Are You Washed In The Blood Orchestration

Featuring Brad Henderson Posted on August 4, 2010

I enjoy writing for horns. I played trombone and baritone horn through most of my college days in various degrees of band world; marching, concert and jazz. Everyone has their "favorite stuff" and I listened to and played a great deal of Chicago and Earth, Wind and Fire, Tower of Power as well as Oliver Nelson and Bob Brookmeyer in my formative years. I often refer to these influences as I'm taking a old hymn and attempting to breath a fresh puff of inspirational air into it. This is a frequent and favorite pastime of mine.

I was recently asked to create a new instrumental feature for a special event at FBC Tulsa, which is like saying, "Sic 'em!" to a bulldog. I started dreaming of musical feels not often heard in church music circles and settled in on the old hymn Are You Washed In The Blood combined with a New Orleans street beat.

We had been refining this one for three or four weeks when my saxophonist Gary said, "Ya know. It wouldn't take much to turn this into a dixieland thing." So, this last Sunday, when we got to the solo section at letter C (refer the the chart), guitar dude Pat took two choruses, one just he and the drums wailing away on that New Orleans vibe, 2nd time, with the written horn figures as backgrounds. Then Gary reached over and busted out his clarinet. The "no-holds-barred" dixieland freakout from Heaven was on in full force. What a blast to celebrate our salvation with some of the happiest music I've ever had the pleasure of playing!

Understanding not every church has a "Gary" I will say the arrangement works really well without the dixieland option but I felt it was certainly worth mentioning.