[6/23/16] Album Update

Mixing and Mastering are done. The Expensive Train Set is at Origin Records with artwork underway! The album should be out in September. Here are a few teasers.

I have had a lot of fun mixing my time between writing on my TV show Trollhunters, and doing my day job of orchestrating and conducting. We are about halfway through the first season, which will drop in December.

It was a great pleasure to work with composer Justin Hurwitz and producer Marius De Vries conducting the orchestra and choir for La La Land. La La is a new musical from director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash).TD La La

June 25th sees the release of Independance Day Resurgence. It was great to work with composers Harald Kloser and Thomas Wander, conducting the orchestra. And finally we have also just finished working on Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Was a pleasure to orchestrate and conduct the score for composers Mathew Margeson and Mike Higham.

Next up is Dreamwork’s Trolls for Chris Beck and CHiPs for Fil Eisler.




Finally it has been announced by Dreamworks and Netflix: Trollhunters, from Guillermo Del Toro. I have been hard at work scoring this for several months now. We don’t have a release date yet, being a Netfilx project means we have to finish a whole season before it can drop. This is a really exciting project. The animation is amazing and I am having a great time working with GDT and the team at Dreamworks.



In October I went back to the Kennedy Center to work with Kendrick Lamar and the National Symphony. Kendrick performed his album To Pimp a Butterfly with the orchestra and I was the lead arranger. Thanks to Jeremy Levy, Chris Walden, and Joe Trapanese for helping with additional arrangements. Having done Nas in 2014, and now Kendrick in 2015, I can’t wait to see what they have in mind for 2016!

Look out for How to be Single. Fil Eisler wrote the score, and Fil and I did an arrangement of “Have yourself a merry little Christmas.” We are about to get back into Season 2 of Empire, and Fil has a few more movies coming up later this year. I am particularly looking forward to CHiPs, as I was a huge fan as a kid and I still sing the theme every time I ride my bike on an LA freeway.

I am about to head to London to conduct Matthew Margeson and Mike Higham‘s score for Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Jeremy and I have been busy orchestrating the score for the last few weeks. We also did some more music for Best Fiends, a video game scored by Heitor Pereira.

Happy New Year! I will update the news soon, but in the meantime, wanted to let everyone know the Big Band is playing on Monday January 11 at Typhoon. Please note that this is just one set, so don’t be late.

Tim Davies Big Band
Monday January 11, 8pm @ Typhoon, $10, FREE parking.
Typhoon 3221 Donald Douglas Loop South (Santa Monica Airport)
310 390 6565

Breaking News!

Following up on the success of their show last year with rapper Nas, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Kennedy Center have just announced an upcoming show for one night only with Kendrick Lamar and the NSO. I was asked to create new orchestral arrangements for Kendrick’s tracks. Show is on October 20th.


I just realized it has been a long time since I updated anything here. I have good reasons though! Where to start…


Firstly, I just realized it has been 10 years since my first session in LA as a conductor and orchestrator. It was a TV show called Invasion. It was a great way to start as I had 22 chances to get it less wrong. I met some amazing musicians and over the years have learnt a lot from them. But how time flies!


Look out for Crimson Peak, out October 16. I wrote 25 minutes of additional score.

CP poster

Last weekend saw the release of Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. I had the pleasure of conducting and being lead orchestrator for composer Matthew Margeson. Matt was the composer’s assistant on one of my first ever jobs; this is how the system is supposed to work!

I also worked on another score with Chris BeckThe Peanuts Movie. I was lead orchestrator and conductor.

Peanuts 1502
Peanuts 1600

Tim and Snoopy at Fox

Most recently I did the same for composer Dave Sardy on Paramount’s Monster Trucks.


On the TV front, we are a few episodes into season two of Empire with Fil Eisler.

I did a few more dates on the Pokemon Symphonic Evolutions Tour. This time is was New Jersey and Boston.
Pokemon NJI am currently working on another project for the Kennedy Center, featuring one of the biggest hip hop/rappers around. I hope to be able announce it soon. And finally, I am done with recording for my new big band album. We are at last mixing!

After many years conducting in the recording studio I am finally being let loose on the concert stage. I will be filling in for my friend Susie Seiter, conducting some dates for the Pokemon Symphonic Evolutions Tour. I will be in Baltimore on July 1 and San Diego for Comicon on July 9. I am currently madly learning the scores, Susie told me in very strong words I was not allowed to just go in and sight read the show.

I have recently finished work on Chris Beck’s score for the Marvel film Ant-Man. Next up up is a live Disney show for Jim Dooley. Jim and I started together many years ago so it is great to be back working with him. I also start work on Peanuts with Chris Beck. And as soon as that is done I move onto composing the score for my own show for Guillermo Del Toro and Dreamworks.

Batman: Arkham Knight is out. I was lead orchestrator and conducted 3 hours of music for composers David Buckley and Nick Arundel. I also contributed some symphonic sound design. Here is Jeremy Levy and I sitting on the pile of music.

tim and jeremy music pile

Tim Davies Big Band
Monday May 18, 8pm @ Typhoon, $10, FREE parking.
Typhoon 3221 Donald Douglas Loop South (Santa Monica Airport)
310 390 6565

I am pleased to announce a little career shift. I have always gone to great lengths to be clear that I am NOT a ‘film’ composer. I do everything but. However, I have also always said I would write my own score one day, just that I would never go out of my way to chase it. It seems that day has almost come.

Last year Gustavo Santaolalla asked me to help him with the score to The Book of Life. It was the first time I had written a proper score; had meetings with directors, producers, and studios; got used to the process of revisions and conforms — it was quite the experience. I thought I would just go back to my day job orchestrating and conducting, then one day in November I got an email from Jorge Gutierrez, the director of Book of Life. He told me to expect ‘an email’. Three minutes later there was an email from Guillermo Del Toro asking if I was busy as he needed my help! It’s a good thing Jorge had tipped me off or I would have thought I was being punked. I said sure, though of course at the time I was at LAX on my way to Mexico, and then to Australia. Long story short I soon ended up in Toronto spotting the film with Guillermo. The movie is called Crimson Peak, and comes out in October. I wrote 30 minutes of additional music, a lot of it using some very cool themes by Fernando Velazquez. The irony here is that I did not orchestrate a note myself in either of these scores.

That day spotting in Toronto was the first time I had met Guillermo. On the way out he asked me if I was also interested in scoring his new TV show. I said sure (what else could I say?). That totally put a lot of pressure on me to not screw up Crimson Peak. Nothing more was said for a while, then an email came in introducing me to the producer. However, at the same time three composer friends each told me they were asked for demos for a project that sounded exactly like this one. I thought maybe I did not have it after all. Well, I can finally announce my deal is done and I am scoring a show written and produced by Guillermo del Toro. More details to come. I also now have an agent at WME. Never thought I would say that!

[1/22/15] Neat list. Never expected to be on it!

It is the 2nd week of the New Year, however I feel like I just finished 2014 yesterday. The last few months of 2014 were intense. I was called to write additional music for a rather famous director. More info once the release is closer in October. I have also been busy orchestrating Revenge and the new Fox show Empire. I just finished orchestrating The Moon and the Sun for Heitor Pereira. Next up I will attempt to finish my big band album before work begins on Minions.



TD with Gustavo Santaolalla and director Jorge Gutierrez

Book of Life is out! I worked with Gustavo Santaolalla on the score. Firstly arranging strings for his and Paul William’s awesome songs, then I took those themes, and some more that he gave me (his demos will be on the score album) and arranged them into over an hour of underscore. We used a 90-piece orchestra and lots of guitar, ethnic flute and accordion. I even convinced them to let me record it all together (usually we would pre-record or overdub those things.) Working with an Argentinian legend on an animated Mexican folk tale, a big band composer from Brisvegas was the natural choice. I read The Idiots Guide to Pre-Hispanic Music and was off. Joking aside, working with Gustavo was an amazing experience and I learnt a lot.
I also conducted it, played some percussion and electric guitar, I even sang on one of the cues (take that Brian Tyler!) The irony here is that I did not orchestrate any of the score. My long time collaborator Jeremy Levy was lead orchestrator with some help from Susie Seiter, Jim McWilliam, Ryan Humphrey, Devin Roth, John Ashton Thomas and Andres Montero. John Jennings Boyd and Germaine Franco did some additional arranging and Julia Sokolowska did the takedowns of all the demos from GS. The score was recorded and mixed by Casey Stone.

Here are a few tracks-

Candle Maker See’s All [Check out the Score]

Maria Agrees to Marry Joaquin

Manolo Faces All Bulls

Over the years I have developed a lot of tricks and shortcuts for orchestrating. Here is a screencast where I go from midi file to finished score and you can see my process and how I have tricked out my setup.

I am back in the TV world, orchestrating season 4 of Revenge for Fil Eisler.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is out. I orchestrated and conducted the score for Chris Beck.


I got right of the plane from Australia and jumped into work on The Simpsons Take the Bowl. I took cues and songs from the original TV scores by Alf Clausen and blew them up to full orchestra. It was a lot of fun seeing Alf and Dell Hake’s original orchestrations. I also orchestrated a suite of music by Hans Zimmer and several new arrangements by Jim Dooley and of course a few versions of the iconic Danny Elfman theme.

Big Band Gig in Melbourne
I will be guesting with the Daryl McKenzie Jazz Orchestra at the Apartment on Monday August 25.

The last 3 months have been the most intense but rewarding I have ever had. I wrote over an hour of orchestral music with Gustavo Santaolalla for Fox’s Book of Life. The music is now mixed and the final touches are being out on the film. It will be released in October. We used up to a 90 piece orchestra, accordion, ethnic flutes, guitars, choir and soloists.

BOL Crew Booth

Another project that came to an end was my Suite from the Motorcycle Diaries. We played it at the Hollywood Bowl on Thursday. Gustavo sat out front and played guitars, I sat at the back and played some drums and percussion.


Edge of Tomorrow comes out this week, reviews are positive, nice change for a Tom Cruise movie! I conducted and did a couple of orchestrations for Chris Beck’s score.

I am currently busy working on Book of Life with Gustavo Santaolalla. We score in 3 weeks and it is a mad dash to the finish.

Tim Davies Big Band
Monday June 9, 8pm @ Typhoon, $10, FREE parking.
Typhoon 3221 Donald Douglas Loop South (Santa Monica Airport)
310 390 6565

Thursday July 31, 8pm 2 Hollywood Bowl
I will be playing percussion and drums with Gustavo Santaolalla, Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil. I also arranged a 25 minute suite from The Motorcycle Diaries. This will be a first for me. My first professional gig in LA was writing for concerts at the bowl, but I have never played there.


I finished the first quarter with a bang. Frozen has broken some box office records and the Muppets and Need for Speed came out. But the highlight was playing drums with Nas and the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center, I also wrote half the charts. Here is a little info on it from the Finale Blog.
2014-03-29 19.13.00      TD onstage with Nas

Here is my demo for New York State of Mind.

They filmed the rehearsals and the concert for a documentary. Before that I was conducting Chris Beck’s score for Tom Cruise’s next film Edge of Tomorrow. Then we recorded 3 hours of music for Batman: Arkham Knight for composers Nick Arundel and Dave Buckley. In the middle of that I orchestrated and conduced a score for Marc and Steffan Fantini, Mom’s Night Out, it opens May 9.

I am currently working on a few projects with Gustavo Santaolalla. I am writing a suite for him and the Los Angeles Philharmonic from his score for The Motorcycle Diaries. The concert is on July 31st at the Hollywood Bowl and will be conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. We have also started work on Book of Life. I am arranging, orchestrating and conducting the score.

I will be presenting a masterclass on orchestration and my workflow for ASMAC on May 10th.


I will be on a panel called “The Hollywood Arrangers” for ASMAC on Wednesday 22nd. I will be talking about my studio setup and how I arrange and orchestrate with Finale.
TD Studio


I just noticed that I arranged strings on two Grammy Nominated albums this yearSalaam Remi- One in the Chamber and Mack Wilds- New York: A Love Story
Take a listen. Salaam Remi- and Mack Wilds-


Upcoming appearances-
Jazz Education Network Conference in Dallas, TX. January 10 and 11.
I am giving a lecture on the 11th at 10am entitled ‘Notation Plain and Simple — The Jazz Default.’
At 6pm I will be premiering a new commission with the Lone Peak High School Big Band from Utah. The rest of the time I will be at the MakeMusic booth in the exhibitors hall. Drop by and say hi.

Frozen recently came out and was a huge success. It took me a while, but I finally orchestrated and conducted a Disney animated movie. But my true goal in life was to work on a Justin Bieber film. I beliebed just like he did and my dreams came true. Believe comes out on christmas day with a score by Nathan Lanier and I was honored to do some orchestrations.

I just finished orchestrating and conducting Chris Beck’s score for Endless Love. I also conducted a few episodes of Chris Bacon’s score for Bates Motel and Nathan Furst‘s Need for Speed.

2013-11-25 19.20.38I was in the studio last month with my LA big band. There was a little drama. I was rushing into the piano booth to grab an A and did not notice that some had shut the door. Recording big bands can be painful.

We are back in on the 27th to finish the album off.


I hope to have some time over the break to do some more articles for deBreved.

I recently realized that this album is now 10 years old! Jim Bianco and the TDBB


I just posted a new article about Jazz Voicings. This one looks at the thickened line technique, most commonly used when writing for big band saxophone sections. Make sure you look at Part 1 first if you are not familiar with jazz chord progressions and piano voicings.

A few albums have recently come out that I did string arrangements for. I have done many projects for producer Salaam Remi over the years. One in the Chamber, featuring Akon has possibly the greatest lyric I have had the pleasure of providing basic pads and cheesy string lines to, ever!
Salaam also produced an album for Mack Wilds (actor from The Wire and 90210) featuring the hit Own It.

I recently finished work on Chris Beck’s score for the next Muppets Movie, which was a lot of fun.
Kermit and scoreIn the last two months I also orchestrated A Walk Among the Tombstones for Carlos Rivera (Carlos’ first score — nice way to start!), Justin Bieber’s Believe for Nathan Lanier, and some new content for Soul Sacrifice for Yasunori Mitsuda.
In the middle of all of that I went to London and recorded some SSD for an upcoming WB game, and I will be starting work on the rest of the score very soon.

Somewhere in there I wrote a big band commission for Lone Peak High School in Utah. They will be premiering it at the Jazz Education Network Conference in January. I will also be giving a lecture on jazz notation and be making appearances at the Makemusic booth.

But the coolest thing by far was when my high school music teacher, Graeme Morton, dropped by a session. He is doing a research project on his students that sang in the choir and have gone on to careers in music, but not as singers. I learnt a lot from his choir and classes, I was able to sleep through the first year of theory lectures at the conservatorium thanks to him.
TD and Graeme

Next up I am conducting Nathan Furst’s Need for Speed score and a few more movies for Chris Beck. My IMDB page has been updated to include all the latest projects I’ve worked on.


I survived another trip to Australia. I had a great time working with the West Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra. As soon as I landed back in LA I started work orchestrating cues for Chris Beck’s score for Frozen, a new Disney animated movie. I also conducted the score and some of the songs. I am currently working on some arrangements for a cool project featuring Nas and the National Symphony.

Big Band Gig

Monday September 30, 8pm @ Typhoon, $10, FREE parking.
Typhoon 3221 Donald Douglas Loop South (Santa Monica Airport)
310 390 6565
Special Guest Annie Trousseau


I recently sat down for a chat with Deane Ogden and Brian Ralston from Scorecast online. You can listen to it here.


Australia Trip
I will be leading the West Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra for several concerts in August. Dates here.
On Monday August 26 I will be sitting in with the Daryl Mckenzie Jazz Orchestra at the Apartment in Melbourne.

Recent Projects
Hangover III (Cond), The Internship (Cond), White House Down (Cond), R.I.P.D. (orch, cond), Smurfs 2 (lead orch), Kick Ass 2 (orch) and The Last of Us (SSD). Plus a lot of string charts for various artists with producer Salaam Remi.

Latest blog posts  
It’s Staggering [07/17/2013], Endre Granat Part III [07/06/2013], How to Score [06/07/2013], It’s the pizz [06/01/2013].

Jazz Harmony and Voicing
I am currently working on a project in conjunction with Cinesamples. I will be showing how jazz harmony and voicing work. We are recording examples with the sax and rhythm sections from my big band. I will put it together in a blog post and also hope to do a video or two explaining it all.

Jazz Education Network Conference
In January 2014 I will be presenting a lecture at the Jazz Education Network conference in Dallas, Texas. The topic will be “The Jazz Default”. I will apply my default concepts to Jazz performance and notation. My lecture is sponsored by MakeMusic Inc and I will be their guest at the Finale Booth on the Friday and Saturday.

Album Update
I had a cool idea for my next album, record half of it with my band in Melbourne and half in Los Angeles. The grand finale, will be a new work for double big band! Easier said than done. I went home in January and recorded 4 charts and their part of the double band piece. A highlight of the trip was when we had the “US Stunt Double Big Band” come in for the last hour of a rehearsal so I could hear how the whole double band piece sounded, it was huge! Mixing is underway of the completed four tracks and it sounds awesome. The hold up now is finding dates that every member of the LA band, myself and our engineer can get together. We had them booked in May, then I got the call to work on Smurfs so had to cancel them. I hope to record in September or October now.


Over the last few years I have been doing the occasional arrangement for Vince Mendoza and the Metropole Orchestra. Up to now it has only been for live concerts but this time I got to work on an album for Sabrina Starke. Album is out today. Here is a clip of one of my charts live.


Small logoAfter many months of work my orchestration blog “deBreved” is ready to launch. It is actually much more than a blog, more like a book, I guess I should call it a blook. Check it out, subscribe, like it, share it, comment on it and enjoy it. This whole site has also been redone is now Ipad friendly. There is a lot more music to listen to and the gallery is totally new.

I have been in the studio again with Chris Beck, this time it was sessions for The Hangover 3. The previous two films were just rock band and a small string group, this time we had a large orchestra and a rock band.

Sessions for the US big band will happen in mid May, can’t wait.

Big Band Gig

Monday April 29, 8pm @ Typhoon, $10, FREE parking.
Typhoon 3221 Donald Douglas Loop South (Santa Monica Airport)
310 390 6565


Have been in the studio a lot recently. The Internship and R.I.P.D. for Chris Beck and a session for Harold Kloser and Thomas Wander for White House Down. The Paperman, for which I conducted Beck’s score, won the Oscar for Best Animated Short.


I recently returned from Australia where I was recording my big band for my next album. I decided it would be cool to record half the album in Australia and half in Los Angeles. To tie it all together I have written a piece for double big band. A highlight of the trip was rehearsing the new piece with 2 big bands, only in Melbourne could I get a whole second band to show up for an hour just to run one piece. The sessions went really well. The sessions for the LA band are in May and the whole thing should be out in August.


Here we go with a new year. Last year was my best ever with lots of cool gigs and new people to work with. Jack Reacher, for which I was lead orchestrator for came out as did The Guilt Trip, which I conducted. Grammy nominations were announced recently and while I had no submissions of my own this year, I worked on 5 nominated projects.

Best rap album, Life is Good, Nas, Best Urban Contemporary Album, Kaleidoscope Dreams, Miguel. Producer of the year, Salaam Remi, all feature my string arrangements.

Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media– Muppets and Best Song Written For Visual Media, Man or Muppet- Brett McKenzie, conducted by me


At last I have started proper work on a new big band Album. I finished the last piece a week ago and we run it for this first time on Friday. At the moment I am madly practicing, I seem to the writing harder drum parts as I get older…… We will be playing most of the new albums music at our next gig.
I am also working on a Blog that will be about orchestration. The main focus will be on all the large and small things that are missing from most of the famous orchestration texts. Should be up in a month or so.

Big Band Gig

Monday November 19, 8pm @ Typhoon, $10, FREE parking.
Special guest Raya Yarbrough
Typhoon 3221 Donald Douglas Loop South (Santa Monica Airport)
310 390 6565

My May trip to Australia was a lot of fun. Playing with my old band is something I look forward to every year. While back home I also gave lectures at my old colleges- Queensland Conservatorium and Melbourne University, visited a few schools and gave some workshops.
Before I went I had the pleasure of conducting a track that Heitor Pereira produced for Melody Gardot. I had not heard of her before but she is a great singer with a very inspiring story, google it…..
As soon as I returned from Australia I had to hit the ground running. First up was some orchestrating and conducting for Chris Beck on The Watch, then I conducted Chris’s score for the The Guilt Trip.
I have done a few projects over the years for Producer Salaam Remi, arranging strings for albums for people like Cee Lo Green, Amy Winehouse and most recently Akon, but just for a change we did a film score. I arranged all Salaam’s music for Sparkle, the movie that Whitney Houston had just finished shooting before she died. I also did string arrangements for a couple of songs that Jordin Sparks sings that R Kelly produced. After that I was lead orchestrator for Joe Kraemer’s score for Jack Reacher, starring Tom Cruise. I am currently finishing up a Symphonic Sound Design project for new game that should be huge, details once it is completed. Probably forgot a few things, it has all been a blur….
Found some photos from a TV show a worked on a for Blake Neely, photos in the Gallery



Heading to Brisbane and Melbourne in May. In Brisbane I will be doing some lectures at the Queensland Con. In Melbourne I will be giving some lectures at VCA and Melbourne Uni and taking some big bands. The trip ends with a performance at the Stonnington Jazz Festival on May 23rd. I have just finished a new piece and hope to have another done as well before the gig. It has been way too long since I had time to write for myself, the silly phone keeps ringing with other people asking me to write for them…….. I have been busy again working on games and films. A bunch of projects I worked on did well in the awards season. Batman:Arkham City and Infamous 2 both were nominated for G.A.N.G awards and Bret Mckenzie’s “Man or a Muppet”, which I conducted, one the Oscar for best song.

Several projects have just come out or are about to. Batman Arkham City is finally out. I orchestrated and conducted the score for composers Ron Fish and Nick Arundel. Footloose, I conducted for Deborah Lurie. 3 Musketeers, I orchestrated for Paul Haslinger. Tower Heist, I orchestrated for Christophe Beck. Muppets, I conducted for Beck. I also recently did some string arrangements for a huge project, details to come where it is released. Chris Beck was just featured in Variety as a Billion Dollar Composer. Was nice to see my name mentioned twice in the stories. Once in reference to recording of the Muppets score and the other for getting him involved in Education Through Music, a non-profit that I am on the board of.



I will be in Brisbane and Melbourne in August. I will be the head Jazz Adjudicator for the Melbourne Schools Bands Festival this year. I will be doing big band a Show at BMW Edge in Federation Square on the 23rd. Tix are available here. Check the Facebook event for latest details.
The Reg Cole Quartet will be doing a reunion gig on the 14th at the Transit Lounge in Federation Square, check Facebook event for latest details.

Sony’s INFAMOUS 2 game is out. This was a huge project, lasting many months with lots of recording sessions. As well as orchestrating and conducting a few hours of music for Jim Dooley, Jonathan Mayer, Brain and Galactic, I wrote a lot of SSD and transitions that can be heard throughout the score. You can hear some examples of the things I wrote on the SSD page of this site


Resistance 3 is all done and one more ep of the Event season to go. I recently conducted the scores for a few remakes, Footloose and Fright Night and next up is orchestrating Paul Haslinger’s score for a new 3 Musketeers film. In the meantime I am working on some arrangements for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. I am very excited to have a few big band gigs coming up, May 26th at the Big Band Olympics and June 6th at Typhoon.

Big Band shows!

Thursday May 26th, 2:30pm, LAX Marriot
Los Angeles Jazz Institute Big Band Olympics
Festival Info

Monday June 6, 8pm @ Typhoon, FREE entry, FREE parking.
Special guest Cameron Stone on Cello.
Typhoon 3221 Donald Douglas Loop South (Santa Monica Airport)
310 390 6565



I have just found out that the big band will be playing at the Los Angeles Jazz Institute Big Band Olympics at the LAX Marriott on May 26th at 2.30pm. The line up is looking really good and it is an honor to be playing with all the other great bands. Work wise the year has been very busy so far. I just finished conducting the score for the next Batman game for composers Ron Fish and Nick Arundel. I also orchestrated nearly 2 hours of music for it. I managed to jam it in around the Event and No ordinary Family. Next up is work on Resistance 3 for Boris Salchow.

Big Band show!

Monday November 29, 8pm @ Typhoon, FREE entry, FREE parking.
Special guest, singer and songwriter Raya Yarbrough.
Typhoon 3221 Donald Douglas Loop South (Santa Monica Airport)
310 390 6565

It is TV season right now and the great news is that several new shows are using live orchestras. I am orchestrating and conducting 2 of them that start showing this week. The Event is on Monday nights on NBC and features a score by Scott Starrett and No Ordinary Family is on ABC on Tuesday nights and has a score by Blake Neely.
My latest big band album “Dialmentia” has been getting a lot of play on Satellite radio. I also also recently found out that a couple of the tracks are currently featured on the Qantas inflight jazz radio channel. Whenever I fly Qantas I look to see who is on the jazz program, dreaming one day maybe I would be there, so finding out about this is was a quite nice treat.

Despicable Me, which I conducted the score for has just opened at number 1. I have never seen so many posters around LA for one movie, I guess they did something. I have just finished a few commissions and some more charts for the Metropole Orchestra. In the next few months I am working on 3 big games, none of which I can mention by name………

If anyone has been to a movie in the last 2 months, I bet I conducted at least one of the scores! Things have been really busy. Recent releases that I have conducted include Hot Tub Time Machine, Date Movie, Percy Jackson and Dear John. I just finished work on Despicable Me and the season finale to House.
In the game world, I recently orchestrated and conducted the score for a new Pirates of the Caribbean game for composer Ron Fish and Disney. I am about to start work on another Sony game, I will be doing some symphonic sound design first up then orchestrating and conducting Jim Dooley’s score. On the arranging front I just finished a project for Finnish singer Tarja Turunen and my first chart for the Metropole Orchestra in Holland for Jon Faddis and Steve Turre. I was not at the concert but it must have gone over OK as they just asked me to do some more, this time for Chaka Kahn.

The next month sees me doing a bit of travel-
May 5 – Sydney, Australia, World Premiere of my newest big band work – Conceivilization. The work was commissioned by the Sydney Conservatorium and is being performed as part of the ISCM World New Music Days
May 20 – Jazz Education Network Conference, St Louis, Opening night concert. I will be performing my Grammy nominated piece “Counting to Infinity” with the Army Blues Big Band.
May 21, 3pm. I will be presenting my lecture- Breaking the mold: Taking your big band writing to the next level

Happy New Year to everyone. December was pretty crazy with sessions for Percy Jackson, Wolfman and the A-Team trailer. I had a great time on Percy, Chris Beck asked me to arrange his themes for the end titles. I got to conducted it with a 98 piece band, all free time, no clicks or picture to worry about. I will post a link once the soundtrack is out.
I am proud to announce that I have been invited to present a lecture at the inaugural Jazz Education Network Conference in St Louis, MI, in May. This is the group that is replacing IAJE. The lecture is entitled Breaking the mold: Taking your big band writing to the next level. I will talk about some of the things that I do in my music to make it different and how they can be applied to other pieces. I am also working on getting some pieces performed and may sit in with a big band on the main concert, more details to come.
Right now I am working on the commission for the Sydney Conservatorium. It is going well, all sketched, now just fleshing it out. It is going to be the first movement of a new trilogy.

Big Band show!

Monday March 29, 8pm @ Typhoon, FREE entry, FREE parking.
Typhoon 3221 Donald Douglas Loop South (Santa Monica Airport)
310 390 6565


BREAKING NEWS! I have been nominated for a Grammy

– Best Instrumental Composition for Counting to Infinity. You can hear the track if you go to www.TimDaviesBigBand.com. It will play automatically. I am trying to celebrate when I can, but work is rather hectic right now. I am done with God of War 3. I recently conducted Christophe Beck’s score for Date Night, starring Tina Fey and Steve Carrel. Currently I am working on Percy Jackson and the Olympians, also for Beck and then after that it is onto the Wolfman with Paul Haslinger. I also recently did some work for AR Rahman for a presidential gala in Washington.

I have recently finished the first round of sessions for God of War 3 at Skywalker Ranch. It was a hectic week, having been in London for a wedding, I arrived in San Francisco Sunday night and then conducted a triple session on Monday. That did nothing for the cold that was coming on. I ended up having to get a lift back to LA as my head was too stuffed up to fly. I think I can now say what one of the movies I am working on with Salaam Remi is. It does not seem to be a big secret, I read about the ‘secret’ artist we are working with in an Australian newspaper! It is Sex and the City 2. Will wait a little longer to say what charts I did as the titles have not been leaked yet. I also had some cool conducting gigs recently: Sims 3 (Expansion Pack) for Steve Jablosnky, Couples Retreat for AR Rahman and Dear John for Deborah Lurie. Sony brought me in to help composer Normand Corbeil with some last minute orchestrations on a new game called Heavy Rain. Next up I have a few movies to conduct for Chris Beck and some more God of War sessions.

Big Band show!

Monday November 23, 8pm @ Typhoon, FREE entry, FREE parking.
Typhoon 3221 Donald Douglas Loop South (Santa Monica Airport)
310 390 6565
Our guest for the night will be Jim Bianco

A lot of people said they needed me in August, I did not believe them, turns out they really did need me. As well as ongoing work on God of War 3 for Sony, I am working on Ratchet and Clank for Boris Salchow and several arrangements for producer Salaam Remi to be featured in some big movies, can’t mention titles yet, throw in a conducting gig or 2 and I guess I am busy. The AFM has featured me in another article, this one is about the score for the GI Joe video game. You can find it here.

The International Musician, the magazine of the American Federation of Musicians, has recently published a story about me. You can find it here.

I am pleased to announce that I have just been commissioned by the Sydney Conservatorium of Music to write a big band work. The piece will be premiered next year at the ISCM World Music days which are being held in Australia for the first time. I used to submit pieces every year and never once would they play one and now they are going to pay me to write a new piece, I guess some things just take time.
I recently completed work on the game Lost Planet 2 for Jamie Christopherson. We had a 95 piece orchestra at Fox and made some serious noise. Next up is God of War 3. For those who do not know of it, google it, it is a huge Sony game and the score for GOW2, which I also orchestrated and conducted, won lots of awards. I also noticed that Prototype, Infamous and the Sims 3 are call now out. I orchestrated and conducted Prototype, did SSD for Infamous and conducted The Sims 3. I have a few more library tracks that have just come out with X-ray Dog. You can hear some of them on the music page.

DIALMENTIA is out! Get it at Origin Records or on itunes

The new www.TimDaviesBigBand.com is up and ready to go! It is now the place to go for band info. There are tracks from all our recordings and scores to check out. Many thanks go to Paulina [Puniaf.com] and Ted for putting the site together for me, also thanks to Paulina for the great photos.

News Archive

I survived my trip to Australia, the bands were all great and we had a huge crowd at the Melbourne release party. Now I am getting ready for the Bakersfield Jazz Festival and our launch party at Typhoon and catching up on all the work I was supposed to do while I was partying in Oz! Hard at work on Lost Planet 2 right now and then once that is done I am onto God of War 3 for a few months. While in Oz I also managed to squeeze in some choir charts for Cris Velasco and Mike Reagan for a game called Darksiders and another transcription for the new Fox show Glee.

I am about to jump on the plane back to Australia! It is going to be a full on trip. The gigs are listed below but I am also doing lectures and taking bands at QLD con, VCA, AFTRAS, Sydney and Melbourne Army and Sydney Con. I am also working with several school bands in Melbourne who will then open the show for us. Blackburn will premiere a new piece “Sarahbande”. As soon as I get back it is right back to work orchestrating the Lost Planet 2 game and then a big game for Sony to orchestrate and conduct. More details at a later date on that one.


March already. Was thinking it may have been a slow year but not so far. I just did some arrangements for Cee-lo Green and producer Salaam Remi. I thought Cee-lo sounded a bit like the guy from Gnarls Barkley, I forgot where I was for a minute, turns out he is the guy from Gnarls Barkley! I had some fun conducting an 87 piece orchestra last week at Fox for Stephen Trask’s score to Cirque du Freak for Universal. I also did some orchestrations for Alex Heffes and Mark Kilian on State of Play and Marco Beltrami on Repo Mambo. I just finished a commission for the Loma Linda Academy and am currently working on one for Blackburn High in Melbourne.

It is almost the end of the year and I still have not finished the record, that is pretty bad. I have a good reason though, people keep paying me lots of money to do other things! As usual it has been an eclectic mix of projects. Pushing Daisies is in it’s 2nd season. As well as orchestrating and conducting you can sometimes hear some jazz on the show and I either wrote it or arranged it. I also had some fun doing some barbershop music for a recent ep. I recently did another bunch of charts for producer Salaam Remi, that is always fun, he sends me a bed and I go to town with an orchestra over the top of it. I did a package of Symphonic Sound Design for the Sony game InFamous and conducted some strings for David Archuleta’s new record. My tracks for Extreme Music and X-Ray Dog (track here) are out and last week I orchestrated and conducted the score to the new Monsters Versus Aliens game. But coolest of all was that I got a call to help out with the orchestrations for David Hirschfelder’s score for Baz Luhrman’s new film Australia, being from Australia, I just had to work on it!


The Orchestral Default

In order to notate in a clear and concise manner, one has to understand how an orchestra will interpret any particular dynamic, rhythm or articulation. For instance, what happens if you give the violins a naked whole note and a …
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2015 Oscar Eligibility

Neat list. Never expected to be on it!

Over-Notation Nation

Many people these days over-notate their music. I propose three theories for this. The first is that most people do not spend a lot of time working with a live orchestra so they do not have a lot of ‘match …
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A Neglected Relationship

One thing I find neglected in the major orchestration texts is the discussion of notation.  Grammar is just as important a concern in music as it is in literature, and it is very important that we understand how notation works …
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Dynamic Affairs

With a little understanding of dynamics and how they work, you can use their default to your advantage. Everyone knows that p means soft and f means loud, but there is a little more to it than that. Many people …
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Parlare del niente, a rant about nothing

Niente means nothing! As such, I like to think of it as an effect, not a dynamic. It seems that a lot of people think players are computers and can really play at no volume. What happens when a player sees a note …
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Divide and Conquer

There are five sections in the string orchestra, playing five parts, but quite often we need more than five notes at once. There are two ways to get the extra notes, use double stops or divide sections, divisi. In 90% of …
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Double [stop] Trouble

The double stop is the most misunderstood (by orchestrators) and ignored (by players) orchestration device EVER! I know that is a bold statement, but after many years observing the orchestra from the podium and seeing what they play and what …
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Guide to a good bow job

There are many cool French and Italian terms for different bowing techniques. The texts have explanations of each of the different bow strokes, but these explanations range from excellent to confusing to plain contradictory (just google détaché). These terms refer to …
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What You See Is Not Always What You Get

Make sure you have read dynamic relationships before this article. What information do we have here? Three things: a pitch, a duration, and a dynamic. Pitch is not important to this discussion so let’s not worry about it; everything we talk about …
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Tremolo and the abstract truth

Tremolo is a great effect that can be used to add tension and weight or a shimmering texture. Tremolo is a fast oscillation of the bow, unmeasured by default. Tremolo, like harmonics and pizzicato, is a technique where the use of samples …
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A Trilling Experience

Trills and fingered/keyed tremolos are the same thing, an oscillation between two notes. If the interval is a half or whole step it is called a trill, and if the interval is larger it is called a tremolo. It is …
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Swell Enough

As I keep pointing out, there is a lot of phrasing that will happen naturally. However, we often need to indicate when to swell. Conventional wisdom is that in this case (Ex.1), they will go up one dynamic. I have …
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In Touch with Harmonics

There are lots of places to learn about harmonics; all of the books have little blurbs on them and there are plenty of guides online. They all say that you can do this or that, but they all seem to …
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It’s the Pizz

There are three techniques where real world sounds and possibilities are easily misrepresented in the sampled world. They are Harmonics, Tremolo, and Pizzicato. Pizzicato is the technique where the player plucks the string with their finger. The loudest pizzicato is really …
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It’s Staggering

A common device that I see a lot of is ‘stagger breathing,’ and I have some problems with it! Not the concept itself, just the way it is carried out. I often see a stream of notes in a woodwind …
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The French Horn

From longing, to sinister, to epic, the sounds of the horn are incredibly diverse. There are so many different colors that the horn is capable of, but not many people understand the physics of the instrument and what the player …
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The Wagner Tuba

Like the cimbasso, the Wagner tuba is a mystery to a lot of orchestrators. Wagner tubas are also often referred to as tuben. This is just the plural of tuba in German. First of all, some quick history; but as …
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How to Score

Scores should look good and be easy to read. I cannot tell you the number of times I have been sent scores by students or hopeful orchestrators using terrible layouts. The notation program’s default layout settings are no excuse. Session …
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Extreme Australian Orchestration

Many people have asked me about how I’ve set up my system and what my orchestration process is, so I decided to add a complete walkthrough to the blog. In this screencast, I have recorded myself doing an entire cue …
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Conducting Part 1

Introduction and score preparation When I give lectures, one question I get asked a lot is “What is the difference between conducting for a concert vs conducting in the studio?” It is much easier to say what is the same. …
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Conducting Part 2

Downbeat The session starts, the contractor will come out and announce the project, introduce the composer, and maybe also introduce the director or anyone else important. They sometimes say a few words and then we are off. After the group …
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Conducting Part 3

That was great, now lets make it better There is nothing like working with the greatest sight-readers on the planet. But even if they get every note right on the first run, the magic is not going to be there …
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Conducting Part 4

The Rules Wherever you record, there are going to be some rules for the orchestra, and it is important for the conductor to know and understand these. What is the break schedule? What time do we end before going into overtime? …
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One would think that if you want to make a small string section sound bigger, you could just record it twice and the sound will double. Unfortunately, this does not work too well. There will be a tinny or fuzzy …
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Stating the obvious, why say it twice?

Over the years I have noticed that people have developed a habit of saying the same thing twice, often combining an articulation with a text description of said articulation. Some of these are standard conventions that I just think are …
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Jazz Part 1

Introduction This is the first part in a series of articles where I will explain how to take a simple melody and turn it into a jazz tune, complete with appropriate harmony, voicing, bass part, and notation for a session …
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Jazz Melody and Voicing Part 2

Saxophones and Rhythm Section Once you have a handle on how chord progressions work and how to write simple piano voicings, the next technique to master is the ‘thickened line.’ This is where a melody has three or four notes …
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Jim Thatcher Part 1

Jim Thatcher is the most-recorded horn player working in Hollywood today. He has been the principal horn on virtually every session I’ve conducted in Los Angeles. In part one of our interview, we’ll talk about how Jim first became a …
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Jim Thatcher Part 2 & 3

In part 2 of my interview with horn player Jim Thatcher, we dive in and talk about the range of techniques available to the horn and the wide variety of tonal colors it can produce and more importantly, how they …
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Endre Granat Part 1

Endre Granat is the most recorded violinist and concertmaster working in the studios today. He has served as concertmaster with everyone from such silver age legends as Miklos Rozsa and Henry Mancini to currently active composers like Marco Beltrami and …
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Endre Granat Part 2

In Part II of my chat with Endre Granat, we discuss some of the mechanics of playing a stringed instrument and Endre demonstrates standard bowing techniques. He breaks them down into three categories. Legato Staccato ‘Bouncing’ Legato is the default bow …
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Endre Granat Part 3

In Part III of my chat with Endre Granat, we discuss how the bow can be used to change the color of the sound. Sul Tasto and Sul Ponticello are demonstrated as well as how bow speed and pressure effect the …
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Finale Tips

I will be moving all of my finale tips to this page. Please note all examples are done using Finale 2011. For examples of how to do some of these things in the ‘other’ program, Philip Rothman of NYC Music Services has …
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There are many books and internet resources out there. Some are a little dated or express the opinion of only one person (a bit like my blog!) but it is worth reading as many as you can. Please let me …
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Jazz Notation – The Default

This post and its companion, Jazz Notation – Drums and Chords, present the material from my talk on January 11, 2014, at the Jazz Education Network Conference in Dallas, Texas. Thank you to Makemusic for their sponsorship. Introduction I get …
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Jazz Notation – Chords and Drums

This post and its companion, Jazz Notation – the Default, present the material from my talk on January 11, 2014, at the Jazz Education Network Conference in Dallas, Texas. In my previous post on jazz notation, I discussed some of …
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