Welcome to the official website of the Anthony Terpstra Seventet Charts Library.
This site exists to help make work happen for musicians around the world, just as the charts were all originally written to make work happen for my bands in Toronto.
I have led Starlight Orchestra, a professional working big band, in Toronto since 1988. We do old “Hits of the Big Band Era” type shows, Rat Pack shows, ballroom dance events, all entertainment derived from the Great American Standards songbook. What we do on a gig is not Jazz as we usually refer to it; it is entertainment that comes from the same place jazz comes from and is played by jazz musicians who have the unique skill sets required.
In the year 2000 a friend of mine who I did big band arranging for was going on a tour of Australia and asked me to write a few 7 piece band features for him to take on the tour. I did them and they came out great and as a bonus were so little work compared to a big band chart. I started writing the charts continuously; for every big band chart I would then do a Seventet version and it was a process of discovery, how the sounds combined, all the voicings and possibilities.
I soon realized that the Seventet had all the flavor and tone colors of the big band, sort of the pared down essence. It was also way more affordable: half the money that the big band needs. Also there is the question of stage space required. I get asked about the big band all the time where there is just not the room for the set up and the Seventet works perfectly. It is the best sounding working unit to feature singers of standards for a reasonable budget. It is a big band in a small format.
Why 4 horns? 2 horns is a certain sound that you can’t get past. 3 horns is better but you are writing around the hole in the harmony and your trumpet player is going to get blown out fast. 4 horns there is no hole in the harmony, suddenly you have options for tenor lead or bone lead for different colors and to let the trumpet rest. With the 2 saxes you have the richness of baritone sax on the bottom, the options of alto, 2 flutes and 2 clarinets, which paired up with mutes in the brass it is a really broad color pallet.
The writing went in directions that surprised me. A lot of counterpoint came out and many charts are more like string quartet writing more then big band writing.
At first I was lowering keys and changing lead lines so that the book was not that hard on the trumpet player but, here in Toronto we have excellent strong musicians and after a while the charts became more demanding. The idea always was that the band should be able to play a 4 hour gig and not blow out the brass players. For the last number of years trumpet player Alex Kundakcioglu has anchored the band and sets a really high standard that I have come to rely on. At the same time the writing has became more detailed and demanding. For amateur players this can be a real workout.
My ideal gig format is 2 hours of easy dancing with just the band, then a dynamic high powered hour long feature show. We do the Rat Pack, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, my girl trio the Sparklettes, 4 or 5 different guy singers and girl singers, all excellent Toronto pros. Featured guy entertainer with the 3 girls for backup and features is a great show.
Seventet playing is more difficult then big band playing. The 4 horns are exposed yet have to blend and you don’t have neighbors to lean on. But when you get past the notes and really play as a unit, it is fantastic, nimble and lean with a big rich sound. For drummers it is the best of both worlds. You have well defined musical architecture so it is in essence big band playing, yet it is at a small band volume level with small band responsiveness and shading.
I have written charts for people all around the world but this site is the first and only place where all my Seventet charts are listed and available. There are almost 900 now, more being added all the time. Buy my charts! Sell your band! Make more work happen for musicians where you live. Entertain people, give them real value for their money; keep the Great American Songbook of Standards alive as the basis for entertainment!