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Jacob Nevill Topics in Jazz Arranging Jim McNeely December 10, 2010 The Life of Riley in Development

The use of development by a composer is an invaluable tool and, at times, a difficult art to achieve. Taking a motif, riff, or theme, and developing it so that it can be used again with effectiveness. This can create contrast, interest and even new sections of music entirely. In the case of Jim McNeelys The Life of Riley, this application affects not only his melodic material but the general tempo of the piece. The use of metric modulation and motivic development creates variety and is used to effect the mood and energy of the music. In this analysis I will be looking at the harmonic, rhythmic and orchestral uses of the music. The form for this piece incorporates a 12 bar blues and ,as previously stated, musical development. It is interesting cause the piece doesnt come off as a blues from the static motion and chromatic motion. The form is unusual as well: A-A-B-B-C-Coda(using material from A). This chart displays a great variety of how much rhythmic treatment can used to a musical motif or riff. The tempo for The Life of Riley is a fast swing set in cut time. The piece starts right off with a single quarter note: D. This is contrasted immediately by the piano playing a static ostinato of 4th (A &D) quarter notes. This static motion allows contrast for the main blues motif in the tenor and baritone saxophones more harmonic freedom. This motif interestingly enough starts on the flat nine of this D blues.

The drums do a light solo in the fast swing with brushes and reinforce the ostinato. The use of brushes is interesting. Why not use sticks? The effect orchestrally establishes an unusual mood, it will contrast later when the switch to sticks is made, and is effective with the motif. Doubling with the piano enforces the rhythm and the soli in the drums allows for a constant playing with the rhythm and eventual rhythmic and melodic developmental shift. At measure 17, the soprano saxophones and fourth trumpet take up part of the motif. The trombones create the first harmonic backdrop with chromatic base line for two measures and a sudden marcato stop on beat four of measure 18. The motif is continued by the soprano saxophone, first tenor saxophone, and fourth trumpet with the exception of no drums. This exclusion is subtle but creates contrast. The drums and piano ostinato (still A & D) continue again on beat four of measure 20. The motif continues from measure 24 beat two with the soprano saxophones and fourth trumpet with harmonic backdrop from the trombones. This addition of more instruments elevates the volume and causes a natural climax. The tenor saxophones add to this natural climax in measure 30. The motif ends again with the sudden marcato on beat four of measure 31. It is here where the development and shift of rhythm and motif begin. The rhythm is shifted from the down beat over to beat two. It is here that the value goes from halfnotes, to dotted quarter, and finally returns to quarter note ostinato doubled with the drums.

This shift, however brief, is a signal of things to come. The motif will be deconstructed rhythmically through shifts or metric modulation. It is interesting to note that the drum all throughout the piece is constantly going from time to solo. This adds to the already complex rhythmic background. Also the piano has very specific voicings and no chord changes whatsoever. Up to this point it has been the constant piano ostinato but now there is the addition of fifths moving up creating a three against four feel.

This movement is doubled by the soprano saxophones, tenor saxophones, trumpets and trombone playing tutti rhythmically or thematically. The sustained notes in measure 36 and later at 42 give the drum and bass room to solo. It is at measure 42 where the rhythm section initiates the first clear shift of time. Beings in two then shifts to three, creating a new ostinato pattern. In addition the drums are given a solo for the section while the bass and piano have specific notes given.

While this rhythm has been alluded to through the blues motif, this is the first time it has been firmly established into the listeners ear. This is done through the rhythm section playing this alone eight measures. At measure 50 the motif from measure 17 is repeated and with some variation leading into the new time signature and of and continue this shift of rhythm leading into a F#-C# sustained interval. As a result a new ostinato is put into being:

At measure 58-61 the rhythm section with saxes and fourth trombone create a chromatic progression down. This bridges back into cut time but the motif having started in the (m. 61) creates a displacement of the rhythm. This shifting creates a different feel but is in fact the same motif from measure 25-29. At measure 68-69 the saxophones and brass bridge back to the rhythm section were a new shift is initiated; returning to a time signature. Despite this time signature change, the feeling of two is kept intact through the use of dotted quarter notes. The time signature changes back to cut time briefly where the horns reinstate

the motif from measure 25, but returns to after only two measures of cut time.

This augmentation creates variety, development, and longevity to the section. This transformation is done again and again with variations to the harmony and rhythm. Examples of this can be seen in a particular pattern. Usually the rhythm section establishes a new feel with the drums doing solo and the motif or chromatic bridge is presented in tutti form with rhythmic augmentation fast or slow. The motif material is usually started in cut time for a measure and switches to where the material is presented as previously eluded to from the example above. It is interesting to note the orchestration and the interaction between sections that goes on during this development. This is only exemplified by the drums switching from solo to time. The bass and baritone saxophone have a lot of interaction between doubling and call and response like playing. At measure 96-99 the bass starts the chromatic sequence up using dotted quarters and is answered by the baritone sax on the following dotted quarter.

This is repeated throughout this bridging section. Also its the first time that chord changes are given to the piano. Up to this point, the voicings have been very specific. This switch to chord changes are brief and wont be seen again. At measure 119 the rhythmic ostinato from measure 42 is restated and used as a bridge into the next chromatic bridge which has also been shifted in the new time signature of . What is interesting to note is that the piano ostinato is gone and yet the chromatic motion has the same effect from when the piano played static A and D quarter notes. This is because the drums rhythm is similar enough and the memory of the ostinato is still in the listeners mind and ear. The chromatic motion continues in measure 127 with the saxophones playing close voicings(7ths and 9ths)as a way to vary the motif, in addition to the rhythmic augmentation. The feeling of two is also maintained despite being in 3/4 . This passage takes the previous material and voices it closer together to create dissonance. This also creates contrast to the A being seemingly the slowest and the most dissonant. The soprano has the chromatic line:

This spills over in to a dissonant Bb major #9 chord that then echo part of the main motif. This use of augmentation is used to significantly slow down the riff and isolate specific tensions, most notably in measures 131-132 and 140-141.

In measure 147 the motif returns back to the faster original form from measure 25. Essentially it wraps up the developmental section and will push forward to the solo section. This increase in rhythm will add contrast for the later passage to come in measure 166. The passage is also will shift the volume level up into the solo section. The soprano saxophones and trumpets present the original riff in a tutti with the tenor saxophones and later the trombones provide the harmonic background (m. 147-159); the harmony again moving in chromatic motion down or stepwise motion up. The use of fourths and fifths are also prominent as seen in the piano in these sections. The piano static ostinato of A and D returns and is used to segue in to the new rhythmic feel of half note triplets in measure 166 as introduced by the tenor saxs, 2 nd trumpet and trombone. The drums reinforce this new feel in 167 and a natural crescendo occurs as more and more instruments are added. This crescendo goes into the new section of measure 175 which takes the metric modulation from the cut time into three and shifts into 6/4. Measure 175-183 acts as a bridge into the solo section but also establishes the feel of this solo section to come. The saxophones and brass play entirely new material for this connecting section. This fanfare raises the level of the music to a higher level and transition well into the trombone solo section. The solo section has a rhythm section groove that lays out the framework for the trombonist to solo over. The background voices do not play till the 2 nd repeat of the section. The soloist only has two chord changes to worry about: 16bars of F#min/G# and 12bars of Dmin. The bass and piano have very specific voicing again and have no chord changes, simply

movement in fifths up.

This back ground voicing starts simply the 2nd time through the saxophones, trumpets, and trombones doing simple quarter note hits on the fourth beat every other measure. This shifts later to two eight notes hits (m. 187)and sustained (m. 189-190). This idea is repeated from measure 191-198 with some variation in the 1st tenor and trombone sustaining the note previously played to the next measure. This adds variety to the voicing. The D min section back ground echoes of the developmental section. The soprano (and now alto) saxophones play rhythmically very similar short eight not riffs while the tenors and 3rd and 4th trombones copy the first two rhythms of each measure. This continues to build and leads into the next solo section where the drums will take over. The new section shifts from the 6/4 time to 4/4 and returns to the original blues riff now developing again. But this small section (m. 211-221) is used as a transition into the new material. The piece shifts back into 6/4. For the drum solo section, the same rhythmic material from the trombone solo is used but only in short spurts. This is done by the rhythm section only (m. 221-237). These hits by the piano and bass are brief and the use of space create room for the drum to solo. The space varies from five measures or two but the space gets gradually smaller. At 238 the saxophones and brass come in: the saxophones in triplets and the brass starting in two and for

the last beat into triplets. This sudden rise of sound and triplet runs add to the tension and, in a way, allude to the beginning of the original riff. The Saxophones and brass then go and take up the rhythmic groove that the piano and bass had been playing in the trombone solo section previous. Then from measure 243-251 the saxophone section plays a variation of previous material to make up a segue into a quieter section where the piano is featured but doesnt solo. Measure 251 is the cool down section. Everything has been climaxing up to this point. The lower saxophone (tenor & baritone), the trombones, and rhythm section take the material from the original blues riff and augment it.

The piano and rhythm section is left alone in measure 255 and take up were the brass have just left of. The 1st alto and tenor saxophones take up the same material stated from 251-254. It answered by the 2nd alto and tenor saxophones respectfully. The trombones as well take up the same line as the bass and create the harmonic background necessary. This interaction happens all throughout measures to measure 287. The climax takes on the bass harmonic motion and continues to measure 296. It is at 297 where some chromatic motion is created by the saxophones and brass. It builds to measure 307 where a return of the 251 theme starts. It continues to repeat but less and less instruments are used on each repeat, creating a natural decrescendo. This continues to measure 344 where the return to the intro is put into motion. To conclude the piece, a return to the static piano playing the A & D continues with the original voicing from measures 1-8. Then material from measure 17 is used again in the

same voicing with the addition of the 3rd trumpet doubling as well. Then the bass and baritone have material from the section and leads to a chromatic line that ends as the piece started. With a single marcato quarter note hit. This piece displays how a theme or riff can be taken and used and reused over the span of an entire chart. The constant development of this piece allows for the different sections to maintain variety yet still have cohesiveness. It is an excellent compositional method that can give longevity to a piece and create interest for the listener. This jazz chart also is a good example at how metric modulation can be employed and used to shift meter or mood. Also the use of clusters and voicings are notably interesting. The use of 9ths, altered or otherwise, create some dissonances that adds contrast. It is a challenging piece, but one that shows great interaction and variety for the jazz enthusiast.