Recorded by the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra
Arranged by Wynton Marsalis
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Cat #: JLP-7879DL


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Edition: Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Description: Swing - Difficult

Publisher: Jazz Lines Publications

The third movement of Wynton Marsalis' "Big Train" suite takes its name from a real life steam locomotive named, appropriately enough, for its extreme length. This arrangement does a wonderful job of capturing the essence of what made the "Big Boys" so unique - their size, raw strength, and unique design.

Things commence with some honking plunger-muted trumpets and grumbling trombones before a brief saxophone interlude at letter B that is somewhat evocative of the work songs of the railroad construction workers of the late 1800s. The full band partakes in some old-fashioned big band fun for a bit at letter C before the train begins to pick up a bit of steam via an accelerando at measure 34. Things return to normal shortly afterward, with the journey resuming its comfortable clickety-clack pace (minus some quick plunger muted trumpet interjections).

A written bass solo sets up an extended improvised trumpet solo that begins at letter G, continuing all the way until the ensemble's re-entrance at letter K. Said trumpet solo is shaken up at the end by a brief double time excursion and some collective small ensemble improvisation at letters I and J. A short full band romp sets up a tenor sax solo at letter L that concludes with a similar double time outburst and collective improvisation as the trumpet solo.

The entire ensemble takes center stage for most of the rest of the arrangement beginning at letter P. Some three-way counterpoint between the horn sections at letter Q busy things up before a grunting low-instrument line sets up (and continues through) the work song-like sax melody at letter S. This section incorporates a time-honored swing-era tradition - a triple-repeated melody that gets softer each successive repeat. As the train's journey comes to a close, the tempo gradually grinds to a crawl, with some atonal trumpet squeaks serving as a mock-up of the train's brakes gradually easing it into the final station.


Full Score
Woodwind 1: Alto Saxophone and Soprano Saxophone
Woodwind 2: Alto Saxophone and Soprano Saxophone
Woodwind 3: Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, and Soprano Saxophone
Woodwind 4: Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone, and Alto Saxophone
Woodwind 5: Baritone Saxophone
4 Trumpets
3 Trombones
Trumpet 1: E6 (C7 squeak)
Trumpet 2: C#6 (Bb6 squeak)
Trombone 1: B4