Salt River Brass presents "The Great American Songbook"
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THE SONGBOOK With this background, the opportunity to visit compositions by Cole Porter and George Gershwin as well as the writing teams of Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe and Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart was a love affair from the start. Getting to recreate the classic sounds of Nelson Riddle and Billy Byers as well as performing pieces by modern big band writers like John Clayton, Wycliffe Gordon and Bill Reichenbach was a thrill and a wonderful style trip for a brass band. Dan Bukvich, Sam Pilafian and I all contributed ballad arrangements that made perfect settings for Harry to weave his sonic imagination! The journey to work with Harry on these particular songs with this band of great musicians was pure joy! I hope you enjoy listening to this music as much as we enjoyed making it!
YOU’D BE SO NICE TO COME HOME TO - C. Porter
ALL OF ME - G. Marks & S. Simons, arr. B. Byers, orch. P. Sheridan
AND SO IT GOES - B. Joel, arr. P. Sheridan
NICE TO MEET YOU - J. Clayton, arr. P. Sheridan
LOVE IS HERE TO STAY - G. Gershwin, arr. N. Riddle, orch. P. Sheridan
LOVER MAN - J. Davis, R. Ramirez, & J. Sherman, arr. J. Cortner
ON THE STREET WHERE YOU LIVE - A. J. Lerner & F. Loewe, arr. J. Nowak, orch. P. Sheridan
LAURA - D. Raksin, arr. D. Bukvich
DONNA LEE - C. Parker, arr. B. Reichenbach, orch. P. Sheridan
MY FUNNY VALENTINE - R. Rodgers & L. Hart, arr. S. Pilafian
ST. LOUIS BLUES - W. C. Handy, arr. W. Gordon
ANGEL EYES - M. Dennis & E. Brent, arr. S. Pilafian
HAPPY - P. Williams, arr. D. Bukvich, orch. P. Sheridan
THE SOLOIST I have known Harry Watters for nearly 20 years. In that time, I've seen him perform with the U.S. Army Band in numerous capacities from soloist to chamber musician and from jazz band to concert band. When you find out that Harry Watters is the son of rocket scientists, it is no surprise that his trombone playing is fueled with an energy that burns brightly in the musical galaxy. Harry is basically Red Bull• with skin. His effervescent personality is ever present in his up tempo improvisations, and his zeal for life is the fabric that makes his ballad playing so touching. As the Salt River Brass evolved into a professional-level community ensemble, Harry was always on my list of favorites to invite as a guest soloist. His first appearance with the band in 2010 was kismet. Harry was an instant favorite with the band and the audience, and we've been lucky to work with him several times since then.
THE BAND During my early years as a soloist I was fortunate to travel to Europe frequently to perform with wonderful brass bands and concert bands. The most memorable parts of these trips - beyond the outstanding musicianship of the members - was witnessing the care and nurturing the conductors and musicians gave to each organization to make them function. I was struck that musicians came together with great fervor not only for the joy of making music but also for the purpose of enriching culture in their towns. As a traveling musician for more than 25 years, I yearned for an opportunity to do the same for my community. The work I've been fortunate to do with the Salt River Brass has been a wonderful musical home in between world tours. While the organization started out as a British-style brass band, it is now an American hybrid brass band with horns (and sometimes mellophones) instead of alto horns and trumpets occasionally instead of cornets. And when we play jazz ... sousaphones instead of tubas can be seen and heard!
One of the hallmarks of the band's performance history is its commitment to being fluent in many musical styles. While the majority of the music performed each year is classical, the Salt River Brass has been presenting a big band themed show every season for more than 15 years. This show brings sell-out crowds for concerts with great jazz artists from the Phoenix area like Joe Corral, Margo Reed and Bill Moio as well as internationally-renowned artists like Rex Richardson and Harry Watters. Growing up in a house where dance music was played everyday, I heard the orchestras of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Woody Herman and Stan Kenton fronted by the greatest singers of the 20th century like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. This is woven deeply into my musical DNA. Harry's roots run through history's best trombonists and the birthplace of jazz, New Orleans.
-Patrick Sheridan Producer, Performer, Arranger and Conductor