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About Us  /  Arrangers  /  Tom Fatten

Tom attended Illinois State University, majoring in School Band Director , followed by a Masters of Music Theory and Composition, studying under Roque Cordero. His Master s Thesis was a composition for extended orchestra, sections from a planned ballet based on JRR Tolkien s The Hobbit (1976). He performed in the ISU Jazz Band under James Boitos, where he was recognized for his arrangements and compositions in numerous collegiate Jazz festivals.

Tom has taught music in the Illinois public schools and at the university level. His high school bands have been recognized for excellence at several Midwest jazz festivals, including the Oak Lawn festival. His big band arrangements have found their way into school libraries all across Illinois, as well as universities in Illinois, University of Iowa, and Indiana University.

His performance credits include string bass and trumpet in Illinois symphony orchestras and concert bands, bass and piano with Al Pierson (Guy Lombardo) and Johnnie Kaye big bands, cruises on Celebrity, Carnival and Norwegian cruise lines, many years with the Alternatives big band in Bloomington Illinois, many small jazz, rock, and blues bands.

His compositional influences range from traditional Basie Thad Jones, Nestico thru contemporary rock and blues, and into more serious music Stravinsky, Ravel, Bartok, Ives, Phillip Glass. He also appreciates the craftsmanship of contemporary composers like John Williams, Mark Isham, and Dave Grusin.

With a couple exceptions, Tom has concentrated thru the years on producing music that has immediate audience appeal, and is playable without extensive rehearsal. He says a sax man can walk into a jam session, pull out his horn and immediately impress listeners with his ability. A composer has a little tougher job, so his music needs to be quickly playable, to get the best chance for acceptance.

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