How come the saxes always get to play all the fun parts in big bands? Cool, beautiful and hip melody lines, accompanied by an occasional “bap” or “do-bauw” from the brass section. Ok, it is not the whole truth, but there are some fun sax parts that are (reasonably) playable on trombone as well. Do I need to say how good it will sound when played on trombone?
Thad Jones is known for his brilliant music for big band, and Groove Merchant is one of my favorites. Especially the sax chorus is amazing. Full-fat super-hip lines with intense voicings, this is Thad at his best! And even better, it is actually quite suited for trombone. Admitted, it is a bit technically challenging, but the range is spot on – when playing it an octave below the lead soprano. I wrote out the harmony as well, it´s a fun piece to solo on.
Since you probably already have the good taste of playing the trombone, I assume that you already have a recording of Groove Merchant as well. Use it as a luxury play-along, together with the free PDF sheet music with the trombone transcription. If you don´t have the tune, hurry down to your local iTunes store and grab the album Central Park North with Thad Jones & Mel Lewis Orchestra. Don´t settle for only Groove Merchant, the whole album is great!
So at your next gig where Groove Merchant shows up, get up in front of the band and play along with the saxes! They won’t love it, but the audience will! And tell them I said hi…
Have fun and play great!
PS. Do you need to refresh the trombone solo on Tip Toe? A big band must-know-tune for trombone players!