Recorded by the Don Redman Orchestra
Arranged by Don Redman, Transcribed by Dylan Canterbury, Edited by Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof
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Cat #: JLP-7717DL


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Edition: Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Description: Swing - Difficult

Publisher: Jazz Lines Publications

It's hard to believe at times that Don Redman composed Chant of the Weed in 1931. It is significantly ahead of its time, both harmonically and rhythmically; it makes extensive use of the whole tone scale, and some of the unison saxophone figures could almost be described as proto-bebop. This publication has been based on a recording by the Redman Orchestra from 1931.

A plodding trombone and bass introduction sets up the dreamy melody at measure 5. The brass section provides muted backgrounds behind the slithering saxes during the more harmonically daring sections, while the parts where the saxes are left to themselves are much more conventional sounding. A brief diminished fanfare yields the spotlight to an alto sax solo (handled by Redman himself on the recording), with some simple background pads for accompaniment.

A four measure trombone/tenor sax chorus sets up a clarinet solo at measure 46. This solo essentially trades fours with the trumpet section, whose mini solis clearly invoke Louis Armstrong's revolutionary style. The final trumpet soli is cut slightly short at measure 76 to allow for a gradual dip in intensity, with a descending line in the saxes and one trombone setting up a four bar piano break at measure 80.

The shout chorus at measure 84 is truly a masterwork of musical craftsmanship. Redman's clever way of weaving the sax and brass sections around one another proved to be highly influential on every major big band arranger that followed him. Be wary that he wasn't afraid to give the sax section a workout, as some of the triplet passages are quite challenging.

It is highly recommended that you and your ensemble spend time checking out the original recording of this arrangement in order to properly interpret it. Some things to listen for are the clipped articulations of the brass, the heavy vibrato and slow smears of the saxes, and the heavy, somewhat chunky feel in the rhythm section. If you attempt to play this arrangement in a more modern way, many of the sections will not work.



Full Score
3 Alto Saxophones (Alto Sax 2 Doubles Clarinet)
Tenor Saxophone
3 Trumpets
3 Trombones
Banjo (or Guitar)
Trumpet 1: Eb6
Trombone 1: C5