Trombone lesson: Groove Merchant sax chorus for trombone

Trombone lesson: Groove Merchant sax chorus for trombone

Groove Merchant sax chorus for trombone

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 they 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. Admittedly, this is a bit technically challenging, but the range is spot on – when played an octave below the lead soprano. I wrote out the harmony as well, it’s a fun piece to solo on.

So at your next big band gig with Groove Merchant on the setlist, get up in front of the band and play along with the saxes! They won’t love it, but the audience will!

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!

Play-along with the band

Here is a remastered studio version of Groove Merchant from 1969 (time flies!) in a reasonable medium tempo with the one and only Thad Jones & Mel Lewis Big Band. Sax chorus starts at 1:20.


This version with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra is great too. A bit faster to increase the challenge a bit (as if that was needed…). Sax chorus starts at 2:16.

As you might know, Vanguard Jazz Orchestra is what Thad Jones &amp; Mel Lewis Big Band eventually transformed into after Thad, without telling even Mel, moved to Denmark to be with the woman he was in love with. It goes without saying that Mel Lewis wasn’t too happy with either Thad’s decision to move or his way of doing it…

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Download the sheet music with GROOVE MERCHANT SAX CHORUS FOR TROMBONE as pdf here



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  2. kim 10 years ago

    Do you have the tenor part as well? I would love to see it because we are trying to make it a combo chart!

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