Arranged by Shannon Roberts
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Cat #: W-52017


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Audio Sample:

Edition: Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Description: Swing - Difficult

Publisher: Walrus Music Publishing

The Ripper is a grade 5 level chart for Jazz Ensemble suited for Advanced High School and College Bands. The piece was inspired by Kurt Weil's 1928 The Threepenny Opera. A moritat (from mori meaning "deadly" and tat meaning "deed") is a medieval version of the murder ballad performed by strolling minstrels. In The Threepenny Opera, the moritat singer with his street organ introduces and closes the drama with the tale of the deadly Mackie Messer, or Mack the Knife, a character based on the dashing highwayman Macheath in John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (who was in turn based on the historical thief Jack Sheppard). The Brecht-Weill version of the character was far more cruel and sinister, and has been transformed into a modern anti-hero. The play opens with the moritat singer comparing Macheath (unfavorably) with a shark, and then telling tales of his robberies, murders, rapes, and arson. Though very dark in the original context, the piece became a huge hit in the late 1950s and early 60s with a versions by Bobby Darin and Ella Fitzgerald. This rendition for advanced jazz ensemble uses extended jazz harmonies and an augmented (stretched) version of the main theme. Each variation of the melody is changed in orchestration, counterpoint and harmony to add variety and interest to the main theme. It is a tour-de-force in 6 different keys. F-Ab-Bb-C-Eb-E- and a return to F. This is intended to build excitement toward the last section at letter K. Solo space is given for Alto 1-2, Tenor 1, and a short interlude for Bass. Feel free to expand the solo sections. The title, The Ripper, is a play on words with a double meaning alluding to Mackie Messer and jazz slang for a fast tempo and technical prowess. The performance time is approximately 4:00 minutes depending on the number of soloists, etc. Have fun!
Full Score
2 Alto Saxophones
2 Tenor Saxophones
Baritone Saxophone
5 Trumpets
4 Trombones
Bass Trombone
Trumpet 1: E6