Recorded by Frank Sinatra; New 2017 Version With Strings
Arranged by Nelson Riddle, Transcribed by Dylan Canterbury
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Cat #: JLP-9035


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Edition: Jazz Studio Orchestra Arrangement with Vocal

Description: Swing - Difficult

Publisher: Jazz Lines Publications

New, updated version with strings!

This Nelson Riddle arrangement of the well-worn jazz standard "Blue Moon" was written for the 1961 Frank Sinatra album "Sinatra's Swingin' Session!!!" It treats the frequently covered source material in a fairly conventional manner while still coaxing out the trademark Sinatra/Riddle magic to differentiate it enough from the crowd.

Things start off on a slightly sinister note, with a mildly dissonant descending series of pads in the strings. These pads are rhythmically broken up by the trombones, with the muted trumpets playing a melody line over top. Measures 7 and 8 feature a fanfare-ish figure in the trombones and saxes that is reused at the end of every A section throughout Sinatra's vocals (which begin at measure 9). The backgrounds underneath the melody mostly consist of punchy horn hits, but underneath these hits is a baritone sax counter line that strongly hearkens back to Riddle's now-famous arrangement of "I've Got You Under My Skin."

These backgrounds remain fairly subdued until the final repeated fanfare at measures 39 and 40. Measure 41 sees a new riff introduced in the saxophones and trombones, with the trumpets joining in at measure 49, all with the rhythm section churning away on a heavy backbeat underneath. On top of these riffs is a tenor saxophone solo (performed by Plas Johnson on the original recording) that should have more in common with the R&B "honking" style of playing than a more traditional jazz-oriented approach.

Sinatra re-enters on the melody's bridge at measure 57. The arrangement is largely recycled from earlier from here on out, with the only major difference coming at measure 73. By this point, the band should be playing at a dynamic level barely above a whisper. A single muted trumpet plays a simple riff over the saxophone backgrounds from the beginning of the arrangement, leading into a Riddle trademark: an ending that consists solely of a descending bass line.

This arrangement is for studio orchestra featuring male vocalist. An optional synthesizer part has been included as a substitute for the string parts.

Full Score
2 Alto Saxophones
2 Tenor Saxophones
Baritone Saxophone
4 Trumpets
3 Trombones
Bass Trombone
3 Violins
Synthesizer (Alternate Part for Strings)
Trumpet 1: E6
Trombone 1: Db 5
Vocal Key: D flat