First WEDNESDAYS April 6, 2016 – Conceiving an Original Arrangement

April 16, 2016

A big ASMAC thank you and round of applause for Elliot Deutsch and Patrick Williams who provided a great musical “First WEDNESDAYS” event on April 4, 2016 at Local 47 in Hollywood. The topic of “Conceiving an Original Arrangement” was an evening of information, sharing and socializing. In attendance were several notable award­ winning ASMAC arrangers; many Local 47 members and students. Attendees were interactive with input and questions.

Pat-n-Elliot-1Local 47’s Vice President Rick Baptist opened the event with an invitation to continue hosting First WEDNESDAYS at Local 47. Rick continued with a heartfelt, warm and entertaining introduction of Elliot and Pat.

Elliot Deutsch began the program with an in depth discussion of Pure Imagination, his ASMAC award winning arrangement. Audience members were treated to a look at the score while listening to the recording. There was interesting insight into Elliot’s creative and technical process.

A few concepts shared by Elliot included the overall arc of an arrangement; writing the top line and the bottom line then figuring out the chords later; changing the chord progression for the different soloists rather than repeating the same chord changes; and especially how to keep the arrangement interesting. Then the Oompa Loompa melody came in. Some of Elliot’s listening audience does not make the connection, however it is one of the primary elements that keeps his ‘Pure Imagination’ arrangement interesting and fun. Pat Williams shared valuable input throughout Elliot’s segment.

Patrick Williams was featured in the second portion of the program with Elliot as the moderator. First up was a showing of Pat William’s amazing Sizzle Reel video. Pat then shared a bit of his background, which included listening to Harry James and other big band legends with a hand cranked phonograph player when he was young.

Pat continued with the inside story of the Frank Sinatra Capitol Records Duets recordings that he arranged and conducted. What does this have to do with conceiving an original arrangement? It inspired an entire big band album called “Sinatraland.” Two arrangements from the album were played with score perusal on the big screen. Harry James’ influence came into play, as well as channeling the storytelling of the Sinatra arrangers.

The big take­away from Pat is that a good arrangement can tell a story, just like the great Frank Sinatra arrangements. We are talking about arrangements by ASMAC legacy members Nelson Riddle, Billy May, Don Costa, Quincy Jones and the gang. Pat wanted to go deeper than how to voice a trombone section and chat about the importance of the overall emotion of an arrangement. We were lost in time with Elliot and Pat and another great First WEDNESDAYS event.

The next First WEDNESDAYS is May 4 th at 7:00 pm “A Celebration of Women Composers”