Recorded by Count Basie
Arranged by Thad Jones, Prepared by Dylan Canterbury, Rob DuBoff, and Jeffrey Sultanof
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Cat #: JLP-7718


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Edition: Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Description: Swing - Advanced

Publisher: Jazz Lines Publications

Recorded in 1962 at one of the sessions that would make up the album "Back with Basie," Thad Jones's "The Elder" is a unique entry in the catalog of charts he contributed to the Count Basie Orchestra's library. Clocking in at roughly 7 minutes, its performance time is about double that of the average Basie recording from this time period. Musically, the arrangement showcases several harmonic and rhythmic ideas that indicate the direction Jones's writing would take a few years later.

The warm melody at measure 9 is handled by saxophones with the trombones filling in the gaps with some bluesy unison lines. The feel should be relaxed and gentle all the way until measure 35, where a trumpet solo (handled by Al Aarons on the original recording) takes center stage. The first chorus features markedly complex background figures throughout the band, but in particular the saxes, who have some tricky 16th note lines. Be careful that your ensemble doesn't overwhelm the soloist during this part.

Measure 65 sees a surprise shift to a double time feel (another un-Basie-like feature of this particular arrangement) for the second chorus of trumpet solo. The ensemble backgrounds here are almost like a mini shout chorus, and your trumpet soloist is encouraged to craft their solo in and around the cracks during this section. Just as things appear to be losing control, the tempo drops out of double time for a chorus of piano beginning at measure 99.

The full band comes in for a more typically Basie "soft shout" chorus at measure 130 with an extremely unusual twist - a Freddie Green chordal guitar solo! This solo should fill in the gaps around the ensemble, with these gaps being noted in the guitar part. Also take note that the trumpet 4 part handles the ensemble lead here, so be aware that you'll need a strong player with a little bit of range.

A sense of tension begins to sneak in for the final A section at measure 155, with everything boiling over when the band takes off at full volume for half a chorus at measure 162. For all of the experiments Jones has thrown in to this point, this shout is pure, classic Basie through and through. The lead has now shifted to the trumpet 2 part, so once again be sure to have a strong player ready to handle this section. An eight measure Basie solo on the bridge sets up the tagged melody recap at measure 187, with the band lowly singing one final "amen" to bring things to a close.

This publication has been based on the original set of parts used during the recording session, this is not a transcription.


Full Score
2 Alto Saxophones
2 Tenor Saxophones
Baritone Saxophone
4 Trumpets
3 Trombones
Trumpet 1: D6
Trumpet 2: E6
Trumpet 4: E6
Trombone 1: Db5
Trombone 2: C5