Recorded by the Harry James Orchestra
Arranged by Johnny Thompson, Prepared by Rob DuBoff, Dylan Canterbury, and Jeffrey Sultanof
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Cat #: JLP-8688


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Edition: Jazz Studio Orchestra Arrangement

Description: Swing/Latin - Difficult

Publisher: Jazz Lines Publications

Despite being one of the most popular dance bands of the 1940s, the Harry James Orchestra was surprisingly eager to engage in several varieties of musical experiments. This Johnny Thompson arrangement of Juan Tizol's Keb-Lah from 1946 is a prime example, displaying a combination of accessibility and daring that is not present among many of James' rivals at the time.

A brash and brassy introduction gives way to a simple sax riff, which itself leads into the exotic melody at measure 9. Tizol handles the melody himself, a melody that seems to combine elements of two of his compositions from his Duke Ellington days: Caravan and Bakiff. The backgrounds consist of the same sax riff from before alongside a sweeping string figure that pops up every now and then. The saxes handle the bridge at measure 37 before allowing Tizol to regain the spotlight at 53. The backgrounds become more intricate at this point, with an almost sinister figure in the low instruments underpinning some gentle string pads.

A half chorus alto sax solo commences at measure 79. The backgrounds are fairly sparse, but feature a hint of bebop influence at times. The full ensemble plays a dramatic, almost Hollywood-like mini-shout at measure 93 before Tizol briefly returns to the fore at measure 101. A brass fanfare naturally announces the arrival of James' trumpet at measure 109. There's a sudden key change a few measures later, but James' solo continues on while the ensemble slowly builds beneath him. Everything comes to a climax at measure 143, with the drums winding things down for the final melody statement at measure 147. Once again the honors belong to Tizol, with the ensemble gradually winding down before suddenly exploding into the final (somewhat cliched) riff.

This arrangement is for studio orchestra with trumpet soloist. An optional trumpet 4 part is included that may be used for a soloist so that this arrangement may be played without a separate soloist. An alternate 4th woodwind part that eliminates the baritone sax double in favor of being on tenor sax throughout has been provided if your ensemble does not have access to two baritone saxes.

This publication has been prepared from Johnny Thompson's original score - this is not a transcription.


Full Score
Solo Trumpet
Woodwind 1: Alto Saxophone
Woodwind 2: Alto Saxophones (doubles Clarinet) Woodwind 3: Tenor Saxophone
Woodwind 4: Tenor Saxophone (doubles Baritone Sax, alternate WW4 part that avoids the Baritone Sax double)
Woodwind 5: Baritone Saxophone
4 Trumpets
3 Trombones
Bass Trombone
3 Violins
Trumpet 1: D6
Trombone 1: G4
Trombone 2: A4