Amazing Grace (VJCP105-LS)
Words by John Newton
(as set to the folk song New Britain)
arr. by Russell Schmidt
This product is available for download (in .pdf format) immediately after purchase. Please note that once payment for any VJC Publication download is received and the transaction completed, no refund or cancellation is possible.
VJCP105-LS – Lead Sheet, which includes copies of the arrangement in concert pitch (both treble and bass clef versions), Bb transposition, and Eb transposition.
Description: A centuries-old Christian hymn, Amazing Grace remains one of the most recognizable and frequently-performed songs of all time in the English-speaking world. With enduring themes of forgiveness and salvation, it has long provided comfort and hope to the despairing.
First published in 1779, the words to Amazing Grace were originally written in 1772 by Anglican clergyman and English poet John Newton. Just over a half-century later, American composer William Walker set those words to a folk song known as New Britain. It is that version of Amazing Grace that continues to be performed today.
In the autumn of 2020, Valley Jazz Cooperative Director Russell Schmidt wrote two completely different arrangements of Amazing Grace for MSW Ministries’ Amazing Grace Project. (Visit MSW.org/AmazingGraceProject to learn more about this initiative.) The first arrangement written is the one presented here: a substantially-reharmonized treatment of the hymn. Schmidt refers to this arrangement as the Big3 version, not because it was originally performed by a piano trio, but because it makes abundant use of hemiola effects (in this case, shaping the rate of harmonic rhythm on a larger scale).
As to the groove, while the indication at the top of the part simply states “Str. 8ths”, bassists should tend toward playing half notes in the construction of their (accompanying) lines. Drummers, on the other hand, have a wider variety of options, supporting the music with anything from an ECM-style approach to neo-soul influences. Explore what feel might work best with your group.
VJCP105-LS includes four copies of the arrangement in lead sheet form. There are two parts in concert pitch (treble and bass clef versions), as well as Bb transposition and Eb transposition parts. Although first recorded for the Amazing Grace Project by a trio, this arrangement will also sound great when performed by a jazz quartet or quintet.
This arrangement is of intermediate-to-advanced difficulty.
While an excerpted audio sample is provided here at the VJC Store, complete recordings of many VJC Publications (including this one) can be found on YouTube HERE. And hear more from this pianist/composer/arranger be visiting Russell Schmidt's YouTube page.
Please note: The VJC will never pursue payment of synchronization rights from middle schools, junior high schools, high schools, community colleges, universities, all-state ensembles, church groups, or independent educational programs for young people related to the posting of recorded performances of this work on YouTube or other, similar sites (including social media platforms). While sharing the .pdf files is not permitted, sharing your musical performance online is.
All proceeds from sales of VJC Publications go directly to fund the educational programs of the Valley Jazz Cooperative. The Valley Jazz Cooperative is an outreach of MSW Ministries, a 501(c)(3) organization.
Amazing Grace (Big3 vers.)
For any invoice-based transactions (required by district purchasing policies), please contact Russell Schmidt directly.