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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: Christmas

Harry Connick Jr: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

Harry Connick Jr. is one of my musical heroes. He is the consummate showman, a phenomenal composer and arranger, and one of the best piano players in the world. You throw in the fact that he can sing and act and he can make you depressed pretty quickly.

I just performed a fantastic arrangement of this chart by Bryan Kidd with the American Festival Pops Orchestra. I personally think more Christmas tunes should have a New Orleans street beat.


David Cutler: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

David Cutler is a dear friend and a creative genius.  I hope he doesn't read this because it will go to his head but he is one of those people who seems to always being thinking a couple of steps ahead on the creative front.

Here is his version of "Oh Christmas Tree" for prepared piano which he performed many times when he joined Boston Brass every year for the expanded Christmas lineup.  I always looked forward to his solo performances during every gig.  You never quite know what he is going to come up with.


US Army All-Brass Big Band - A Stan Kenton Christmas: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

Okay this is awesome.  One of the best big bands in the world, minus their saxophones and with some mellophones thrown in for good measure, playing some of the finest charts ever written.  Here is the Stan Kenton Christmas carols arranged by Hoagy Carmichael.

A note on the instrument in the front row: they are mellophones.  The leader pretty much sums them up perfectly when he said, "The mellophone is an instrument of mostly indefinite pitch."


The King's Singers: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

All of the great instrumentalists in the world are simply trying their best to sound like vocalists.  The King's Singers are an impeccable example of blend, ensemble, phrasing, intonation, everything.  They sound like one person singing all of the parts simultaneously. This is a stunning version of The Christmas Song.  It really is remarkable how tight they are.


Monday YouTube Fix: Sam Pilafian, Harry Watters, David Cutler + Dan Hostetler

Andrew Hitz

Happy Holidays everyone! This is some footage from a Boston Brass rehearsal a few years ago.  Sam Pilafian and Harry Watters, two of the best brass players in the world, formed a jazz combo along with their rhythm section friends David Cutler on piano and Dan Hostetler on drums. They played a combo tune as a change of pace during one of our Christmas big band shows.  They came up with the tune and started rehearsing it on the spot.

Watching such amazing musicians work so cohesively at the drop of a hat is truly amazing.  Such groove, lyricism and storytelling.

Happy Holidays and enjoy!