The Arranger

Arrangers are my heroes.                                                                                                                      A gifted and artful arranger can take an aus­tere piece of mun­dane music and turn it into pure magic while an arranger of dimin­ished skills can bleed the life right out of a mas­terful com­po­si­tion. Throughout my career, I have had the plea­sure to play many classic arrange­ments by many of the all-time geniuses of the craft, including Nelson Riddle, Johnny Mandel, Thad Jones, Henry Mancini, Billy Byers, Bill Holman, Gordon Jenkins, Sammy Nes­tico, Billy May and Bob Flo­rence, to name a very small sam­pling. More than that, I have been blessed to work on a reg­ular basis with the most bril­liant mas­ters of the pen the musical globe has ever known, namely Bob Mintzer, Gil Gold­stein, Bob Mann, Edd Kale­hoff, Robert Miller, Rob Mathes, to name but a few. Recently, I had the cov­etable good for­tune to work for one of my very favorites and a true paragon of the trade, the great Rob Mounsey. With even greater for­tune, it was for one of my/our favorite artists ever, his emi­nency, Mr. James Taylor.

w/the great Rob Mounsey; James Taylor ses­sion — NYC — 5.13.14

The James Taylor ses­sions for Rob reminded me how extra­or­di­narily impor­tant arrangers are, how they are often under rec­og­nized, some­times under appre­ci­ated and fre­quently under paid. Without arrangers and their genius tal­ents, the music simply wouldn’t come to life. It also reminded me that the elite of this noble craft can make any­thing dance, a sub­lime example being how Rob used the unyielding eupho­nium on one of the JT ses­sions. As if this wasn’t enough to send us all run­ning to the phone to pro­fusely thank and honor our own per­sonal favorite, a master like Rob Mounsey can arrange and enhance music in absolutely any style. You say you want it to sound like Mahler, Basie, James Brown or Taylor, Jay Z, John Philip Sousa, the USC Trojan Marching Band, the Sound of Music or the Sound of Silence, Rob and the true mas­ters will make it happen.   Long live the musical king of the forest, The Arranger.

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