Recorded by Ella Fitzgerald
Arranged by Billy May
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Cat #: JLP-9706


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Edition: Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Description: Swing - Difficult

Publisher: Jazz Lines Publications

Ella Fitzgerald was no stranger to Ted Koehler and Harold Arlen's 'Get Happy,' having used it as the title track for her 1959 album. This Billy May arrangement, however, is taken from her 1961 album 'Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Harold Arlen Song Book' (recorded in 1960).

May's arrangement begins with a simple but effective call and response between the preacher (the trumpets) and the congregation (the saxophones) with some steady accompaniment from the trombones, baritone saxophone and rhythm section. Things get more complicated upon the vocalist's entry at measure 16, where the tempo suddenly drops out for a mostly rubato interpretation of the verse. During these rubato sections, the saxophones hand the role of preacher over to Fitzgerald while they (along with the arco bass) fall into the position of being the "organist." The bright swing tempo briefly kicks back in at measure 31 before Fitzgerald resumes her rubato solo, before allowing the band to play a triumphant fanfare that leads into the melody at measure 43.

From here on out, the arrangement becomes much more conventional with the saxophones and brass each taking turns providing their "amens" underneath Fitzgerald's sermon. May brings back the call and response in the ensemble at measure 75 before a series of brass blasts set up and then accompany an alto sax solo. Fitzgerald returns to more ensemble "amens" at measure 107 before the call-and-response figure returns for the ending at measure 135. The arrangement ends on a bit of a sweet and sour note. The sweet part is the brass holding a warm Major 7(#11) chord; the sour part is the saxophones play a unison but loose interpretation of the first few bars of the melody, ending on a flatted 9th. The vocal key is Bb.

This arrangement is for jazz big band with female vocal soloist. It is not a transcription - it has been prepared from Billy May's original score and the set of parts used during the recording session.

Full Score
2 Alto Saxophones
2 Tenor Saxophones
Baritone Saxophone
4 Trumpets
3 Trombones
Bass Trombone
Vocal Key: Bb
Trumpet 1: C6
Trombone 1: C5