Dave Soldier

Ephemeral music

This is a page with music that I composed or arranged that I can't fit into other categories.


Pop arrangements

Film and TV scores

even odder stuff


I've long made careful transcriptions and arrangements of thorny American unnotated music to make its own kind of piece, trying to keep and accentuate all of the weird and tricky parts.

I love downhome blues and tried to figure out what the syncopated blues rhythms were saying so naturally. So I did lots of these transcriptions, starting in a concert with big band at Gorigo Gomelski's in 1983 where I spread out a Robert Johnson guitar voicing for a big band, which included Robert Palmer, who wrote Deep Blues, on clarinet, and Jonathan Kane on drums. I worked them out as well as I could hear them from then on. They never sound “authentic” but they can make good music.

Preachin' Blues by Robert Johnson
Ugly by Robert Pete Williams, sung by Tiye' Giraud
Moanin' at Midnight by Howlin' Wolf sung by Bobby Radcliffe featuring Lenny Pickett on tenor sax.

Then I applied the same thing to other kinds of unnotated music I love.
Here Comes the King by Raymond Scott (who had a lead sheet I saw thanks to Irwin Chusid) for string quartet and percussion isn't challenging listening, but is fun. Regina Carter played an improvisedsolo.
Water Babies by Wayne Shorter from a Miles version, here featuring Robert Dick on flute with Richard Bona improvising on bass on Jazz Standards on Mars.
In Time by Sly Stone for string quartet.

These aren't really transcriptions, but the Kropotkins bring their own spirit to them
Parchman Farm by Bukka White
Shake 'em on down by Fred MacDowell

Robert Dick / Soldier String Quartet, Jazz Standards on Mars (1997, Enja)
Arrangements by Soldier of "classic jazz" pieces that are not typically performed.
1. India (John Coltrane)
2. Gazzelloni
(Eric Dolphy)
3. Water Babies
(Wayne Shorter)
4. Machine Gun
(Jim Hendrix)
5. Something Sweet, Something Tender
(Eric Dolphy)
6. Sometimes, Perpetually
(Robert Dick)
7. Three Wishes
(Ornette Coleman)

Robert Dick, flutes; Regina Carter, violin; Soldier, violin, metal violin, banjo;, Judith Insell, viola; Dawn Avery cello; Mark Dresser, Kermit Driscoll, Richard Bona, bass; Steve Arguelles, Ben Perowsky, drums, Valerie Naranjo, percussion, vibes

Here are arrangements where I take a lot of liberties with the originals
Gazzeloni by Eric Dolphy, featuring Robert Dick on flute
India by John Coltrane, also with Robert

Loneseome Train is my own in the ensemble parts, but the soloists are mostly playing my transcriptions of Jimi Hendrix solos from Band of Gypsies.

film scores

Antartida (Music by John Cale) arranger, orchestra conductor (1995)
Basquiat (Music by John Cale, for Julian Schnabel) arranger, conductor (1998)
Her Name is Lisa (Music by Dave Soldier for Rachid Kerdouche) arranger, bandleader (1988)
I Shot Andy Warhol (Music by John Cale, for Mary Herron) arranger, orchestra conductor (1997)
Mekong Delta (Music by Dave Soldier for Vanessa Ly) composer, arranger, conductor (2003)
Sesame Street (soundtrack for 6 cartoons for the TV show, Music by Dave Soldier, for Nadia Roden) composer, arranger (2003)
Special Friends (Music by Teo Macero for ABC-TV) violin with Soldier String Quartet (1988)

Dave's "pop" arrangements

David Byrne, string section for touring band
John Cale, numerous film scores and CDs, produced by Joe Boyd
Guided by Voices, two CDs and EPs produced by Ric Ocasek and Rob Schaft
Jonathan Richman, produced by Ric Ocasek
Christina Rosenvinge, produced by Lee Renaldo
Vixtrola, produced by Ric Ocasek

even odder stuff

a radio ID for WFMU and Vicki Bennet's show, People Like Us

Chopin's Minute Waltz played in one hour

Entertaining Science is an ongoing show I help administer in Greenwich Village, founded by Roald Hoffman