Pick Six By:

Jennifer-Parker-200pxJennifer Parker

Repertoire & Resources Chair for Jazz Choirs
MacNally Smith College of Music


Holiday Carols I

Various Arrangers

Sound Music Publications SMP08-065

SATB, a cappella

There are three collections of Holiday Carols available from Sound Music Publications. Each one of them contains standard holiday fare arranged in new, creative ways. There is a broad range of styles and levels of difficulty included. Some have just a hint of jazz nuance and others commit all the way. There is something for every choral situation. Each collection contains around 15 carols so one packet provides years of choice material from some of the country’s finest arrangers.

Crazy in Love

Beyoncé Knowles, Rich Harrison, Shawn Carter, Eugene Record arr. Kerry Marsh


SSA with chord chart piano and notated bass and drums

This fun arrangement is based on the Puppini Sisters’ adaptation of Beyonce’s #1 hit.

Changed to an upbeat swing feel in the gypsy jazz style, this is a great vehicle for introducing close chord voicing. It is mostly homophonic with a solo section for improvisation and a bluesy word solo in the middle. It is also a great opportunity to include a fiddle and guitar student to the mix. Perfect for the audience or student body that is new to jazz!

Make Someone Happy

Adolph Green, Betty Comden arr. Matt Falker

Sound Music Publications SMP08-032

SSA or SAB, a cappella

In this arrangement, Matt Falker was able to create lush, full sounding jazz harmonies with fewer voices while maintaining great voice leading. This chart could be used with an advanced middle school group or high school ensemble.  As part of the Great American Song Book, it fits equally well on the Jazz or Choral concert program. It includes a lovely soprano solo. Everyone from Doris Day and Judi Garland to Aretha Franklin and The Supremes has recorded Make Someone Happy, making it a wonderful musical and historical teaching tool.

Freedom is a Voice

Bobby McFerrin and Russell Ferrante, arr. Tim Buchholz

Sound Music Publications SMP09-067

SATB with notated rhythm section parts (piano, bass, drums)

This arrangement encompasses everything you would expect from a Bobby McFerrin experience; worldly scat syllables, improvisation, beautiful melodic content, lush harmonies and groove-based spirituality. The syllable choices flow easily and the ending has a gospel-like feel to it. It would make a great song to incorporate into a circle song experience with your choirs or your audiences! With its catchy phrasing and inspiring word content, it makes a wonderful closer. I have used this chart with high level ensembles and with a few choirs of various ability at one time by splitting up the more difficult sections between them and bringing them together on the repetitive ending section.

Love You Madly

Duke Ellington, Jed Scott, Beth Bright arr. Jed Scott

UNC Jazz Press VJ2247

SSATB, rhythm section partially notated, 2 Tpt, Tbn, T. Sax.

This is a hard-swinging Duke Ellington classic! There are opportunities for soloists of any voice type and great room for improvisation. It includes a very clever shout chorus and over a dozen other Duke Ellington quotes throughout the arrangement. It is a wonderful opportunity for a Jazz History listening lesson about the Duke. The horn parts are fabulous so your band directors will be happy to be on board. I have used this with All-State Vocal Jazz ensembles and honors choirs. It is challenging, but it is so much fun the students won’t realize how hard they are working!


Brian Eichenberger arr. Jeremy Fox


SAATBB a cappella

This groove based song crosses over beautifully into contemporary a cappella, incorporating vocal percussion and an “instrumental” bass vocal line. It features a tenor solo throughout. It provides a great opportunity to work on your ensemble’s sense of time and rhythmic interpretation. The students will instantly relate to its modern sound while still being challenged by jazz elements.