Seven for Brendan (trumpet and tenor sax)
During my junior year of high school, I got to spend a lot of time with the Tenor 1 player in my jazz band. He is an amazing musician, and we had a lot of fun making music together in big band and our jazz combo. He was always interested in trying new things – he would play his parts a half step above the printed notes to annoy the rest of us, and I distinctly remember him saying, “That would sound even better in seven.” When he graduated, though, I realized we’d never once been featured together – we’d never had a chart where it was just the two of us soloing. I decided I was going to write a duet for the two of us to play together.
Seven for Brendan started as just a song for us to play, but it soon became more than that. I began to put the story of our friendship into the music – how we’d always wanted to get along but had trouble reconciling our personalities. We became good friends about midway through the year, and by the end we were making great music together and loving every minute of it. However, at the end of the year, he graduated, leaving me behind in high school.
Seven for Brendan incorporates three major styles of jazz – swing, ballad, and Latin – designed to feel like a jazz band’s entire set. It also develops a close musical relationship between the trumpet and tenor parts. An initially laid-back but gradually building swing section gives way to a slow, bittersweet ballad. The piece culminates in a syncopated Latin section, followed by a return to the initial motive that fades away, leaving only the trumpet to end the piece.
N.B.: Seven for Brendan can be adapted for trumpet/soprano and trumpet/alto as well, though it sits best on tenor.