Tom Davis - Bio
With music degrees from Ithaca College and The Eastman School of Music, Tom Davis has been an educator for 27 years level. He has studied trumpet with Herb Mueller and Vincent DiMartino and has studied jazz improvisation and/or composition with Bill Dobbins, Rayburn Wright, Ramon Ricker, John LaBarbera, Steve Brown, Samuel Adler, Robert Morris, and Dana Wilson.
Tom currently has well over 100 jazz and concert band compositions published with Educational Programs Publications (EPP), Heritage Jazz Works (a division of Lorenz), Kendor Music, and Alfred Music (formerly Warner Brothers Publications), and has been commissioned by schools to write original compositions for their programs including New Trier High School Jazz Ensemble I, directed by Jim Warrick; Conard High School Concert Jazz Ensemble, West Hartford, Connecticut, directed by Scott Porter; Newark High School Jazz Ensemble, David Schwind, Director; The UNCW Jazz Ensemble, Wilmington North Carolina, Directed by Dr, Frank Bongiorno and the
Tom has been active as a conductor and clinician, conducting Honors groups around the USA. Tom is currently the K-12 Music Supervisor of the Canandaigua City School District – Canandaigua, NY – A National Blue Ribbon School and listed as one of the AMC’s top 100 music programs in the country.
Lake Songs is Tom's first release of compositions for contemporary big band with plans for at 2008-2009 release of recent commissions.
About Lake Songs.
I was nearing the end of a flight to New Trier High School in early December ‘04. As we flew over Lake Michigan, I was taken by how the lake sparkled in the sun. As a result, my perspective of land, water, clouds, and the horizon was distorted. When I tried to “find” Chicago on the edge of the lake all I could make out was a cotton candy wisp of clouds where I thought the city should be. As we got closer, I could make out some landmarks but they were all masked by the clouds. Eventually the black silhouette of the Hancock building came to the forefront – the two white communications antennae first – then the skyline. Eventually total clarity took over and we were landing before I knew it. I don’t know why – but this was exhilarating!! Perhaps this was because it was like waking up – perhaps it was because there was some sort of “mystery of the senses” that was eventually solved. I’m not completely sure of the specific trigger, but the sense of moving from cloudiness to clarity was something I just had to write about.
Dot Dot is high-energy Latin tune with a loose connection to Morse code…. S.O.S in particular - where there are 3 shorts, 3 longs, and 3 shorts. The soloist is encouraged to work that into his solo. As a matter of fact, he can spell anything he likes! Imagine someone in the audience that knows the code and can decipher what you are playing! Could be fun - could be dangerous. Just for fun, I included the Morse code alphabet with this packet. There is also a link to a Java Morse Code Translator for added improvisation inspiration! Follow http://morsecode.scphillips.com/jtranslator.html to translate this: ..- ... . / - .... . / .-. .... -.-- - .... -- ... / --- ..-. / - .... .. ... / -.-. --- -.. . / - --- / .- -.. -.. / .. -. - . .-. . ... - / - --- / -.-- --- ..- .-. / ... --- .-.. --- ... .-.-.- / .. / .... --- .--. . / -.-- --- ..- / . -. .--- --- -.-- / .--. .-.. .- -.-- .. -. --. / - .... .. ... / -.-. .... .- .-. - / .- ... / -- ..- -.-. .... / .- ... / .. / .... .- ...- . / . -. .--- --- -.-- . -.. / .-- .-. .. - .. -. --. / .. - .-.-.- ! ~
Earth Song was originally written and accepted for publication by another company. Fortunately, as my own company became more viable, I was able to reclaim the piece for publication through artistShare. This is a piece for a young band that employs some of the elements of Chicago Song such as the 3/4 meter and the Lydian rhythmic devices. The melody is pentatonic and reminiscent of Native American folk song material. As a matter of fact, I originally performed this with a small combo that included male and female voice. They sang a wordless vocal part that referenced the sounds of the Native American Language. This is a great chart for young bands, allowing them to play with confidence, to feel “heroic”, and to improvise with limited harmonic material.
…. So…, one Sunday I was sitting in church and in front of me was this smartly dressed woman. She seemed to be wearing new clothes all nicely pressed. …very neat and together. I was impressed. Then lo and behold, I noticed a small, round, white sticker on the back of her pants that said 43 - as in “Inspected by Number 43” – I couldn’t believe that was there!!! These stickers aren’t usually found on “outer garments”, if you get my drift!!! Espionage and intrigue and what it meant to be “Inspector 43” infiltrated my imagination and led me to write this chart.
Lake Songs I - Swingin ‘on a Swing in the Spring
There are a number of talented visual artists in the Canandaigua area. Among them is photojournalist Rikki Van Camp. During the ‘05-‘06, school year, we launched an arts project at Canandaigua Academy that combined the music of composer/pianist Philip Aaberg with Rikki’s stunning photos of the Canandaigua Lake area. I wrote the Lake Song Suite for my high school jazz ensemble as a parallel activity to Philip’s work. I used three of my favorite photos from Rikki’s collection as my inspiration. (see my website for photos).
Lake Songs I, Swingin on a Swing in the Spring, was inspired by a photo of a young girl swinging her way into the cerulean blue sky, It almost looks as if she’s going to jump off that swing and land on the sun.
Lake Songs II – Slopes and Dots
Rikki's photo of Whiskey Point on Canandaigua Lake was interesting to me because of the shapes and direction of light energy. When the photo was reduced to a black and white graphic image (right), the title came to the surface. The music is meant to trace the shapes of the photo.
Compositionally, the flugelhorn melody is a retrograde, ornamented version of the melody in Movement I. The descending melodies represent the slopes of the hills. The sixteenth note repeated background figures represent the sunlight reflecting on the lake. In the final measures, the flugelhorn plays the “dots” of the trees and clouds.
Lake Songs III Ducks(sss)!
The photo for Ducks(sss)! is of a dark, slate colored sky ominously hovering over a green field dotted with gaggle of pure white domestic ducks. I can’t help but note the juxtaposition of their overtly urgent quaking with the ominously stormy skyline. The opening saxophones are the ducks and the strong bass, bone pedals are the impending storm. This chart is so much fun and a real crowd pleaser.
This piece was initially meant to be something soft and gentle but it took on an energy of its own. I am fond of the B section and how it seems to grow motivically out of the A. In addition, I like the development section from 106 to 126. The lines just seemed to have developed themselves do freely.
Be sure to download the small band version of this when it becomes available and listen to the tracks of Jersey Band performing this at my school. They just happened to be coming through town and I was able to get them to read this down for me. Matt Blanchard plays a great solo on Tenor and Ted Poor offers some alternative ideas on drum set. The small band chart arranged for them is free with purchase and is written for Trumpet, Two Tenors, Bari, Guitar, Piano, Bass and Drums.
The melodic and harmonic material for this piece was generated from the pitch set (G F A D Eb) developed during a theory/composition lecture at Owego Free Academy in March of 2006. I was interested in writing a piece that seemed to come from “no predetermined harmonic ‘space’ and this demonstration-lecture presented the opportunity to being this process. To develop the pitch-set I chose a set of 3 pitches that included intervals that I liked. I used the third pitch as a “hinge” or bridge to the second set of three. In other words, I first chose G, F, A, and next selected A, D, Eb. The construction of this set is: Major 2nd down from G. - A as a hinge - a minor 2nd up from D. The middle 3 notes spell a D minor triad. By re-ordering these pitches into a scale in such that their outside notes form the smallest possible interval - I was able to determine that this was Forte Pitch Class Set 5-24 (01357) or a Phrygian Pentachord - (See http://solomonsmusic.net/pcsets.htm).
To generate a controlled set of transposed pitch sets for use in composing - I processed this pitch-set through a matrix that limited the transpositions to those found in the Prime and Inverted sets beginning on G. As a result, I was able to take advantage of the following new information:
The diagonal of the matrix from top left to bottom right on the matrix is G. I used G as a significant pedal point.
The diagonal from bottom left to top right suggests a “blues-like” melodic fragment.
The prime and retrograde versions of the pitch set generated the d, e, c, g, and f# minor triads.
The inversion and retrograde Inversion variations of the pitch set generated the F, Eb, G, C, and Db Major Triads.
All material for Spaces came from the matrix and I believe the result is a hauntingly beautiful ballad.
Vertigo was written as a head chart for my school improvisation group. The objective was to explore the difference between “A-Bb” and “A-B” when improvising. The piece is characterized by a persistent “front line-like” swing groove, a minimalist harmonic rhythm, and a slowly developing melodic motif that gains momentum throughout the development (ms1-56). The piece is designed to showcase the rhythm section as it establishes an infectious groove. The composition releases built-up energy in the shout section (57) around an explosive series of dotted 1/4 = 1/8th note figures. After an open solo section that gives the improviser ample opportunity to interact with the rhythm section, the piece returns to the beginning as it ramps-up one more time for a final extended shout section at 142.
Please visit my website for more information, sketch score, full scores, scores and parts for all of the music on the CD as well as a robust arsenal of multimedia support for the jazz educator at www.tomdavismusic.com .
About Tom Davis Music Publications on artistShare (www.tomdavismusic.com)
* Download the scores and parts for new works from Tom Davis
* Receive rehearsal advice specific to all compositions
* Watch rehearsals of the compositions as well as receiving an overhead view of the drummer
* Study solos through transcriptions and recordings and interviews
* Practice to rhythm section recordings of the compositions
Welcome to Tom Davis Music Publications where directors and students are able to stand beside the composer as 10 new works are prepared for your Jazz Ensemble. On this site you will have exclusive access to composer and performer rehearsal tips direct from the studio – on the day that these new works were recorded!
Gain access to a robust arsenal of multimedia support including downloadable solo transcriptions, streaming audio and video interviews of session musicians, mp3s of improvised solos, composer tips and conductor rehearsal suggestions.
In addition, each chart in the New Works for Jazz Ensemble 2006 ‘Score and Parts’ series includes a full length overhead video of the drummer’s in-studio session performance. This exciting new ‘Overhead Drum-Cam’ has proven to be an invaluable teaching tool for student set drummers and directors looking for ways to enhance the role of the drummer in the big band setting.
Access all of this material and more by purchasing one of the Score and Parts Participant Offers on this site. Listen to each chart on my Publications page and see which fit your programming needs for this school year.
In the coming months, I will be posting two previously published charts for Jazz Ensemble – FREE – for participants in the New Works 2006 project. ‘On Two Horizons’ (previously published by Kendor Music) and the uncut / unedited version of ‘Bill Bailey’ – previously recorded on the Eastman Jazz Ensemble ‘Hot House Flowers’ CD.
Join the mailing list to receive more information, updates and educational materials as this new series of charts makes its way into the big band repertoire.
In addition, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to find out more about ordering these new charts, commissioning a new work, guest conducting or clinics.