...is only partially relevant. Many of you know that I am a writer (comp & arranging). As such, you might think that I am very much in the "play what's on the page camp." I am not. How many of you REALLY only play what's on the page? Are all of the following always marked in your part in a clear and specific manner? 1. dynamics - not just the starting pitch of a phrase, but each specific crescendo or decrescendo you might play over the course of the phrase; of course, exactly how loud is piano or forte? 2. vibrato - speed, style, width, when to start or finish? 3. sound - bright, dark, widening, thinning? 4. articulation - does the front of a note "bounce" or is it "flat," exactly HOW short or long do you play each note 5. pitch - esp. jazz, do you ever bend a note at all 6. rhythm - exactly how does notate a laid-back feel? 7. who's most important at each moment 8. How fast or wide is that shake? These are just the things that immediately popped into my head. There are many other specific questions and situations that come up regularly. Most of the answers to these are simply arrived at by PLAYING the song in the way that sounds best to you, your fellow musicians, and your director. There is rarely only one right answer. The arranger may have had (hopefully, anyways) specifically personnel or levels of musicianship in mind. I know that in writing things for my high school band (I direct) I put things in that are specifically playable by my personnel, even if I'd love to have it up an octave or in another fashion. Maybe the band he wrote the chart for didn't have a strong lead player, so he didn't put anything upstairs. That doesn't mean he wouldn't necessarily want it. Your personal EXPERIENCE should provide you these answers. If you don't really have the experience or familiarity (thru recordings, etc.) of a particular genre, tune, band, or arranger, then you should play it safe and stay close to the page. Obviously, the disposition of your band leader is of paramount importance, and should be a significant factor in your decisions. As an aside, I can't remember HOW many times I've been in a group where someone asked question of the conductor and was told "that's the way the comp/arr. wanted it." First, it's most likely that he/she doesn't really KNOW that person, or even their style. Secondly, it's often those same conductors who will simply ignore other specific instructions by the writer (esp. tempos). Again, let your personal experience and skills dictate when you change the music at hand.