Basics In Jazz Arranging, now published by Hal Leonard Corporation documents fully the journey one travels when first learning to arrange in the jazz style. For 25 years the text I used in beginning jazz arranging classes at University of North Texas, Basics has proven itself a valuable resource.

Writing music is a fascinating journey, one that should always reap emotional profits both for the composer/arranger and for those that perform and enjoy the music. Whether in a classroom setting or individual study, Basics in Jazz Arranging is a guide through the essential elements of successful writing, chapter by chapter, as follows:

1. Making profitable and efficient use of one’s time and creativity is the “name of the game." Chapter One leads the reader through the process - how and where to start, and more.

2. Having chosen a tune to arrange, its melody must be treated sensitively (whatever the sub-style) for the rest of the journey to be worthwhile. After choosing a performing ensemble, we select the best key and style (whatever area of jazz and/or pop) and create an outline the project so that our time is well spent. (This outline is a beginning, and is amended as we work!)

3. Harmony then enters the picture, serving carefully to enhance the product, and individualize our work. Decisions on how much of the original harmony to use or amend is a sensitive issue, since over-writing will compromise our work.

4. Composition is always present, whether in one’s original music or in the process of arranging. When we compose, we then arrange; when we arrange other composers’ music, we use the compositional process to enhance the product without altering unnecessarily the composer's original music.

5. Whatever the size and makeup of the performing ensemble, we search for the best idiomatic treatment of the music we arrange and/or orchestrate, including our own compositions! At some point by now, the act of transcribing proves itself quite profitable! Transcribing 16 - 32 bars from the recording of an arrangement the arranger has learned to love awakens ear to sounds and rhythms that excite the ear! Allowing these "new sounds" to enter one's chart without actually "stealing" is an exciting area of one's growth.

6. We then focus on giving the rhythm section (small or large) the information they need for the best possible performance. Having spent time listening to great recordings, we become more and more sensitive to awakening of creativity in our own minds.

7. And finally, we make sure that the written product is accurate, with as professional an appearance as possible. Once a written project leaves our venue, it represents us forever!

Basics in Jazz Arranging comes with a CD containing recordings of the music used in each chapter.