dick grove, rob birdwell, composing, arranging, program, CAP, studio city Audio from Rob Birdwell's time as a Dick Grove School of Music Composing and Arranging Program (CAP) student at the age of 20-21.

Until The Real Thing Comes Along

Track Cover Art for Until The Real Thing...

Writing for a trombone section and rhythm section!

Do you see what Dick’s doing here? He’s got us progressing on many levels! We wrote for a sax section, now for a trombone section. The techniques are similar, but saxes and bones are different animals and so the arranger’s approach to writing for their specific sounds will vary. And since Dick knew that any fool can write for trumpets (ha!) it’s only a matter of time before we were writing for a full big band Yep., he had a plan!

What a gorgeous sound these trombones make. It was not an instrumentation I’d ever written for before, but knowing that even the simplest of melodies are going to sound great with trombones it a real gift for any composer/arranger. Sure, one needs to be aware of top-line placement of the lead trombone so the voices can be balanced, but the sound of four trombones is so wonderful.

I’m sure I marveled over this recording for a time and I learned a lot. I recall the joy of popping the cassette tape in to listen to the playback. Have to hand it to the sound engineers, who were also Grove students - they did a great job and went largely unsung, but their work was greatly appreciated by the CAP and vocal students. I like to imagine I baked them cookies or brought in a cake now and then for them - but I probably didn’t.

By now we’d all written for rhythm section, a couple horns, full sax section and now trombone section. We were all learning so much. Our individual styles were starting to emerge. Soon we’d be taking more chances musically and we’d be stretched to our limits and then realize that maybe those limits were no longer limits anymore.