Composers - David Wilken
David Wilken received a Bachelor of Music in composition from Illinois Wesleyan University, a Master of Music in Jazz Studies from DePaul University, and a Doctor of Arts in trombone performance from Ball State University. Dr. Wilken has taught brass and jazz at both Indiana Wesleyan University and Adams State College and he is currently the Coordinator of Jazz Studies at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He also serves as Music Director for the Asheville Jazz Orchestra.
Known for his versatility as a trombonist, Dr. Wilken has performed and recorded with regional ensembles performing jazz (Asheville Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Composers Forum), classical (Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra, Brevard Philharmonic Orchestra), latin (Nuevo Montuno), and pop (Stephanie’s Id, Avett Brothers).
Dr. Wilken also composes and arranges music for jazz ensembles. He has written commissioned compositions or arrangements for the Trinidad High School Jazz Ensemble, Clemson University Jazz Ensemble, Souled Out Band, the Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra and others. The Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra has recorded music by Dr. Wilken on three albums and the
Big Band Charts
Noguiera Amarga was composed for the Northview Middle School Jazz Ensemble in Hickory, NC under the direction of David Wortman. This easy bossa nova is based on a 2 chord vamp that makes an excellent introduction to improvisation for beginning improvisers. Sample solos are provided as are sample chord voicings and bass lines for young players. The lead trumpet goes only up to a written F at the top of the staff and lead trombone up to Eb above the staff. Many of the lines are double across different players and different sections making this chart work well with jazz ensembles short on players.
Blackhawk Blues was composed for the North Buncombe Middle School Jazz Ensemble in Weaverville, NC under the direction of Mary Jo Sparrow. This chart is suitable for grades 6-8. Your lead trumpet should be able to play a G on top of the staff and your lead trombonist should be able to play to F above the staff. Every part has solo changes with the blues scale notated, making this composition a good introduction to improvisation over blues changes in Eb. The rhythm section parts have chord symbols as well as suggested voicings and bass lines notated. There are optional written solos for Eb treble clef, Bb treble clef, and bass clef.
Tyson Tunes Up
Tyson Tunes Up, composed for the Owen Middle School Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Mr. Tyson Hamrick, makes for a great introduction to rhythm changes in concert F for middle school to high school jazz students. The first trumpet player must play up to G on the top of the staff and first trombone to E flat above the staff. There are solo changes for every horn player, written solos for E flat, B flat, and C instruments, and rhythm section suggested voicings and bass lines included.
This Basie-style chart, Li’l Lady, is based on the melody toLi’l Darlin’ and the changes to Lady Bird. It features a solo by the 2nd trombone and a saxophone soli. The lead trumpet has a few D’s above high C. The Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra is performing on this recording.
Cohibas is an Afro-Cuban groove chart in the the Stan Kenton style. This challenging chart features the baritone saxophonist as well as trumpet 2. The lead trumpet part goes up to F# above high C.
The recording is by the Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra.
What Am I Sayin'?
What Am I Sayin’!? is a fun modified blues form tune with challenging stop time breaks. There are solos in the alto 1 and trumpet 2. Alto 1 doubles on soprano saxophone and lead trumpet plays up to an E flat. Included are the solo chord changes for B flat, E flat, and concert
pitch to make it easy to open this chart up for more soloists.
A Kneezy Waltz
Composer David Wilken was inspired to write “A Kneezy Waltz” for the Asheville Jazz Orchestra while recovering from knee surgery, hence the strange title. This bright jazz waltz offers a fun challenge for the college level band.
Each of the horn sections get a chance to play solis during this chart. Solos are in the second trumpet, lead trombone, and drum set. The lead trumpet part goes up to D above high C.
Composed to capture the bittersweet feeling of moving away, “Leaving” is a swing ballad that features your trombone soloist, who must play a C above high B flat.
The lead trumpet, who must play up to D above high C, also has a brief written solo.
“Snipe Hunt” is a modified blues shuffle loosely based on the changes to Wayne Shorter’s “Witch Hunt.” It features solos in the 3rd trombone and baritone saxophone and a fun horn soli without rhythm section accompaniment.
The lead trumpet part has a couple of Es above high C.
Almost Every Monday
Almost Every Monday was composed to celebrate the Monday night big band tradition. This Basie-style chart features bass (or any rhythm section player) and trumpet 2 on solos.
The sax section gets to play an extended soli, followed by an understated tutti chorus ending with a climactic shout. The lead trumpet player will need to play a couple of E’s above high C and a written F# above high C for the final chord.
Danza De La Verde
Danza de la Verde is a medium difficult level latin chart, playable by college level bands. It is written mainly in a cha cha groove, but has a couple of sections of tango as well. Although written as a concert chart, Danza de la Verde also works as a dance number too.
The first tenor saxophone and second trombone are featured in a duet and with improvised solos. The lead trumpet part goes up to D above high C.
“The Rocket” is a fun college level big band chart, with solo opportunities up front for a rhythm section player and in the middle for tenor sax 1, trumpet 2, or trombone 1.
The changes are reminiscent of “St. Thomas” while the arranging has some Sammy Nestico and Thad Jones influences. Your lead trumpet should have an E above high C, with a couple optional higher notes.