The AF Project

Hi! I am Will Phillips – a composer, arranger, and trumpeter. My goal for this project is to provide high quality arrangements of Aretha Franklin’s music for school jazz programs, independent ensembles, and musicians across the globe. The goal is to arrange and record several of Aretha Franklin’s songs into a jazz combo format; 1 lead instrumentalist or vocalist + 3 horns (trumpet, trombone, sax) + rhythm section (piano, bass, drums, guitar(s)). As a young student wanting to play jazz in a smaller setting – rather than the big band/jazz ensemble setting – finding music was often a challenge. We usually resorted to just playing the lead parts from big band charts or playing the same few combo arrangements ad nauseam. With this project, I hope to bring Aretha’s music to a wider, perhaps younger audience, while at the same time providing high quality sheet music to jazz programs and artists across the world!

Aretha Franklin helped shape the musical world we know today, as well as inspire thousands of musicians and non-musicians alike with her powerful voice and messages. Along with that, of course, goes the incredible arrangements which were aretha-franklin-the-queen-of-soul-photo-getty-imagesformed around the songs she sang. These arrangements of songs we all know and love, like Chain of Fools, really made the song what it is, by providing the perfect backdrop for Aretha’s vocals. Unfortunately, much of this music – aside from a couple of her most famous hits – were never arranged or written down beyond a lead vocal and a chord chart. Attempting to arrange these songs meant dealing with an abundance of copyright issues, that most found not worth the time and effort to navigate. That is… until now!

Through a publishing medium, I have acquired the rights to a massive portion of Aretha’s catalogue, and want to arrange as many of her songs as possible. Specifically, arranging them for jazz combo (4 horns + rhythm section, with or without vocalist). No Chain tease2era of Aretha’s music is left off the table! In fact, I already have finished arrangements for “Chain of Fools” and “A Rose is Still a Rose” for jazz combo groups, which covers a 30 year span from 1968 to 1998 respectively. Ideally, I’d like to complete 6-10 arrangements AND get them recorded! The recordings will be added alongside the arrangements, so that customers can preview the arrangements with live instrumentation. As of now, I can only provide a crude MIDI mock-up. Work has already begun on recording, but there is still a long way to go.

Even though the recordings are a work-in-progress, the charts are each being published as they are completed. You can find the following AF Project charts on

Chain of Fools button All the Kings Horses button

A Rose is Still a Rose button

More info on the AF Project to come…. 

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