||"The Luckiest Ones" was written in 2010 by Eric Schmitz. Commissioned by Russell Scarbrough for the Roberts Wesleyan Jazz Ensemble in 2010.
This piece is in a contemporary straight-eighths style (think “ECM”) and was written as a feature for the lead trumpet player. After a brief ensemble introduction, lead trumpet plays the mid-range melody with rhythm section, followed by a reiteration of the melody with harmonization from the ensemble. A transition features free motivic soloing (pitches notated) for the entire trumpet and sax sections, leading into a modal tenor solo. The tenor solo has lots of open space, building gradually, and holds dramatic potential for a creative soloist. There is a brief notated solo piano interlude, followed by a smooth, minimalistic sax section line, over which lead trombone plays a melodic motive. This leads to an alto solo, over the chord changes of the melody (in a different key). The alto solo builds into a high-note restatement of part of the melody, allowing the lead trumpet player to display his/her prowess up to a written G (4th ledger line above the staff). The piece concludes with more free motivic soloing in the saxes and trumpets.
If you have a strong lead trumpet player, this piece should work well for your band. The other horn and rhythm section parts are not particularly difficult.
The tenor solo section works fine for an “ear” player. The alto solo requires some solid harmonic knowledge.
The short free motivic solo sections for trumpets and saxes provide a great chance for shy future soloists to hone their craft, while their fellow horn players do the same.