Game Changer

The 8-Bit Big Band

  1. Intro to Album 4
  2. Can You Feel the Sunshine (From Sonic R.) ft. Joel Waggoner
  3. I Wanna Take You for a Ride (Inspired by Marvel vs. Capcom 2) ft. Lawrence
  4. Pollyanna (From Earthbound/Mother) ft. Alan H. Green
  5. Super Bell Hill (From Super Mario: 3D World)
  6. You Wouldn't Know (From Lego Dimensions: Portal) ft. Benny Benack III
  7. Beneath the Mask (From Persona 5) ft. Aisha Jackson
  8. Mabe Village (From Zelda: Link's Awakening)
  9. Tifa's Theme (From Final Fantasy 7) ft. Chloe Rowlands
  10. Passing Breeze (From Outrun)
  11. Song of Storms (From Zelda: Ocarina of Time) ft. Patrick Bartley
  12. Last Surprise (From Persona 5) ft. Jonah Nilsson

Band leader, Producer, and Arranger – Charlie Rosen

Can You Feel the Sunshine – Vocals by Joel Waggoner, tenor sax solo by Sam Dillon
I Wanna Take You for a Ride – Vocals by Clyde and Gracie Lawrence, Organ solo by Clyde Lawrence
Pollyanna – Vocals by Alan H. Green
Super Bell Hill – Piano solo by Miki Yamanaka
You Wouldn’t Know – Vocals by Benny Benack III
Beneath the Mask – Vocals by Aisha Jackson, guitar solo by Nir Felder
Mabe Village – Trombone solo by Jimmy O’Connell
Tifa’s Theme – Flugelhorn by Chloe Rowlands
Passing Breeze – Drum solo by Jared Schonig, alto sax solo by Andrew Gould
Song of Storms – Alto Sax soloist Patrick Bartley
Last Surprise – Vocals by Jonah Nilsson (Dirty Loops), Piano solo by Jake Silverman, Synth Solo by Jonah Nilsson

Alto Saxes – Andrew Gould, Josh Plotner, Adison Evans, Jordan Pettay
Tenor Saxes – Sam Dillon, Zac Zinger, Paul Jones
Baritone Saxes – Adison Evans, Andrew Gutauskas

Flutes – Andrew Gould, Josh Plotner, Jordan Pettay
Clarinets – Sam Dillon, Zac Zinger
Bass Clarinet – Adison Evans, Andrew Gutauskas

Trumpets – Bryan Davis, Jay Webb, John Lake, Chloe Rowlands, Max Boiko, Danny Jonokuchi, Matt Boiko, Marc Langer, Nick Frenay, Matthew Owens

Trombones – Jimmy O’Connell, Robert Edwards, Javier Nero, Rebecca Patterson, Ron Wilkins, Mariel Bildsten, Sara Jacovino, Reginald Chapman III (also on Tuba)

French Horn – Kyra Sims

Violins – Alissa Jackman, Audrey Hayes, Camelia Hartman, Caroline Drexler, Daniel Constant, Eli Bishop, Francesca Dardani, Hannah LeGrand, Josh Henderson, Justin Smith, Kevin Kuh, Lavinia Pavlish, Lucy Voin, Maria Im, Meitar Forkosh, Tania Mesa, Tiffany Weiss, Tomoko Akaboshi

Violas – Jarvis Benson, Kenny Wang, Laura Sacks, Matthew Beaugé, Midori Witkoski, Rosalie Samter, Sarah Haines, Tia Allen, Will Marshall, Yumi Oshima

Celli – Susan Mandel, Sasha Ono, Jessica Wang, Camille Dietrich, Kristine Kruta

Guitar – Dave Cinquegrana, Nir Felder, Charlie Rosen

Piano/Keyboards – Natalie Tenenbaum, Michael Mitchell, Steven Feifke, Jake Silverman, Miki Yamanaka, Jonah Nilsson

Bass – Adam Neely, Julia Adamy, Charlie Rosen, Bobby Wooten, Michael Olatuja

Drums – Jared Schonig, Bryan Carter

Harp – Liann Cline

Background Vocals – Badia Farha, D’Nasya Jordan, Bryan Carter, Kate Steinberg, Danielle Gimbal

Recording and Mixing engineer – John Kilgore
Addl recording engineers: Ben Miller, Matt Soares, M.P. Kuo, Chris Benham, Paul Kronk, Chris Valega

Mastering engineer – Alan Silverman

Recorded at The Powerstation Studios NYC, Power Station Studios Pompano Beach FL, John Kilgore Sound and Recording NYC, and Big Orange Sheep

Album Artwork by Mike KILLUZ

The 8-Bit Big Band is incredibly proud to present their 4th full length album “Game Changer” which continues to explore and expand the ever growing contemporary body of music that they are calling “The Great Video Game Songbook”. This album features a symphonic Jazz orchestra of over 90 of New York City’s (and beyond!) finest musicians, arranged and produced by the 2x Tony award winning Charlie Rosen, mixed by the Grammy award winning engineer John Kilgore, and mastered by the veteran Alan Silverman who has worked on more than 80 Grammy nominated or winning albums.

The album kicks off with “Intro to Album 4”, an epic classic mid-century Broadway overture style prelude that brings introduces us to the scale of sound that is to follow on the rest of the album.

Immediately following this grand opening is “Can You Feel the Sunshine?”, a burning up-tempo swing arrangement from the game “Sonic R” released in 1997 for the Sega Saturn console. Normally a 90s techno/dance style tune, it’s sung in a more Frank Sinatra/Judy Garland-esq manner by the amazing Joel Waggoner, soaring over the rhythm sections fast paced interpretation of this groove, with high flying strings and hard hitting horn stabs, complimented by a great tenor sax solo by the dexterous Sam Dillon.

Bringing it into a more Tower of Power influenced direction we have “I Wanna Take You for a Ride” which has a more interesting origin. Originally inspired by an 8 second loop from the legendary fighting game “Marvel vs. Capcom 2”, this short audio clip has only one lyric and 4 measures of music containing just the single lyric that is also the title. The amazing members of the soul/pop band “Lawrence” took this lyric and expanded it into an entire song complete with verses, full choruses, and a bridge, which was then expanded even more by The 8-Bit Big Band arranger Charlie Rosen with intro, outro, horn breakdown, and solo section. In essence this is an original song that is inspired by a very short yet popular clip of music from this beloved game, stacked with nods to the incredible horn writing of Tower of Power.

Next we have “Pollyanna” which is a widely popular song from the world of video game music that originates from the “Earthbound/Mother” game franchise. Normally performed in an 80s synth pop inspired fashion, this version draws heavily from the influence of contemporary Gospel and R&B music which is further reenforced by the incredible vocal performance of Alan H. Green and his delivery of the inspiring lyrics from the original in this new setting.

“Super Bell Hill” is an iconic theme from the Mario franchise, specifically from “Super Mario 3D World” originally released in 2013. In many recent releases of Mario games, Nintendo has begun to lean more heavily themselves into the genre of big band/swing which matches quite well orchestration ally with the bright and colorful world of Super Mario! This swing arrangement takes the tune out of it’s original context and even further solidifies it’s place in the classic Big Band Swing genre.

Among the 8-Bit Big Bands most popular arrangements are those that are based off of the tunes from the video game franchise “Portal”, all written by the amazing song writer Jonathan Coulton. These tunes, which normally live within the indie rock genre, have been retro-fitted to sound more like the classic big band recordings of Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin. “You Wouldn’t Know” is no exception to that. Crooned by the great Benny Benack III and modeled after Dean Martin’s arrangement of “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” this song showcases how video great game song writing can fit into any genre!

“Beneath the Mask” is a song from the very popular game title “Persona 5” which is known to have a score that fuses Neo-soul, jazz, and funk together beloved by game music fans. Our arrangement of this tune takes what is normally a very chill background music theme and expands it into a more hard hitting contemporary big band/neo soul journey, sung by the incredible Aisha Jackson, and a guitar solo by Nir Felder.

The “Legend of Zelda” series has a huge amount of great game entries into the franchise, and each game has an incredible sound track. “Mabe Village” from “The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (1993)” is normally a sweet music box style lullaby which accompanies your time in that location. Our version is a nod to the great Neil Hefti’s style of smooth mid century Jazz Big Band ballads, particularly “Lil’ Darlin” originally recorded by the Count Basie orchestra, with a trombone solo by Jimmy O’Connell

Another beloved game series by multiple generations of fans is the “Final Fantasy” games. With incredible sound tracks by the great composer Nobuo Uematsu, the themes from these games truly underscore the epic tales within. “Tifa’s Theme” is the love theme from Final Fantasy 7, turned into a lush jazz waltz in our arrangement featuring Chloe Rowlands on the flugelhorn, and lush string orchestra to compliment her incredibly lovely and soulful sound and musicianship.

“Passing Breeze” is from a title from the Sega Genesis called “Outrun”, a incredibly popular racing game originally released for arcades in 1987. Lauded at the time for it’s stunning graphics, the game has you cruising down the beaches of the west coast while grooving to this Samba inspired theme, arranged for our ensemble to feature the incredible drum soloing of Jared Schonig.

One of the most beloved sound tracks in the entire culture of video game music is “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” originally released in 1998 for the Nintendo 64. The themes from this sound track are covered extensively by the video game music scene, especially “Song of Storms”. Normally a jaunty sea-shanty of a waltz, this arrangement draws heavily from the inspirations of the great modal jazz and post bop tunes of the midcentury from artists such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter, containing many quotes from their classic tunes. This arrangement features the explosive musicianship of the great Patrick Bartley on alto sax.

Closing out the album we have “Last Surprise”, which is another song from the previously mentioned game “Persona 5”. This track is a co-arrangement with “Button Masher” the artist with whom the 8-Bit Big Band won their Grammy award in 2021 for their other collaboration “Meta Knight’s Revenge”. This arrangement was created specifically to feature the incredible singing and keyboard playing ability of the virtuosic Jonah Nilsson who is the lead singer and keyboard player for the contemporary Jazz Fusion group from Sweden “Dirty Loops” which rose to fame on the internet for their re-harmonized arrangements of contemporary pop music.

As always, it’s our mission statement in The 8-Bit Big Band to demonstrate that the themes and songs from the canon of video game music deserve to be given professional treatment from the greatest musicians, arrangers, vocalists, and artists to showcase that this contemporary collection of musical works has the integrity to live on beyond their original purpose as underscore, and legitimize the body of work in what we’ve been calling “The Great Video Game Songbook.” I hope listeners will enjoy the journey and appreciate all the incredible work that has gone to bringing this album to life!

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