Recorded by Ella Fitzgerald
Arranged by Paul Weston, Prepared for Publication by Dylan Canterbury, Rob DuBoff, and Jeffrey Sultanof
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Cat #: JLP-6165DL


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Edition: Jazz Big Band Arrangement with Vocal

Description: Swing - Medium Difficult

Publisher: Jazz Lines Publications

Ella Fitzgerald's cover of Irving Berlin's Blue Skies is widely regarded as one of her finest recorded performances. A musical tour-de-force from start to finish, Fitzgerald's unmistakeable vocals shine both in melody and scat improvisation, and Paul Weston's arrangement does a great job of supporting her while never becoming overwhelming. Other than some rangey brass parts, this arrangement is not overly difficult. The arrangement was originally recorded during the Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Irving Berlin Song Book session (on March 18, 1958) but for unknown reasons was instead released on Ella’s Get Happy album (1959).

Beginning with Fitzgerald scatting freely over four held chords, the melody proper kicks in with the tempo at measure 5. Fitzgerald is mostly accompanied by rhythm section and the muted trumpet of Harry 'Sweets' Edison for this first chorus, with a simple line in the lower saxes hopping in for a moment on the bridge.

Once the melody is over, the next three choruses shine the spotlight on Fitzgerald's virtuosic scat singing, with the rest of the band gradually building in around her. First up are the saxes, followed by the trombones, and finally the trumpets. Each chorus should ratchet up a notch in intensity until reaching an enthusiastic peak upon the trumpets' entrance. Fitzgerald returns to the melody at measure 80, with the grand finale culminating in a brief scat break and a bright final ensemble blast. This arrangement would make a great vocal showpiece for a festival or competition!

This publication was based on the original set of parts that were used at the 1958 recording session - this is not a transcription.

Full Score
2 Alto Saxophones
2 Tenor Saxophones
Baritone Saxophone
4 Trumpets
3 Trombones
Bass Trombone
Vocal Key: C
Trumpet 1: E6
Trombone 1: C5