Arrangements & Orchestrations

Over the past 5 years or so my career as an Arranger & Orchestrator has grown remarkably and I've worked with clients all over the world. I work with all sizes of ensembles in all genres, but specialise in writing for large & small Jazz ensembles, horn sections and musical theatre.

I've had arrangements performed at some of the UK's largest and best known concert venues including the MFY Primary Proms & Herts Music Service Gala Concerts both at The Royal Albert Hall. I have also written arrangements for West End shows (The Blues Brothers, 2018) and as a Jazz Arranger by the Ronnie Scott's Jazz Orchestra. My own large ensemble, the Duncan Fraser Big Band, was also awarded the Best Jazz Act (2011) at the South West music awards.

If you are looking for arrangements, orchestrations or even a copyist for any project you have, then this is a good place to start and check out what I can offer you.

What can I offer you?

Aside from my wealth of experience as an Arranger and an excellent all round service, I offer a complete custom shop for Arrangements & Orchestrations. There are so many places to get Big Band and Jazz charts online now, both good and bad! These places work for the vast majority of bands. The people who I find coming to me are those in need of something custom made for them.

 

Perhaps the instrumentation of your band is slightly different, maybe you need the arrangement to be slightly easier, it could be that you can't find an arrangement of the tune you want anywhere, or even that you want an exact replication of a particular version that your band and audience will know.

These are just a few of the regular problems my clients come to me with, and a custom chart is the way to fix them.

Charts for Education...

Clients Include

(UK)

- Ronnie Scott's Jazz Orchestra

- The Blues Brothers (West End)

- Hartshorn-Hook Productions

- Denmark Street Big Band

- The Bluejays

- Anchorman Jazz Orchestra

- Milestone Big Band

 

(International)

- Toronto Faculty of Music (Canada)

- The Resident Alien Big Band (Germany)

- Loimaa Chamber Orchestra (Finland)

- Aussudio (Australia)

(Education)

- Reed's School

- Hertfordshire Youth Jazz Ensemble (Herts Jazz Festival)

- Herts Youth Session Orchestra

- University of Hertfordshire Big Band

This, in my opinion, is the area custom arrangements are needed the most. As you may have already seen, I work a lot in Jazz education and most band directors will tell you the hardest part of the job is getting music together for rehearsal. You really want to try a chart, but it has that 8 bar trombone soli and your trombone section consists of Johnny, who's just done his grade 3 and is in his first term with the band! In the past this section is traditionally either skipped over or given to an instrument to solo over or it may even stop you using the arrangement all together! 

NOT ANYMORE! Having a custom arrangement from me, you can tell me where your band's strengths lie and I can write the arrangement accordingly. The best thing about a custom chart from me, is when that star pupil that held the section together leaves, you can come back to me (I very rarely delete an arrangement!) and I can move things around for you so you can keep that number going.

 

If you are in the UK working for a school or music hub I can even alter your existing copyrighted charts under the Schools Printed Music License. No longer will you have to deal with the Trumpets not being able to reach those top notes or the blowing changes being a bit too tricky.

 

If you want to discuss an educational chart then please get in touch 

Charts for the Amateurs...

It's sometimes difficult to find good repertoire for your amateur, semi-pro & rehearsal bands. The school band stuff is sometimes not challenging enough to keep you all engaged but on the other hand that Gordon Goodwin chart is beyond your band's limit (to be honest it's beyond most of our limits! 'Curse you Wayne Bergeron!'). You don't want to play swing band charts all night and perhaps want something a little more modern with a bit more edge.

This is where a custom arrangement from me is the perfect fit for your band. You can tell me where your band's strengths lie and I will tailor the arrangement around that. 

I work regularly with a University level ensemble who fit this mould, and we have great success with my arrangements of various pop tunes and funk tunes turned into something a little different that they can play and really enjoy doing so. I have also done the same for numerous 'semi-pro' bands around the UK & Europe, arranging various modern and contemporary Jazz tunes as well as the odd pop song in a Salsa style (a guilty pleasure of mine!) and they always come back for more. 

If you want to discuss a custom chart then please get in touch

Charts for the Pros...

My arrangements, orchestrations & transcriptions have been enjoyed by pros all around the world. Whether you are a vocalist looking for a chart for your new Jazz album, a Big Band leader looking for that arrangement to complete your programme or a featured guest soloist in need of arrangements for an upcoming gig. I can help, either from my existing stock of arrangements that I have produced for these situations in the past or if I don't have it I'd definitely love to make it! 

To chat about a custom chart the please get in touch

Transcriptions & Orchestrations

It can be frustrating when you want that particular version of a chart for your show and can't find it anywhere. I have a stock of existing Transcriptions (mostly for Big Band and vocalist) that can help you out. I have transcriptions of many tunes as performed by Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Ella Fitzgerald and many more. As always if I don't have it, I'd love to do it, so get in touch

Another service I can offer is re-orchestration of these iconic numbers that traditionally involve a Big Band & Strings so that it is performable by a much smaller ensemble from Trio to a band with 3 or 4 horns. This is particularly useful to cruise ship performers where I can match your charts to your existing click tracks so you can add multiple sizes of band to your existing formats, making life very easy for your musicians!

Horn Parts...

As a young gigging musician one of the things you quickly learn is that in order to stay afloat in your early 20's you need to take a ton of wedding and function work! For Horn players this is usually as an add on to an existing band. The next thing you realise is that means, a large proportion of times, they don't have horn parts! This for me meant taking down a bunch of charts every week for each gig and carrying around a huge lever arch file of 100's of horn parts just incase anything else was called on the bandstand (this is in the days before iPads!). The good thing for you is that means I have a catalogue of hundreds of Horn parts already transcribed and as pdfs waiting to go! If its something I already have I can send it to you for just £5 per tune too (Parts for Trumpet & Tenor Sax), and usually within 24 hours (it just depends when I check my emails really). Just ask me if I have it (I probably do) and we'll go from there.

The other service related to this is if you are one of those dream function bands or tribute shows to work with and you want to provide your horn players with parts already worked out for your band, in your keys and to the structure of your show. We love you guys! I have kitted out many shows with their horn parts over the years, in fact I already have full sets for common things like Blues Brothers, Elvis, Phil Collins & 50's bands and alterations to the existing stuff might be cheaper than you think. If I don't already have what your show is then lets put it together! 

Get in touch to discuss custom horn arrangements

Copying work...

Another service I can offer is as a copyist. Whilst I am no professional engraver and sending me your orchestral suites to engrave is probably not going to work out, some Big Bands have found me useful for making their tired, hand-written, ripped & even cigarette burned (yes!), parts into modern, readable electronic versions. This works well as now when that part goes missing you have a spare instantly. When I have done this in the past there are also sometimes missing parts or illegible sections where Ken spilled his pint of bitter on the part in 1974, but I can usually work out what was originally written through either listening to the recording or from looking at the other parts, kind of like a Jazz detective!

Send me an email if you'd be interested in updating your pad. We'll all thank you for it!

© 2020 Duncan Fraser

Created by myself @ my house