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.
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.