Arranged by Duke Ellington, Prepared by Dylan Canterbury, Rob DuBoff, and Jeffrey Sultanof
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Cat #: JLP-7363DL


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Edition: Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Description: Latin/Swing/Waltz - Difficult

Publisher: Jazz Lines Publications

The longest of the portions of "Black, Brown and Beige," "Various Themes" is, as the name implies, a number of separate melodic motifs stitched together and given a unified title. The original names for these melodies are "Sand," "Beige (aka Sugar Hill Penthouse)" and "Cy Runs (aka Rock Waltz)." This gives the movement a feeling somewhat similar to an entr'acte in a musical.

The first section, "Sand," is taken at a brisk Latin tempo, with the trumpets and woodwinds providing strong fanfare-style accompaniment to the rumbling and almost sinister main melody in the trombones and baritone saxophone. The rest of the saxophones join in on the melody at measure 31, with continued accompaniment from the clarinet and trumpets until measure 47. At this point, the various melody fragments are passed around through the sections, with the climax coming at measure 61. The segment comes to an abrupt halt with a dramatically descending saxophone line leading into a final dissonant brass hit.

An Ellington stride piano solo and a slow woodwind dirge at measure 88 sets up a shift to 3/4 time for the second section of the movement. The melody, handled first by trumpeter Shorty Baker at measure 105 and then trombonist Lawrence Brown at measure 161, would go on to serve as the main theme for "Sugar Hill Penthouse." This entire section needs to be approached with a certain level of delicacy, despite the saxophones having some occasionally knotty background figures.

Measure 192 marks the next interlude between sections, with Baker once again thrust into the spotlight. This interlude is marked by a shift back to 4/4 time as well as a noticeably slower tempo. A Ben Webster tenor saxophone cadenza leads back to a 3/4 time that is taken a bit brighter than before. This section, known as either "Cy Runs" or "Rock Waltz," features mostly rhythmic unison throughout the horns. Although he is technically an accompanist, drummer Sonny Greer's performance during this section is quite intense and virtuosic. The final portion of the movement shines the spotlight back on Webster, as he performs a series of cadenzas over multiple ensemble chords.

Various Themes goes until 7:23 in the below clip.


Full Score
2 Alto Saxophones
2 Tenor Saxophones (Tenor 1 Doubles Clarinet)
Baritone Saxophone
4 Trumpets
3 Trombones
Trumpet 1: D6
Trumpet 2: C6
Trombone 1: D5