The Latest Plague

A very loose jazz arrangement of the From First to Last song “The Latest Plague” — including arrangements for jazz piano trio and solo piano, along with a lead sheet for C instruments.


The story behind this arrangement is an interesting one. I do not listen to post-hardcore music much anymore, and have not in years. However, Skrillex (also known by his birth name Sonny Moore), now a famous electronic musician, joined his former band From First to Last at a surprise show in Los Angeles on February 7 — his first performance with the group in a decade. I myself had not listened to From First to Last in a decade. When I saw the news, I watched the video of the performance and revisited songs I had not heard since I was a teenager.

Upon listening to the song “The Latest Plague” for the first time in many years, I immediately noticed something I would not have been aware of a decade ago: The chorus has a fascinating chromatic bass line of C – A♭ – F – E – D♭ – B♭. Even though the song is clearly in C minor, the bass line uses not just a ♭2 scale degree (which is not uncommon), but also a ♮3 scale degree from the parallel major key. This opens up possibilities for colorful harmonic language and mode mixture, particularly in a jazz context. I thus harmonized the section with a Cmi7 – A♭M7 – Fmi7 – FmiM7/E – D♭M7 – B♭mi7 progression.

The bass line likewise outlines an intriguing [0,1,3,5,8,9] hexachord. I freely composed the subsequent material in the arrangement using this hexachord, and added another hexachord to fill out a tone row of 0 8 5 4 1 t 6 3 9 e 7 2.

And of course, as always, I cut off unnecessary quarter notes and wrote a lot of alternating meters. Because who plays in 4/4 anymore?

Piano Trio

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Lead Sheet

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Solo Piano

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