Click the links below to hear the pieces.
On the Coney Island Boardwalk was inspired by my years of listening to trumpeter Herb Alpert. The melody came to me when I was reminiscing about those summer days when I would take the subway out to Coney Island from my flat in Brooklyn. I’d spend the day roaming the boardwalk, hunting down used vinyl records in the second- hand shops, and always riding the old wooden Cyclone roller coaster at least once. What made Herb’s trumpet sound like it was talking was his way of articulating each note, imagining they were words. If you really want to get your horn to speak, follow the articulation markings carefully. The Romantic tune My Girl alternates between swing and straight rhythms. The a capella B section should be played straight and with particular attention to the tuning of the intervals and the written articulation markings. This Cat Bugs Me – a rag – was inspired by the compositions of LeRoy Shield, one of the very first composers to write original music for Hollywood films. You can hear his music on the soundtracks for Laurel and Hardy and Our Gang comedies. As with all ragtime, don’t try to play it too fast. Try to feel it as a march that swings. I don’t recall where I got the title, but I suspect I was watching some old cartoons at the time. Grapplin’ with the Apple should be played with straight quavers, not swung. In order to get real flavour out of this piece, pay close attention to the articulation markings, especially the combinations of quavers slurred to staccato notes. The apple referred to in the title is New York City, often referred to as ‘The Big Apple’. Take it to the Shed – here’s one to help you sharpen up your chops! Take it well under tempo at first to get the tricky passages as clean as possible, especially bars 45-47. Slowly work it up to speed as your technique allows. All quavers are to be swung and again, in order to get the most from this piece pay close attention to all articulation markings. The title is a jazz reference. When you take something to ‘the shed’ you’re working on it to make it as fine as it can be