As Recorded by Rob McConnell; Newly Revised 2018 Edition
Arranged by Rob McConnell, Prepared by Dylan Canterbury, Rob DuBoff, and Jeffrey Sultanof
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Cat #: JLP-8002DL


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Edition: Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Description: Swing - Advanced

Publisher: Jazz Lines Publications

This arrangement was completely revised in March 2018.

Recorded on "Big Band Jazz, Vol. 1," (1981) Rob McConnell's take on the classic standard "Just Friends" can best be summed up in one word: intense. This is a highly challenging arrangement that will require a significant amount of attention to technically execute, not to mention make it swing.

The arrangement starts off on a fairly conventional note with an 8 measure piano solo setting up the straightforward melody treatment in the saxophones at measure 9. The brass enter with a semi-unison counter line on the second half of the melody beginning at measure 25. Things begin to get tricky at measure 41, where the rhythm section completely drops out to leave the horns to an a capella soli chorus over the tune's form. Appropriately enough, this is the only part of the arrangement that dips below a medium loud volume level, as well.

The rhythm section re-enters with the pickups to measure 73, where an ensemble blast sets up the first in a succession of three soloists. First is a two chorus trombone solo with backgrounds at measure 105. A brief ensemble shout at measure 137 diverts the spotlight to a two chorus tenor sax solo at measure 145, recycling the backgrounds from the trombone solo beginning at measure 169.

Before the final solo, McConnell's arrangement takes an unexpected turn at measure 201, where a unison soli featuring the trombone section and bass takes center stage for a full chorus. This soli section is undeniably challenging and will require a strong group of players to execute properly. Another ensemble fanfare at measure 233 launches into a two chorus trumpet solo, with a different set of backgrounds entering at measure 265.

The final melody statement at measure 297 should feature the band playing at maximum intensity. The main line is handled in the saxophones, while the brass provide some powerful counterpoint. The final few measures of the form are tagged before the brass and rhythm section set up several ensemble breaks that are filled in by a corkscrewing saxophone line. The arrangement comes to an appropriately high-octane conclusion with a dissonant held chord followed by one final big ensemble blast.

This arrangement is for jazz big band with additional parts for two horns in F and a percussionist doubling on vibraphone and xylophone. The two horn in F parts may alternately be played by a 5th trumpet and a 5th trombone. This is not a transcription - it has been prepared from Rob McConnell's original set of parts.

Full Score
2 Alto Saxophones
2 Tenor Saxophones
Baritone Saxophone
4 Trumpets
2 Horns in F (Or Trumpet 5 and Trombone 5)
4 Trombones
Percussion: Vibraphone and Xylophone
Trumpets 1 & 2: G6
Trumpet 3: E6
Trombones 1-4: C5