Recorded by the Duke Ellington Orchestra
Composed and Arranged by Billy Strayhorn, Prepared by Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof
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Cat #: JLP-8115DL

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Edition: Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Description: Ballad - Medium

Publisher: Jazz Lines Publications

In early 1967 Strayhorn, who was suffering from esophagael cancer and the effects of radiation treatment, set out to compose a multi-movement work in which one of sections was to be titled Blue Cloud. A sketch of this movement (in Strayhorn’s hand) exists with that title. Perhaps realizing that due to his failing health he would most likely not be able to complete this extended work, in February 1967 he sent the score to Ellington to have parts extracted. At this time the piece was retitled Blood Count, evocative of his time spent in a hospital for cancer treatment. We do know that this title was Strayhorn’s as there exists a lead sheet in his handwriting bearing the name Blood Count. Ellington rehearsed this piece while traveling through Italy and then performed it live at a concert in Stuttgart, Germany on March 6, 1967. Ellington, who was on tour in Europe, further performed it at the Theatre Des Champs Elysees in Paris on March 10, 1967. Upon his return to New York, the ensemble played it live once again at Carnegie Hall in New York on March 26, 1967, this concert immortalized as part of the multi-disc set The Greatest Jazz Concert in the World. Billy Strayhorn died at 4:45 a.m. on May 31, 1967 at the Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York.

The Duke Ellington Orchestra would visit this arrangement just two more times: at a concert in Los Angeles on June 23, 1967 and then for the famous studio-recorded tribute to Strayhorn ...And His Mother Called Him Bill (New York, August 28, 1967).

This publication is derived from a sketch score, a lead sheet, an incomplete full score that may not be in Strayhorn’s hand, and the original parts with the names of the Ellington musicians in the top left-hand corner of each title page. Corrections had been marked by the players in some cases.

Full Score
2 Alto Saxophones
2 Tenor Saxophones
Baritone Saxophone
4 Trumpets
3 Trombones