Review


Samuel A. Ward
America the Beautiful:

Arranged by Tom Senff

4 tenor, 1 bass trombone, rhythm section

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2019
URL: http://www.cherryclassics.com

Score and parts

Genre: TROMBONE ENSEMBLES

Celebrated jazz arranger and composer Tom Senff brings us this new setting of America the Beautiful. After an eight-measure intro, the tune is stated as a syncopated chorale. The rhythm section takes the next chorus as a piano feature and is followed by a shout chorus from the quintet. A direct modulation from A-flat major to F major sets the harmony for an open solo section for any trombone player (changes in the third part). The traditional D.S. al Coda concludes the form with a restatement of the chorale section.

Ranges are manageable with the first part ascending to c2 and the bass trombone down to F. Harmonic intonation in the chorale section and style matching in the shout section are the obvious technical considerations. There are tricky slide position issues in the shout section that can be overcome with slow practice. Rhythm section parts are straight forward.

This is a brilliant setting of a traditional American tune. It is accessible by a good high school level group and offers everyone the opportunity to show off command of technical and improvisation skills.

Reviewer: David Stern
Review Published June 16, 2020