Jeru - Big Band Arrangement

Price: $75.00
Product Code: JLP-8418





The period from 1948-9 was a time of experimenting and discovering for the young Gerald Mulligan. Encouraged by Gil Evans to move to New York, Mulligan not only became a mainstay at Evans 55th Street apartment, but acquired a mentor in Evans, who encouraged Mulligan by getting him work writing for the Claude Thornhill Orchestra. Mulligan was one of the group of musicians who developed and wrote for what would become the Miles Davis Nonet. Except for Venus De Milo, Mulligan not only arranged his own compositions for the small ensemble, but wrote versions of them for big bands led by Thornhill or fellow Philadelphian Elliot Lawrence. Thornhill clearly liked Mulligans music; his band was still playing it in the late 1950s.

The Music:

The original score for Jeru was unavailable for reference; in fact, the Mulligan estate obtained copies of the parts from a 'friend' who wanted to do Mulligan a favor (several Thornhill arrangements were loaned out for a concert and never returned; copies of these circulated underground for years). I wrote out a score from these parts that I donated to the estate.

In preparing this edition, I consulted the original parts anew as if Id never prepared the earlier score. One of the key issues to be dealt with was Mulligans use of chord names. He had shared with me that he was not writing vertically during the period in question, but horizontally. When writing chord names for the rhythm instruments, he was not as clear about alterations to chords as he would be years later. Jeru is pure counterpoint, and Mulligans chord names are either simplified or substitutions that did not represent the harmony accurately. The chord names in this publication have been extensively reviewed and corrected.

When Jerome Klinkowitz wrote about Jeru in his book Listen: Gerry Mulligan An Aural Narrative in Jazz (N.Y., Schirmer Books, 1991), he criticized the form of the arrangement based on Thornhills 1953 recording for Trend Records. What he did not know was that two cuts were made for time purposes: bars 103-4 (the first ending of Letter K), and then from 107-117. As a result, his conclusions are inaccurate. This reinforces yet again the importance of seeking out first-hand sources when writing about a composers music, in this case the original score and/or parts.

Alternate parts have been added so that this arrangement may be played by a standard big band with 4 trumpets and 4 trombones. 4th trumpet and trombone parts are alternates for horns 1 and 2. However, we encourage you to play this arrangement as-written without those alternate parts.

Notes to the Conductor:

As stated above, Mulligan was writing by line and not thinking in chordal structures and chord names in 1948-9; he certainly was not boxed in by them. I suggest that you play or sing through each instrumental line, and then play them against the other pitches to observe the shapes of the lines, and then to see how they fit in with everything else. Like Evans music from the same period, there are numerous examples of subtle dissonances or grinds which go by so fast that the listener is hardly aware of them.

Mulligan was particularly concerned with the proper tempos of his pieces. The big band version of Jeru was recorded in New York while he was on the west coast, but he never objected to it as he would other performances/recordings of his music. Please do not rush the piece; let it flow easily.

Please note that on the recording, there is a conga playing in the rhythm section. A part for this instrument was never written by Mulligan, and it should not be added for authenticity.

Jeffrey Sultanof

Note: The sound sample is courtesy of the Manhattan School of Music's Concert Jazz Band, conducted by Justin DiCioccio.


1. 1 Clarinet
2. 1 Alto Saxophone
3. 2 Tenor Saxophones
4. 1 Baritone Saxophone
5. 3 Trumpets
6. 2 Horns in F (Alternate Parts included: Trumpet 4 and Trombone 4)
7. 3 Trombones
8. Guitar
9. Piano
10. Bass
11. Drums

Swing - Difficult

Click On Each Image to Zoom. Click the larger image to close.