I have long admired Thad Jones as a composer. He spent four decades writing and playing for big bands, first with the US Army, then Count Basie’s and his own in New York and Europe. I especially love his harmonic sense. Often in his tunes the “upper structures” of the chords are mixed into the lower voices of the orchestra, weaving a rich and varied sonic tapestry. This also highlights the musicianship of the horns and reeds because they must have good intonation in all registers of the instrument. (I found this out the hard way when I tried to play Thad’s beautiful ballad “To You” with my high school jazz band.) The song featured here is comparatively easy, and fun to play with a quintet. Solos on a 12-bar blues in F.
I transcribed this off an album recorded in 1960 called Motor City Scene. It stars Pepper Adams and Donald Byrd, backed by Kenny Burrell, Tommy Flanagan, Paul Chambers and Louis Hayes (listed on the cover as “Hey Lewis”). All the participants except Chambers were born in Detroit, as was Thad.