A few days ago, I finished writing the last arrangement for an upcoming recording session for Godfrey and Guy's You and the Night album. Now that I've finished the arrangements, I've been learning my own parts. We perform most often as a voice/guitar duo, so there's usually not much for me to keep track of, but this album will include bass, drums, trumpet, and tenor sax.
The more I play this music, the more pleased I am with what I wrote. (This isn't always the case!) Most of my guitar parts involve simple comping, but I've written sections where the trumpet, sax, and guitar play unison and harmonized lines together. After literally getting up to speed on my own parts, I began playing them with a MIDI file that I created as a practice tool. The MIDI playback sounds very stiff compared with the way live musicians would play, but it's a great way of getting a sense of how it will feel to play my part with the full ensemble.
I'm having fun playing with the robotic MIDI file, and I can't wait to put this together with live musicians! Tomorrow I'm working with Lori and our bass player, Mark. We'll use this time for Lori to get used to the arrangements while Mark and I work out good grooves for each song. If the rhythm section is strong, we'll have a better chance of having a smooth rehearsal with the horn players.
This is such an exciting project! We'll rehearse with the full group in just over a week, and then we'll hit the studio a week after that. In writing the arrangements, the music was all in my head, but it's about to get real!
- Tom Godfrey
- Atlanta, GA, United States
- When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995, served as Director of Music at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation from 2011 to 2017, and currently serve as Contemporary Band Director at the same congregation.