final bars. This piece is ideal concert material for the intermediate to advanced soloist.
If John Bull were a balladeer, his greatest hit would be Greensleeves, the haunting melody whose text sings of the timeless sadness of lost love: Alas my love, you do me wrong / To cast me off discourteously. The ancient melody has been inextricably linked with the English pastoral tradition since at least 1580, when it was mentioned in the Stationers’ Company’s Register as “a new Northern Dittye.” There exists a legend that Henry VIII, a competent musician, wrote Greensleeves around 1530 during his courtship of Anne Boleyn but is apparently without factual foundation.
Kidding on the Square is an adaptation of the Afro-Peruvian landó. Much of the excitement of the landó is generated by the simultaneous implication of three-beat and four-beat structures presented by the rhythm section, which often includes the cajón (large box drum), quijada (jaw bone), cajita (small, lidded box drum), bells, and additional shaken or scraped instruments. Kidding on the Square approximates this through the synthesis of common patterns played by the individual instruments of the landó rhythm section into a single, challenging drum set part.
This lively refrain and variations from the French Baroque master gives the intermediate to advanced soloist a chance to show off the agility required of runs, turns and ornamental figures at a rapid pace. Played in a Vivace tempo, this piece is sure to impress.
This third movement from Beethoven’s beloved “Pastoral Symphony” depicts a scene of dancing and revelry among the countryfolk. Written simultaneously with Beethoven’s stormier Symphony No. 5 and debuted alongside the famous work in 1808, the “Pastoral Symphony” gives us a glimpse into Beethoven’s more serenely introspective side. Known for his love of taking long walks in the country, Beethoven may well have based this imagined merry country gathering on a chance encounter with just such an event.
Mr. Hurley is just an all-out funky jam that is sick and an absolute blast to play! The tune starts out in what seems to be utter chaos, but after the intro it settles into the funky jam that is Mr. Hurley. It goes through a couple of verses and choruses and then hits strait into the solo jam. There is a soft dynamic soca break-down that appears right before the final funk jam that ends solidly after a final verse and chorus.
This piece is the first tune from The DLE album Vol. 1. It is written in a progressive style, with a nice Afro-Cuban groove. While alternating time signatures, this piece maintains its melodic feel and sense of flow. After an optional bass solo, the song drifts into a 5/4 section with an optional conga or drum set solo which builds back up into the original theme. The song then builds until the end when it finally fades and resolves.
This duet composed in a Son Montuno style is well suited for a pair of intermediate to advanced players. The performers simulate traditional cascara and palitos patterns by playing the rim and skirt of the pans while maintaining the melodic and harmonic material above the rhythmic density. An added Latin percussion section complements this piece nicely.
This beautiful melody by Harold Arlen will be familiar to many in your audience, and thus a crowd-pleaser. The famous tune from “The Wizard of Oz” has been treated in bomb style, meaning that it has been “calypso-ized” through the application of stylistic calypso rhythms and grooves. After a brief introduction, the tune is presented, followed by a fairly challenging variation for lead and double tenor pans over the first two A sections. A fadeout ending suggests actually going “over the rainbow” to the place where dreams really do come true.
“Pan For Ya!” was written with me thinking of playing in Trinidad’s Panorama competition. I wanted to write a piece to give people who have never experienced Panorama a small taste (tease if you will) of what they are missing. I wanted to keep it short and sweet but still have the excitement of a tune played in the world’s greatest steel band competition.
Probably Elgar's best remembered and most played composition from it's use in graduation ceremonies, this march highlights the ability of the ensemble to present contrasting expressive moods in a single piece. From the rousing scherzo introduction to the familiar tempered and lyrical trio section, this piece draws on the expressive depth of the steel orchestra.
This Sarabande is a slow dance movement from Bach's first Partita for solo violin. The majority of the melodic material rests in the Tenor part while the counter lines and Bach's austere harmonies are voiced across the range of the Cello and Double Seconds. While not terribly technically demanding of the players, the challenge in this movement lies in the unity of expression required of the players by this nature of work.
An exciting piece with recurring themes, this serves as a great tool for an intermediate ensemble to work on stark dynamic contrasts. Though mostly folk-like in character, the occasional runs warrant a 4 rating. Tempo can be at the discretion of the director, but not to fall below conducting in "one."
This three movement sonata for cello pan highlights the resonant beauty of the instrument while exhibiting its potential as a solo instrument. Written in a neo-Baroque style influenced by the solo string works of J.S. Bach, this piece in part or whole is sure to please at your next concert or recital.
*The final movement utilizes the upper harmonic D5 commonly found in D4
This piece is a duet written for the double seconds and 5 octave marimba. It begins with the marimbist performing a disjointed comping pattern, followed by a playful melody on the upper register of the double seconds, eventually leading the performers into a calypso groove setting up the first theme. With driving rhythms, interplay between both parts, sharp dynamic contrasts, solo sections to showcase each performer and tricky “licks,” this piece will be sure to excite the listener and performer alike.
From a yet to be released set of 12 waltzes, these three waltzes work well in either a 4 piece chamber setting or a full band setting. The three waltzes here--in the keys of C major, Db major and Bb major--are presented in a fast-slow-fast sequence which may be performed either as a continuous whole or as standalone pieces.