Recorded by Louie Bellson; NEWLY ENGRAVED EDITION FOR 2019!
Arranged by Don Menza, Prepared by Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof
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Cat #: JLP-51403


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Edition: Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Description: Swing - Difficult

Publisher: Jazz Lines Publications

The name of this chart is a bit of false advertising, as Don Menza's "Groove Blues" is actually 40 measures in length. That being said, even without following the traditional 12 bar form, the entire arrangement (originally recorded by Louie Bellson in 1975) is permeated with the unmistakable funk of the blues.

The band explodes right off the bat with a loud blast, followed by some biting backgrounds under a brief raucous solo courtesy of the piece's composer. The hard-swinging melody begins at measure 9 and is pretty evenly distributed across the ensemble. The underpinning backgrounds are simple, yet effective, and should have an overall edginess to them. Another honking tenor sax solo occurs at measure 41, slightly delaying the unison sax melody on the final A section at measure 49.

The brass provide a bright send-off into a chorus-long sax section soli at measure 57 that will surely give your players a bit of a workout. Although it is technically demanding, be sure that it continues to swing as hard as possible. The listener's ears are given a little bit of a break from the intensity for the first solo chorus at measure 97 on the original recording, as trumpeter Blue Mitchell and bassist Johnny Williams are left all to themselves for the first 16 bars before the backgrounds enter at measure 113. The intensity picks back up for the next two solos, handled by a plunger-mute wielding Cat Anderson and Menza's tenor saxophone. The backgrounds are played once more behind Menza.

Once the solos are wrapped up, the final shout chorus commences at measure 139 under slightly subdued pretenses. The brass are unison in the first four measures before splitting into harmony upon the saxophones' entrance. Things officially take off into the stratosphere, however, when Anderson launches into the high note heroics he was most famous for at measure 147. Even if your band chooses to forgo the screaming, the entire shout should continue to build in energy and attitude all the way through its blues-infused finale.

This publication is not a transcription - it has been prepared from a set of parts supplied to us by Don Menza.

Full Score
2 Alto Saxophones
2 Tenor Saxophones
Baritone Saxophone
5 Trumpets
5 Trombones
Trumpet 1: Eb6
Trumpet 5: Opt. Scream Solo
Trombone 1: Db5