Here's the last of the big assignments (the others were a Sax Soli and a Brass Shout Chorus) from last semester's jazz arranging course at SDSU, an original composition with a three-horn arrangement.

I chose a key out of the blue: Ab major. I wrote a melody sort of in that key, using rhythms and phrases that might sound good with three horns in my head. As I went about assigning chord symbols, I immediately strayed from my starting key, which was fine because I only wanted the key center to give me a framework for writing the complete melody first. I ended up tweaking parts of the chords and melody with Professor Helzer's help to get them to fit just right.

Once the meat of the tune was composed in lead sheet form, it was time to color the melody with two more horns. I chose to write for alto sax, tenor sax, and trombone. Most of the three-horn arrangements we were studying at the time were from Horace Silver and Herbie Hancock, so we were getting some fascinating sounds, beyond just grabbing a few notes from the chord symbol. I composed all the horn parts on my guitar, as it's easy for me to see the chord shapes and recognize which intervals I could reuse.

The title is a quote from one of our wise overlords. In September 2010, a Florida pastor announced plans to burn copies of the Qur'an on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. There was a media frenzy. Barack Obama condemned the plans and stated on news shows that the event would be a "recruitment bonanza for al-Qaeda." This was on my mind as I was writing the tune, and the concept I was after was a futile, depressed, hopeless wish that one man's silly demonstration were the biggest impetus driving otherwise peaceful people to violence.

Here's the full score.

Here are all the parts:
Alto Sax
Tenor Sax

Here's the recording, performed by Jesse Audelo on alto, Joel Ginsberg on tenor, Dan Reagan on trombone, myself on guitar, Kris Korsgaden on piano, Douglas Welcome on bass, and Isaac Crow on drums.