"New Blood" - Youngblood Brass Band

"New Blood" (PDF) from the Youngblood Brass Band album, Word On The Street.
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Within the liner notes of this album, the band discusses the importance of a brass band having its own unique sound, and "New Blood," the album's opening tune, was the first time many people heard this fresh sound.  For me, I saw the band in performance first and went home from the show with this album in my hand.  It was my first real exposure to the music of New Orleans, albeit from the other end of the Mississippi River in the northern land of Wisconsin.  As the liner notes suggest, Youngblood Brass Band is a melting pot of gospel, jazz, latin, Afro-Cuban, and hip-hop rhythms.

What I really admire about the Youngblood compositions is the variety of melodic rhythms and how they somehow all fit together like a the pieces of a puzzle to form an original call-and-response groove that will shake your rump.  This is the reason why I go through the trouble of transcribing the melodies of a tune along with the trombone solos.  Within the melodies are ideas that have been carefully composed and will hopefully also inspire your improvisations.

The trombone solo appears to be played by Matt Miller and makes use of 16-bars to build some unique phrases.  Notice how within each 4-bar phrase there is a melodic arch, a walk up the scale and an eventual walk back down, sometimes chromatically.  It is a simple idea, but it makes clear use of syncopated rhythms and sitting on one note to create tension within the phrase.  There is a remarkable amount of tension naturally within a scale so that altering its rhythm or including a few passing tones is enough to make the resolution so much more gratifying. Thus, do not fight the music that is already there, instead give it some space and let the melody dance on its own.

It's nice to know that Youngblood Brass Band still rocks this tune more than ten years later.  Here is a YouTube video of a recent performance in Paris.

Recommended Reading: Exercises And Etudes For The Jazz Instrumentalist by J.J. Johnson.  Published by Hal Leonard.