Russell Garcia – The Professional Arranger Composer

A significant number of jazz composers and arrangers I know and admire have credited Russ Garcia and his book, “THE PROFESSIONAL ARRANGER COMPOSER – Book 1” with having had a significant impact on their development as writers. I have owned a copy of this landmark, and hugely influential book for decades. I’ve looked through it casually from time to time, but recently, I spent some quality time revisiting the information-rich pages. I also read the Wikipedia entry for Russell Garcia and learned that he was ‘self taught’. (Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.) Amazing. Not everyone who teaches themselves is so successful (if you don’t know about Garcia’s accomplishments as an arranger/composer, check out the Wikipedia entry at Don’t be fooled by the self-published look of publication. (The text appears to be typed in all caps on a manual typewriter (younger readers might have to look that one up) and the examples appear hand copied with a music pen.) The contents are solid gold. In my teens my parents gave me Henry Mancini’s “Sounds and Scores”. Those two sources were practical and complimentary. The Mancini book is particularly helpful with orchestration, which the Russo text does not address significantly.