Recorded by Count Basie
Arranged by Frank Foster
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Cat #: JLP-7441DL


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Edition: Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Description: Swing - Difficult

Publisher: Jazz Lines Publications

Originally released on the Count Basie Orchestra's 1962 album "Easin' It," "Misunderstood Blues" is a lesser known gem from the pen of Frank Foster. Its slow, grinding tempo and pleading melody do an excellent job of invoking turn of the century blues singers while still being rhythmically and harmonically sophisticated and modern.

The melody wastes no time in making its entrance at the beginning, with the saxophone section handling it as a soli. Rhythmically, the saxes shift back and forth between double-time and regular feels over the steadily churning slow blues feel in the rhythm section. Throughout the first two melody choruses, a plunger trumpet obbligato fills in the cracks around the saxes while the trombones play some low-moaning groans underneath.

The spotlight shifts fully to the trumpet soloist at measure 25 for two blues choruses. The saxophones provide some simple underpinning backgrounds for the second chorus. A tenor solo commences at measure 49, lasting 3 blues choruses with two separate sets of backgrounds. The first (at measure 61) are some gentle held chords in the brass, the second is a simple but rhythmically prodding call-and-response between the saxophones and the wah-wah-ing brass.

Two choruses of piano solo set up the thrilling, full powered shout section at measure 98. Although the lead trumpet range is not excessively high during this section, due to the slower tempo this part can be a bit of a blow, and requires a strong brass section in general. The final ensemble fall leads back into the melody's re-entrance at measure 110, and is approached the same way now as it was at the chart's beginning. The ending features the ensemble tagging the last four bars of the melody while slowly tapering off in volume until the final subdued chord and plunger trumpet cadenza.

Most of this arrangement matches the original 1962 recording; however, Frank revised this arrangement later on and included additional solo sections with backgrounds. This version represents his last word on this arrangement. Although the majority of this publication has been based on Frank Foster's original score, the last four measures of the shout chorus appear to be missing. They have been transcribed accordingly.



Full Score
2 Alto Saxophones
2 Tenor Saxophones
Baritone Saxophone
4 Trumpets
4 Trombones
Trumpet 1: E6
Trombone 1: G4