As Recorded by Louis Armstrong
Arranged by Salvador 'Tutti' Camarata, Prepared for Publication by Rob DuBoff, Dylan Canterbury, and Jeffrey Sultanof
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Cat #: JLP-6233


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Edition: Jazz Big Band Arrangement with Vocal

Description: Swing - Medium

Publisher: Jazz Lines Publications

Louis Armstrong had the ability to take even the most gimmicky of songs and turn them into unforgettable masterpieces. Armstrong recorded 'Zat You, Santa Claus? in 1953 with an orchestra arranged by Salvador 'Tutti' Camarata, with the end results being humorous, infectious, and infinitely satisfying.

Beginning with the titular question being invoked after a rapping on the "door" (actually a series of snare drum hits), the slinking bass line pops in to set the comically ominous tone that dominates the rest of the performance. Armstrong stays on vocals throughout, with his interpretation of the melody taking more and more harmonic and rhythmic liberties as things go on, so it's important for your vocalist to be at least somewhat familiar with his iconic musical personality.

The background figures largely stay out of the way until measure 32, where the ensemble takes a more directly interactive role, trading melody fragments with Armstrong for the first half of the second chorus. Receding from the spotlight at measure 48, the ensemble yields to the vocalist for most of the rest of the performance. Following a short but brassy attack, the performance ends much like it begins - a "rapping" on the door, followed by Armstrong joyfully and definitively confirming old St. Nick's presence.

Camarata's original arrangement featured only two saxophone parts and 3 trumpet parts (saxophones were baritone and bass). Typically, the big band arrangements that involved Louis Armstrong had him as one of the trumpets; hence, most of the arrangements were written for 3 players and Louis (even if he only sang on a particular track). We have added three extra saxophone parts (woodwinds 1-3) and alternate parts for the baritone and bass saxophones to make this playable by a sax section of 2 altos, 2 tenors, and baritone. Additionally, a 4th trumpet part has been added so this arrangement is playable by a standard big band instrumentation.

This publication was prepared using the original 1953 parts as supplied by the Louis Armstrong House Museum. Thanks for the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, Inc. for granting us permission to publish this arrangement.


Full Score
Woodwind 1: Alto Saxophone (Optional Added Part)
Woodwind 2: Alto Saxophone (Optional Added Part)
Woodwind 3: Tenor Saxophone (Optional Added Part)
Woodwind 4: Baritone Saxophone (Or Tenor Saxophone - Alternate Part Included)
Woodwind 5: Bass Saxophone (Or Baritone Saxophone - Alternate Part Included)
4 Trumpets (Trumpet 4 Optional)
4 Trombones
Drum Set
Vocal Key: C minor
Trumpet 1: D6
Trumpets 2-3: C#6
Trombone 1: C5