Recorded by Charlie Barnet
Arranged by Billy Moore Jr., Prepared for Publication by Rob DuBoff, Dylan Canterbury, and Jeffrey Sultanof
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Cat #: JLP-8284DL


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Edition: Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Description: Swing - Medium Difficult

Publisher: Jazz Lines Publications


One of the Charlie Barnet Orchestra's biggest hits Skyliner is a wonderful example of what made the saxophonist's band so unique compared to its rivals. It strikes a perfect balance between danceable rhythms, a catchy melody, and a hint of bebop experimentalism.

Beginning with a piano solo, the riff that forms the main part of the melody commences in the unison brass sections at measure 9. This riff is played three times in total, with the sax section (featuring Barnet as the soprano sax soloist) joining in with some string-like held tones on the second repeat. The bridge is noticeably less busy, with the saxes and a single muted trumpet gliding atop some grumbling trombone backgrounds. The melody finishes with the trumpets playing a mildly abstract fanfare to set up a key change at measure 66.

The next section of this arrangement centers around the trombone section and Barnet (now on tenor sax) going back and forth with each other. The rest of the horns add occasional depth to the proceedings while never getting in the way of the stars. A piano solo follows, with a slightly dissonant brass riff breaking things up a little bit. The arrangement returns to the original key for the finale, which culminates in a sudden drop in tempo and a bluesy sax section riff to provide a surprising, but entertaining, conclusion.

This arrangement, written by Billy Moore Jr. and recorded in 1944 by Charlie Barnet, features a tenor saxophone soloist that doubles on soprano (this was Barnet's part). In addition to that tenor/soprano part, there is a standard saxophone section of 2 altos, 2 tenors, and a baritone. The original arrangement featured tenor saxophone 2 and baritone saxophone doubling on alto saxophone (at different points). To make this more playable this edition avoids those doubles while maintaining the original sound. In addition, in spite of what it looks like in the below video, the baritone saxophone is not actually playing when the saxophone sections stands to play the famous background behind the brass melody.

The publication of Skyliner was prepared from Billy Moore, Jr's original score - this is not a transcription.


Full Score
Soprano Saxophone/Tenor Saxophone Soloist
2 Alto Saxophones
2 Tenor Saxophones
Baritone Saxophone
4 Trumpets
4 Trombones
Trumpet 1: B5
Trombone 1: C5