Download Flirtibird - score DUKE ELLINGTON PDF

TitleFlirtibird - score DUKE ELLINGTON
Tags Musicology Drum Kit Saxophone Trombone
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Page 1

Flirtibird
By Duke Ellington


As performed by the Duke Ellington Orchestra

Transcribed and Edited by David Berger for Jazz at Lincoln Center


Full Score


This transcription was made especially for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2013–14
Nineteenth Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Program.


Jazz at Lincoln Center and Alfred Publishing gratefully acknowledge the cooperation
and support provided in the publication of this year's Essentially Ellington music series:


Founding leadership support for Essentially Ellington is provided by The Jack and Susan Rudin Educational and Scholarship Fund.
Major support is provided by Alfred and Gail Engelberg, Ella Fitzgerald Foundation, Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation,

Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, and the Vosshall Family.

Jazz at LincoLn center’s EssEntially Ellington Library

Wynton Marsalis, Artistic Director, Jazz at Lincoln Center

Page 2

Notes oN PlayiNg elliNgtoN

At least 95% of modern-day large ensemble jazz playing comes out of three
traditions: Count Basie’s band, Duke Ellington’s band, and the orchestra-
tions of small groups. Those young players interested in jazz will be drawn
to small groups for the opportunity to improvise and for practical reasons
(it is much easier to organize 4 or 5 people than it is 15). Schools have taken
over the task (formerly performed by dance bands) of training musicians to
be ensemble players. Due to the Basie Band’s popularity and its simplic-
ity of style and emphasis on blues and swing, the better educators have
almost exclusively adopted this tradition for teaching jazz ensemble play-
ing. As wonderful as Count Basie’s style is, it doesn’t address many of the
important styles developed under the great musical umbrella we call jazz.
Duke Ellington’s comprehensive and eclectic approach to music offers an
alternative.

The stylistic richness of Ellington’s music presents a great challenge to
educators and performers alike. In Basie’s music, the conventions are very
nearly consistent. In Ellington’s music there are many more exceptions to
the rules. This calls for greater knowledge of the language of jazz. Clark
Terry, who le� Count Basie’s band to join Duke Ellington, said, “Count Basie
was college, but Duke Ellington was graduate school.” Knowledge of El-
lington’s music prepares you to play any big band music.

The following is a list of performance conventions for the great majority
of Ellington’s music. Any deviations or additions will be spelled out in the
individual performance notes which follow.

1. Listen carefully many times to the Ellington recording of these pieces.
There are many subtleties that will elude even the most sophisticated
listener at first. Although it was never Ellington’s wish to have his recordings
imitated, knowledge of these definitive versions will lead musicians to make
more educated choices when creating new performances. Ellington’s music,
though written for specific individuals, is designed to inspire all musicians to
express themselves. In addition, you will hear slight note differences in the
recording and the transcriptions. This is intentional, as there are mistakes
and alterations from the original intent of the music in the recording. You
should have your players play what’s in the score.

2. General use of swing phrasing. The triplet feel prevails except for ballads
or where notations such as even eighths or Latin appear. In these cases,
eighth notes are given equal value.

3. There is a chain of command in ensemble playing. The lead players in
each section determine the phrasing and volume for their own section, and
their section-mates must conform to the lead. When the saxes and / or
trombones play with the trumpets, the lead trumpet is the boss. The lead
alto and trombone must listen to the first trumpet and follow him. In turn,
the other saxes and trombones must follow their lead players. When the
clarinet leads the brass section, the brass should not overblow him. That
means that the first trumpet is actually playing “second.” If this is done ef-
fectively, there will be very little balancing work le� for the conductor.

4. In Ellington’s music, each player should express the individuality of his
own line. He must find a musical balance of supporting and following the
section leader and bringing out the character of the underpart. Each

player should be encouraged to express his or her personality through the
music. In this music, the underparts are played at the same volume and with
the same conviction as the lead.

5. Blues inflection should permeate all parts at all times, not just when these
opportunities occur in the lead.

6. Vibrato is used quite a bit to warm up the sound. Saxes (who most
frequently represent the sensual side of things) usually employ vibrato on
harmonized passages and no vibrato on unisons. The vibrato can be either
heavy or light depending on the context. Occasionally saxes use a light
vibrato on unisons. Trumpets (who very o�en are used for heat and power)
use a little vibrato on harmonized passages and no vibrato on unisons.
Trombones (who are usually noble) do not use slide vibrato. A little lip
vibrato is good on harmonized passages at times. Try to match the speed of
vibrato. In general unisons are played with no vibrato.

7. Crescendo as you ascend and diminuendo as you descend. The upper
notes of phrases receive a natural accent and the lower notes ore ghosted.
Alto and tenor saxophones need to use sub-tone in the lower part of their
range in order to blend properly with the rest of the section. This music was
originally written with no dynamics. It pretty much follows the natural ten-
dencies of the instruments; play loud in the loud part of the instrument and
so� in the so� part of the instrument. For instance, a high C for a trumpet
will be loud and a low C will be so�.

8. Quarter notes are generally played short unless otherwise notated.
Long marks above or below a pitch indicate full value: not just long, but full
value. Eighth notes are played full value except when followed by a rest
or otherwise notated. All notes longer than a quarter note are played full
value, which means if it is followed by a rest, release the note where the
rest appears. For example, a half note occurring on beat one of a measure
would be released on beat three.

9. Unless they are part of a legato background figure, long notes should be
played somewhat fp (forte-piano); accent then diminish the volume. This is
important so that the moving parts can be heard over the sustained notes.
Don’t just hold out the long notes, but give them life and personality: that is,
vibrato, inflection, crescendo, or diminuendo. There is a great deal of inflec-
tion in this music, and much of this is highly interpretive. Straight or curved
lines imply non-pitched glisses, and wavy lines mean scalar (chromatic or
diatonic) glisses. In general, all rhythmic figures need to be accented. Ac-
cents give the music life and swing. This is very important.

10. Ellington’s music is about individuality: one person per part — do not
double up because you have extra players or need more strength. More
than one on a part makes it sound more like a concert band and less like a
jazz band.

11. This is acoustic music. Keep amplification to an absolute minimum; in the
best halls, almost no amplification should be necessary. Everyone needs to
develop a big sound. It is the conductor’s job to balance the band. When a
guitar is used, it should be a hollow-body, unamplified rhythm guitar. Simple
three-note voicings should be used throughout. An acoustic string bass is
a must. In mediocre or poorly designed halls, the bass and piano may need
a bit of a boost. I recommend miking them and putting them through the

house sound system. This should provide a much better tone than an ampli-
fier. Keep in mind that the rhythm section’s primary function is to accom-
pany. The bass should not be as loud as a trumpet. That is unnatural and
leads to over-amplification, bad tone, and limited dynamics. Stay away from
monitors. They provide a false sense of balance.

12. Solos and rhythm section parts without chord changes should be played
as is or with a little embellishment. Solos and rhythm section parts with
chord changes should be improvised. However, written passages should be
learned because they are an important port of our jazz heritage and help
the player understand the function of his particular solo or accompaniment.
Soloists should learn the chord changes. Solos should not be approached
as opportunities to show off technique, range, or volume, but should be
looked at as a great opportunity to further develop the interesting thematic
material that Ellington has provided.

13. The notation of plungers for the brass means a rubber toilet plunger
bought in a hardware store. Kirkhill is a very good brand (especially if you
can find one of their old hard rubber ones, like the one I loaned Wynton and
he lost). Trumpets use 5” diameter and trombones use 6” diameter. Where
Plunger/Mute is notated, insert a pixie mute in the bell and use the plunger
over the mute. Pixies are available from Humes & Berg in Chicago. Tricky
Sam Nanton and his successors in the Ellington plunger trombone chair did
not use pixies. Rather, each of them employed a Nonpareil (that’s the brand
name) trumpet straight mute. Nonpareil has gone out of business, but the
Tom Crown Nonpareil trumpet straight mute is very close to the same thing.
These mute/plunger combinations create a wonderful sound (very close to
the human voice), but they also can create some intonation problems which
must be corrected by the lip or by using alternate slide positions. It would
be easier to move the tuning slide, but part of the sound is in the struggle
to correct the pitch. If this proves too much, stick with the pixie — it’s pretty
close.

14. The drummer is the de facto leader of the band. He establishes the
beat and controls the volume of the ensemble. For big band playing, the
drummer needs to use a larger bass drum than he would for small group
drumming. A 22” or 24” is preferred. The bass drum is played so�ly (nearly
inaudible) on each beat. This is called feathering the bass drum. It provides
a very important bottom to the band. The bass drum sound is not a boom
and not a thud — it’s in between. The larger size drum is necessary for the
kicks; a smaller drum just won’t be heard. The key to this style is to just keep
time. A rim knock on two and four (chopping wood) is used to lock in the
swing. When it comes to playing fills, the fewer, the better.

15. The horn players should stand for their solos and soIis. Brass players
should come down front for moderate to long solos, surrounding rests
permitting. The same applies to the pep section (two trumpets and one
trombone in plunger/mutes).

16. Horns should pay close attention to attacks and releases. Everyone
should hit together and release together.

17. Above all, everyone’s focus should remain at all times on the swing. As
the great bassist Chuck lsraels says, “The three most important things in
jazz are rhythm, rhythm, and rhythm, in that order.” Or as Bubber Miley

Page 6

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42419S

Page 12

P
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SA

supplying the music • Each year Jazz at Lincoln Center (JaLC)
transcribes, publishes, and distributes original transcriptions and
arrangements, along with additional educational materials includ-
ing recordings and teaching guides, to high school bands in the U.S.,
Canada, and American schools abroad.

talking about the music • Throughout the school year, band
directors and students correspond with professional clinicians
who answer questions regarding the EE music. EE strives to foster
mentoring relationships through email correspondence, various
conference presentations, and the festival weekend.

Professional Feedback • Bands are invited to submit a recording of
their performance of the charts either for entry in the competition
or for comments only. Every submission receives a thorough written
assessment. Bands are also invited to attend EE Regional Festivals
for an opportunity to perform and receive a workshop.

Finalists and in-school Workshops • Fifteen bands are selected
from competition entries to attend the annual Competition &
Festival in New York City. To prepare, each finalist band receives
an in-school workshop led by a professional musician. Local EE
members are also invited to attend these workshops.

Competition & Festival • The EE year culminates in a three-day
festival at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall. Students,
teachers, and musicians participate in workshops, rehearsals, and
performances. The festival concludes with an evening concert that
features the three top-placing bands, joining the Jazz at Lincoln
Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis in concert previewing next
year’s EE repertoire.

Jazz at lincoln Center Band director academy • This professional
development session for band directors is designed to enhance
their ability to teach and conduct the music of Duke Ellington and
other big band composers. Led by prominent jazz educators each
summer, this companion program to EE integrates performance,
history, pedagogy, and discussion into an intensive educational
experience for band directors at all levels.

EssEntially Ellington
The Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Program (EE) is one of the most unique curriculum resources
for high school jazz bands in the United States, Canada, and American schools abroad. EE extends the legacy
of Duke Ellington and other seminal big band composers and arrangers by widely disseminating music, in its
original arrangements, to high school musicians for study and performance. Utilizing this music challenges
students to increase their musical proficiency and knowledge of the jazz language. EE consists of the following
initiatives and services:

JaZZ at liNColN CeNter is dedicated to inspiring and growing audi-
ences for jazz. With the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orches-
tra and a comprehensive array of guest artists, Jazz at Lincoln Center
advances a unique vision for the continued development of the art of jazz by
producing a year-round schedule of performance, education and broad-
cast events for audiences of all ages. These productions include concerts,
national and international tours, residencies, yearly hall of fame inductions,
weekly national radio and television programs, recordings, publications,
an annual high school jazz band competition and festival, a band direc-
tor academy, jazz appreciation curricula for students, music publishing,
children’s concerts, lectures, adult education courses, student and educator
workshops and interactive websites. Under the leadership of Managing and
Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis, Chairman Robert J. Appel and Executive
Director Greg Scholl, Jazz at Lincoln Center produces thousands of events
each season in its home in New York City, Frederick P. Rose Hall, and around
the world. For more information, visit jalc.org.

Jazz at lincoln Center education
3 Columbus Circle, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10019

Phone • 212-258-9810
Fax • 212-258-9900
E-mail • [email protected]

jalc.org/EssentiallyEllington

As of May 2013, EE has distributed scores to more than 4,200 schools in
all 50 states, Canadian provinces, and American schools abroad.

Since 1995, over 309,000 students have been exposed to Duke Ellington’s
music through Essentially Ellington.

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