Trombone lesson: Tip Toe Trombone Solo

Trombone lesson: Tip Toe Trombone Solo

Tip Toe trombone solo

If you are into big band music, you probably know Thad Jones. He is one of the all-time greatest arrangers and composers in that genre if you ask me. His work includes great tunes as The Second Race, Groove Merchant, Backbone, Little Pumpkin, The Farewell, Fingers, Us, and many others.

After more than ten years in Count Basie’s Orchestra, he started his own big band with drummer Mel Lewis. The Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Orchestra began performing at the Village Vanguard in New York in 1966. The band released 20 albums (live and studio recordings) between 1966-1978.

In 1978, Thad moved to Copenhagen, where he became leader of the Danish Radio Big Band. Later he started the big band Eclipse, with Danish, Swedish, and American musicians – a band he led until his death in 1986.

Tip Toe

One of my favorite Thad Jones compositions is Tip Toe, a medium swing rhythm-changes tune in Ab. It is especially famous for the great unison trombone chorus. It is really fun to play, and a benchmark for trombone players. The story behind the tune is about waking up in the middle of the night, tip-toeing down to the kitchen to grab a bite from the fridge. Out of the fridge come four trombone players, playing the unison solo! It is supposed to be a true story, experienced by Thad himself, and he sat up until early that morning and wrote down the solo!

Play-along with the band

Here is a remastered version of the studio recording of Tip Toe from 1970 in a comfortable medium tempo with Thad Jones & Mel Lewis Big Band. Trombone solo chorus starts at 1:37.

Try it out, download the sheet music or click at the pic below!

[nggallery id=32]


  1. Dan 12 years ago

    I remember Tip-toe, I saw Thad Jones and Mel Lewis perform it live. The hard part was having everyone articulate the same.

  2. George Kaye 10 years ago

    The soli is for 4 trombones and BASS. Please don’t forget the bass.
    Thank you.

  3. Joey 9 years ago

    Thanks so much for posting this! It really helps.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *