Recorded by Chubby Jackson's Big Band
Arranged by Norman 'Tiny' Kahn, Edited by Jeffrey Sultanof
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Cat #: JLP-8698


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Edition: Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Description: Swing - Difficult

Publisher: Jazz Lines Publications

Norman ‘Tiny’ Kahn was a drummer, pianist, vibraharpist, composer and arranger. Born in New York in 1923, he played with the bands of Boyd Raeburn, George Auld, Chubby Jackson, Charlie Barnet and Elliot Lawrence. Al Porcino has said that Mel Lewis was directly influenced by Kahn’s drumming style, and Johnny Mandel has repeatedly stated that as a writer, Kahn was “better than all of us.” Primarily self-taught as an arranger, his compositions such as Tiny’s Blues (co-written with Al Cohn) and Who Fard That Shot? are still popular with musicians for their bebop harmonies and Count Basie-esque swing. His arrangement of Over the Rainbow for Charlie Barnet is a classic setting of the song worth seeking out.

Kahn was chief arranger for the 1949 Chubby Jackson Orchestra that only existed for a few months, but luckily the group recorded for Columbia Records, and broadcasts survive. Father Knickerbopper was a highlight of the Columbia session, taken at a blisteringly fast tempo with exciting solos.

This version of Father Knickerbopper is the stock arrangement issued in 1949; the key is different than the Jackson version and was written so that it is playable by a smaller ensemble. It was adapted for full big band instrumentation and recorded by the Ted Heath Orchestra when Heath tried to introduce the current modern jazz styles into his repertoire. This attempt was a failure, and the arrangement didn’t remain in the active book for long. I believe the arranger who adapted this for Heath is none other than John Dankworth, whom Heath repeatedly asked to join his ensemble full time. At the time, Dankworth was playing saxophone on British cruise ships so he could get to New York and listen to the modern jazz being played on 52nd Street. It would have been easy for him to obtain this stock and then fill it out for Heath. The stock was probably not available in England at the time.

If you listen to both the Jackson (1949 and 1957) and Heath versions, it is evident that both a medium and a very fast tempo work for this piece. But the one thing you don’t want is for the piece to sound sloppy. Also resist the temptation for the band to ‘go wild’ in terms of dynamics; constant loud playing is not appropriate here.  It is a great, up-tempo swing tune featuring solos for piano, baritone sax, alto sax, tenor sax, and trumpet. Feel free to open up for solos; the changes are great to improvise on. The sound sample is courtesy of Terry Gibbs, who performed this exact arrangement in May of 2010 during a tribute concert to Tiny Kahn.

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