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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the 1950s in high school, we played in dance bands. These bands are configured like abbreviated big bands, 4333, typically, but the repertoire is different. Instead of swing classics by Goodman, Dorsey, etc., we played so-called "stock" arrangements of popular tunes from that era and before. Tunes made popular by Tony Bennett, Kay Starr, Joni James, and so on. Waltzes, fox trots, jitterbugs, the occasional mambo or samba.

The arrangements are written to fit whatever instrument configuration you can get together by downsizing, and they are relatively easy to play.

Think of the band in the movie "Picnic."

I haven't seen a book like that in years. Whatever happened to dance bands?

(A rhetorical question, I know.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Transcriber-arranger said:
These small big-band groups (4-3-3-3) are harder to find, but they're still around in almost every geographical area, particularly in the USA and Australia. I know of a couple in the metropolitan Washington, DC, area...

The 4-3-3-3 arrangements that you describe are called "stock arrangements" and are printed on an odd-sized paper known as octavo...

There's even a website devoted to locating stock arrangements.

Let me know if you need more information.
Yep, that's what I remember. You even have the geography right. I grew up in the DC area and that's where we played.

Do you recall the URL of that website? A google search didn't turn it up. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
SOTSDO said:
Your sidemen will hate the tunes, by the way. The old Warrington arrangements are written to work well with any instrumentation, at the price of being bland as hell, and the tunes themselves are a bit on the "dated" side. There are often clarinet doubles, and most of them seem to have about two choruses too many.
Actually, the sidemen will love it, believe it or not. What you describe is perfect. There is a band here of elderly people that plays regularly at nursing homes and retirement communities. They have very few charts. Many of them don't read so well any more. The instrumentation is constantly changing because, well, the musicians are rather old, too, some of them older than the audience members, and they make do with whomever shows up. They often call me to fill in with whatever critical instrument isn't going to be there that day, usually piano, trumpet or bass.

I believe in being nice to old people. With luck, I'll get to be one. Sooner than I want to.

Thanks for the link.
 
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