Recorded by the John Kirby Sextet
Arranged by Charlie Shavers, Transcribed by Dylan Canterbury
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Cat #: JLP-7532DL


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Edition: Jazz Sextet Arrangement

Description: Swing - Difficult

Publisher: Jazz Lines Publications

John Kirby's well-documented appreciation of classical music should mean it is no surprise that his famous sextet often performed jazz versions of famous classical themes. This version of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from "The Nutcracker" was reworked into a "bounce" by fellow classically inclined musician, trumpeter Charlie Shavers.

Things begin with a playful, even impish introduction with a winding and twisting horn line. The melody proper begins at measure 17, with the now-familiar theme rhythmically tweaked in several clever and amusing ways. The horns trade melody statements back and forth with the piano beginning at measure 49, so be sure to maintain a similar musical approach to make these transitions as seamless as possible. A virtuosic ascending line in the piano sets up the final melody recap at measure 81. The introduction returns briefly at measure 97 before the ensemble dies off to near nothingness at the end.

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when performing this (or any other) John Kirby Sextet arrangement is to maintain a light and playful approach to playing. These arrangements are highly quaint, humorous, and even baroque at times, and too much bombast will result in a clumsy and bogged down feeling. There is no better way to understand how to approach this music than by listening to the original recording for guidance.

Full Score
Alto Saxophone
Trumpet: B5