Friday, March 9, 2012

Marty Paich: Something Smaller This Way Comes

© -  Steven A. Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

The editorial staff at JazzProfiles prepared an earlier look at pianist, composer-arranger Marty Paich and posted it on November 2, 2008. You can locate this piece by going here.

With the help of the crackerjack graphics team at CerraJazz LTD, we recently developed the following video tribute to Marty and his music in order to put on display Marty’s unique knack for taking scaled-down instrumentation and making it sound like a larger ensemble.

As a case in point, we’ve selected the Blue Lou track from one of Marty’s earliest LP’s, At The Jazz Band Ball, on which he uses an all-brass configuration to front a septet made up Jack Sheldon and Donnie Fagerquist on trumpet, valve trombonists Bob Enevoldsen and Stu Williamson with a three-piece rhythm section that includes Marty on piano, Buddy Clark on bass and Mel Lewis on drums.

Through his clever uses of blended voicing, simple harmonies and background riffs, Marty completely reworks the instrumentation on this Jazz standard and makes it sound like a larger big band.

Whether he was weaving his magic behind vocalists such as Mel Torme or Ray Charles, vocal groups like the Hi-Lo’s, or instrumentalists such as Art Pepper, Marty had the singular ability of making smaller ensembles sound fuller and unusual instrumentation sound typical.

Most individual artists strive for a uniqueness in their sound that makes them instantly recognizable.

Very few arrangers achieve such immediate recognition in the sound of their arrangements.

Marty Paich was one of those who made the sonority of his textures stand out.

A few bars and you knew it was a chart by Marty Paich.