Recorded by the Harry James Orchestra
Arranged by Neal Hefti, Prepared for Publication Dylan Canterbury, Rob DuBoff, and Jeffrey Sultanof
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Cat #: JLP-8717


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Edition: Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Description: Swing - Difficult

Publisher: Jazz Lines Publications

Although he achieved his greatest commercial success playing romantic ballads, trumpeter Harry James was highly keen on exploring the experimental side of jazz as both a trumpet player and a bandleader throughout his career. Bells was written for James' band in 1949 by Neal Hefti, and is clearly influenced by the bebop revolution that was taking place at the time. This arrangement will provide your ensemble with a nice challenge due to both its brisk pace and demanding brass section parts.

James' ascending trumpet serves as a way to set up the entrance for the entire band at measure 7, playing at full power with James continuing to scream atop everything. The melody proper commences at measure 11 and is mostly handled by the saxophones, with some not-so-subtle brass blasts filling in the gaps on occasion. James briefly takes center stage again at measure 21 before yielding back to the saxes a few measures later.

At this point, the arrangement becomes more soloist-oriented. First up is James for a full chorus, followed by a half chorus of tenor sax and a half chorus of alto sax. Each of these solo sections are broken up by some crisp, biting ensemble fanfares that provide a nice set-up for the individual stars. The whole band gets to shine beginning at measure 109 with a shout chorus that seems to foreshadow the work Hefti would do for the Count Basie Orchestra a few years later. The bridge sees the return of the melody, with some high-note heroics in the trumpets above a simple bed of saxes. Following the final A section, James re-plays the ascending figure from his introduction that sets up the band's last blast, with James getting one last screaming rip in for good measure.

This publication was based on Neal Hefti's original score - this is not a transcription.

Full Score
Solo Trumpet
2 Alto Saxophones
2 Tenor Saxophones
Baritone Saxophone
4 Trumpets
4 Trombones
Solo Trumpet: G6
Trumpet 1: G6
Trombone 1: D5