Southern City Shout is an original Big Band piece for middle or high school (intermediate) level influenced heavily by Sammy Nestico’s work with Count Basie’s Orchestra.
The title, “Southern City Shout” makes reference to the composer’s hometown of Adelaide, South Australia and is a tip of the hat to Count Basie’s “Kansas City Shout” on their famous Chairman of the Board album.
Southern City Shout is the commissioned test piece for the Intermediate Stage Band division of 2018 South Australian ABODA Band Festival.
The piece was written with 180 bpm in mind but sits nicely at 160 bpm. Aiming to get the piece under the fingers and making things gel as a band at 180 bpm will be a great goal to work towards, but ultimately playing right it in the pocket at 160 bpm is preferable to struggling if the faster tempo isn’t grooving.
- Trumpet 1 highest note is F (Concert Eb) with one optional G (Concert F) on the last chord.
- Trombone 1 highest phrase goes to F and Gb (with an optional movement back down to Eb instead of up to the Gb).
There are essentially 3 sections for improvised solos over the 12-Bar blues progression and here are several suggestions as to how you could divide these up:
- Have 3 different soloists take 12 bars each
- Give one player all 36 bars
- Have two players take 12 bars each and then “swap twos” over the trombone backing figures after the bridge
- Have several players “swap fours” for all of the solo sections
- Have two players “swap fours” for the first 24 bars and then after the bridge “swap twos”
These are just a few examples of the myriad ways in which you could approach the solo sections and I would encourage band directors during rehearsals to share around the solos and encourage all members to have a go at improvising before arriving at a plan of attack for the performance.
Currently, a Sibelius computer generated demo is available to give you an idea approximately how the piece sounds, but stay tuned for a real recording soon and please trust me that it will sound a lot better with real players!
Some reference materials
- I will very shortly upload a tutorial video outlining some approaches to improvising over a 12 bar blues in Eb starting at a total beginner level and then giving intermediate players some suggestions
- Director’s notes PDF here
- For your guitarist – Freddie Green style guitar comping video and an excellent PDF file from Shedthemusic.com