Recorded on Days of Wine and Roses – Live at the Jazz Standard, "Lately" is a medium tempo straight-ahead swing piece featuring piano and trombone. It has a sax soli which is notable, because it's one of the very few I've written.
When I first moved to New York in 1985, I'd go down to the Village Vanguard at least half the Monday nights each year and I'd listen to the great Mel Lewis Orchestra play. There was just nothing on this earth like hearing Mel play a medium tempo in that room. Those were some of the greatest nights of my life. Mel's playing inspired me to write "Lately," and I was studying with Bob Brookmeyer when I wrote it.
This piece is quite straight-ahead – and with no doubles, is quite easy to put together. Well, easy? Maybe not – playing a great medium swing groove, with relaxed but powerful horns – that's the goal, and perhaps one of the hardest things to achieve in the big band idiom. I included a video of me talking about the rehearsal of this piece that will hopefully be of help to you and your group. I'd categorized this as "Medium Advanced" level.
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