WRITTEN FOR DUKE ELLINGTON
COMPOSED AND ARRANGED BY MARY LOU WILLIAMS, EDITED BY JEFFREY SULTANOF
Mary Lou Williams left Andy Kirk's band in May of 1942, and traveled with her husband, trumpeter Shorty Baker, who was a member of Duke Ellington's band. She composed and arranged quite a few pieces for Ellington, including an arrangement of 'Blue Skies' that was recorded at Carnegie Hall (for some unknown reason Ellington introduced the piece as 'Trumpets No End'). She also composed several other pieces that were not recorded including Aries Mood (Ben Webster feature), Lonely Moments (a version was recorded by Benny Goodman), and this arrangement of Scorpio, written in 1946. Recently this arrangement has been recorded by the Dutch Jazz Orchestra and the Jazz Ambassadors on their tributes to Mary Lou Williams. We are not entirely sure why this arrangement wasn't recorded when it was written, but our guess is that it was a bit 'modern' sounding even for Duke Ellington. Please note that this arrangement is not the piano piece from The Zodiac Suite that Mary Lou Williams had written at the same time. Around the same time she composed The Zodiac Suite she took some of the motivic material from the Scorpio movement and fleshed it out into a full big band arrangement to feature Jimmy Hamilton and Lawrence Brown of the Ellington band.