Viewing entries tagged
jazz trombone songs

Pop and Jazz, a Marriage since the birth of the Music - Stevie Wonder Cover - Overjoyed

Too many amazing musicians have been leaving us as of late, and it has made me think about trying to show these musicians our love and appreciation while they can still receive it! Most recently we lost the genius of Prince - but another one of the greatest songwriters of the second half of the 20th century is still going strong, and I hope we can continue to appreciate him while he’s still with us! The man I’m talking about is the amazing Stevie Wonder.

The new video for this week features one of my all time Stevie Wonder favorites: “Overjoyed.” I’ve recorded this once before in a duo setting with my good friend and pianist Chris Ziemba. I’ve also played it on tour all over the country in the quartet setting, and it is always a treat to perform. 

In this arrangement I’ve taken the usual format of the song, and put a new spin on it. Changing the meter and adding some additional harmonies, I think this tune translates fantastically across genre boundaries. To me, this song has all the same great melodic qualities of tunes written by the great song writers of the first half the 20th century. Strong melodies and harmonic shapes that lend themselves to be interpreted in a multitude of ways. Stevie Wonder is right up there with Gershwin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, etc.

This video features the great musicianship of my longtime collaborators Jimmy Macbride, Chris Ziemba, and Dave Baron. I hope you enjoy!

Let me know what you think of this in the comments, and if you like what you hear, share with your friends! 

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Nick Finzer - Songs & Stories Quartet - Maria (Leonard Bernstein) from West Side Story

Maria by Leonard Bernstein; arranged by Nick Finzer

In addition to my band Hear&Now Ive been working on a number of other projects, that not only feature my original music, but some arrangements I’ve done of other peoples music. The concept for my latest quartet project - the Songs & Stories quartet - is to reimagine and recreate some iconic pieces from the jazz repertoire as well as music that has a connection to my life. 

The new video that Im sharing today, features one of these pieces that has been influential on my musical development. This video is an arrangement I did of Leonard Bernsteins composition Maria from the musical West Side Story.

Featuring: Chris Ziemba (piano), Dave Baron (bass) and Jimmy Macbride (drums)

This song has stayed with me since the beginning of my musical upbringing. Some of my earliest memories of elementary school music classes I have include watching the movie version of West Side Story. While I was in middle school, my main focus wasnt actually trombone, but singing. When I was in 7th grade I performed “Maria as part of a musical theatre-themed choir concert. At the time, having a solo piece in the midst of this choir concert seemed like a big deal! And my family remembers it as one of the important moments in my musical beginnings. 

When I was brainstorming repertoire for this new project, I wanted to include music that has a strong personal story connection - and this one certainly has that. There have been a few jazz renditions of this tune (notably by Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond), but I think we presented a new take on this beautiful song. If you enjoy the video, I hope youll share it with your communities, and be sure to let me know what you think in the comments section! 

Until next time, 

- Nick

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Solo Jazz Trombone Videos - Started this week!

Greetings All!

I wanted to take a chance to share with everyone, my latest project! I've started a YouTube video series that will feature some solo trombone arrangements of some of my favorite tunes from jazz composers.

The first one features a composition by the great JJ Johnson, his tune

Judy

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Judy

 was originally recorded by JJ along with Kai Winding on "The Great Kai and JJ" released on Impulse! in 1961.

The arrangement is pretty simple - and opening melodic statement followed by a few improvised choruses and the melody restated. Hope you enjoy! Please do leave feedback in the comments section of the YouTube video, and subscribe to the channel to see the next video!

See ya next time! Happy Superbowl Sunday!

- Nick

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