Recorded by Nat 'King' Cole
Arranged by Billy May, Prepared by Jeffrey Sultanof and Rob DuBoff
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Cat #: JLP-9827


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Edition: Jazz Big Band Arrangement with Vocal

Description: Swing - Difficult

Publisher: Jazz Lines Publications

There were very few singer-arranger pairings that worked as well as Nat 'King' Cole and Billy May, who recorded a series of hit singles together in the mid-1950s for Capitol Records. "Who's Sorry Now" fits very nicely into this framework, featuring an excellent performance by Cole and some of May's most clever writing.

The hard-swinging arrangement is started, interestingly enough, with no drummer, as the horns and bass kicking things off a capella for the eight bar introduction. Cole enters with the verse at measure 9, performing with his trademark warmth despite the song's somewhat bitter lyrics. The saxes should be smooth and subdued, the brass punchy and boisterous in their accompanying roles.

The melody proper enters at measure 25 after a brass fanfare to set things up two measures earlier. The backgrounds now shift into the typical May tropes; swooping saxophones and aggressive brass. The introduction is re-used as an interlude at measure 57, this time with drums, before an eight bar alto sax solo at measure 65. A hard-swinging, but brief, ensemble shout follows at measure 73, with the band starting at full blast and gradually tapering back down for Cole's re-entry with the second verse at measure 81.

The arrangement continues along much the same as it did before under Cole, this time with an added tag at the end. The chart should begin to slowly build to its climax beginning at measure 105, developing from a simmer to a full-on rolling boil by measure 115. The trumpets soar over the top of the syncopated saxes and trombones before everything comes to a crisp, clean close.

This arrangement is for jazz big band with male vocalist. In addition to standard big band instrumentation, there are parts for tuba, harp and auxiliary percussion. Woodwind 2 doubles on piccolo and alto sax; woodwind 3 doubles on piccolo and tenor sax; piano doubles on celeste. This is not a transcription - it has been prepared from Billy May's original score and the set of parts used during the recording session.

Full Score
2 Alto Saxophones (Alto Sax. 2 Doubles Piccolo)
2 Tenor Saxophones (Tenor Sax. 1 Doubles Piccolo)
Baritone Saxophone
4 Trumpets
4 Trombones
Tuba (Or Bass Trombone)
Percussion: Xylophone/Marimba/Timpani
Trumpet 1: E6
Trombone 1: B4