Had the opportunity to play with some of my favorite musicians this morning at a church in North Denver. I was asked to arrange a version of the hymn We’re Marching to Zion, which was a lot harder than I originally thought it would be. Take a listen here:
Even though I’ve arranged a decent amount of hymns over the last few years, I find that it takes me a long time to get the arrangement to sound they way I want. The reason why it’s so difficult to arrange these songs (for me anyways) is because of the way they were originally written. Most of the traditional hymns that I use put the melody and bass note together in various times during the song. And unless you want the arrangement to sound like this, it’s my job as an arranger to change the chords/bass line/groove/etc (my apologies to anyone who actually clicked that link) and let people hear a familiar song in a different way. My version of different in this case was a straight ahead jazz tune in 3 that featured a few “weird” chords but still supported the traditional melody.
Playing with these musicians is always fun and they made this arrangement sound better than it actually is! Hope you enjoy it!