Recorded on our live album, Days of Wine and Roses – Live at the Jazz Standard, I originally wrote "Bird Count" in college for my graduate recital at Eastman. I was trying to capture a little bit of a Mingus vibe. When I started the band in New York, I rearranged it for a full-size band, and we closed almost every Monday night with it for the five years that we played Monday nights at Visiones in Greenwich Village. I've heard solos go in every imaginable direction over the years. This is a good straight-ahead closer where you want to show-off your soloists, or alternatively, it gives young soloists a chance to play on the blues. "Bird Count" can be played at various tempos, increasing the difficulty as you ratchet it up.
An F blues with a romping melody line and riffs throughout the band, the solos can be switched up or opened up.
The beauty of this piece is, no doubles. That's rare for me. I'd call this a medium-advanced level piece. I've heard high schools, colleges and professional groups all play this work.