Mi Gata Loca

by Pablo Jennings

For the recorder feature in this issue, I've drawn inspiration from two places. The first is the great writers who gave the Stan Kenton Orchestra its distinctive sound, especially my old friend Dave Barduhn, who is just retiring after many decades as a great writer and jazz educator. (Do I feel older, or what?!) The other inspiration is our own gata loca, Frankie Blue Eyes, a cave dweller, a crazy climber, and a conqueror of stuffed animals large and small.

The tune itself is modal and Latin flavored, with two sections: relaxed and fiery. The tune is based on the notes G, A, and C for the recorder, though if you would like to use the song as a reinforcement for the note A, you could play the entire tune on just A using the rhythms provided.

If you have never explored big band jazz with your classes, this tune may give you a good opening. Things to consider:

  • The Sections of the Band - There are four basic ones: rhythm section, trumpets, trombones, and saxes. Listen for what each did. What instruments are in the rhythm section? (This tune used piano, bass, guitar, drums, and a separate percussionist.)
  • The History of Big Bands - There have been the equivalent of these bands from the 1920s till today. Use the links on our web site to sample some of the highlights and even download our Jazz Timeline and other jazz education resources.

Also online you will find the condensed piano/recorder score for this tune. – PJ

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.