WRITTEN FOR CLAUDE THORNHILL
ARRANGED BY GERRY MULLIGAN, EDITED BY JEFFREY SULTANOF
(From the notes by Jeffrey Sultanof)
The period from 1948-49 was a period of tremendous growth for Gerry Mulligan. Living in New York City right in the thick of modern jazz pioneers and innovators, Mulligan was encouraged and mentored by Gil Evans, who got him work writing for Claude Thornhill (Mulligan was also writing for fellow Philadelphian Elliot Lawrence, whom he'd worked with before he joined Gene Krupa in 1946). Mulligan became one of the main architects of the Miles Davis Nonet, contributing several arrangements and compositions to the ensemble.
Joost at the Roost was written for both the nonet and the Thornhill big band. The score for the nonet is lost, but all of the parts exist and were the basis for the publication of this composition in the folio of nonet music published by Hal Leonard in 2000. A newly edited and corrected version was published by Jazzlines Publications in 2010. The big band score is dated October 20, 1948. Whereas the nonet version is fairly straightforward as a vehicle for solos (although the out-chorus has some similarities with the Thornhill version), the big band version is an ambitious composition that combines Mulligans continued exploration of contrapuntal ensemble writing and use of time-signature changes as in Jeru. But what is striking is that as early as 1948, Mulligan shows in this score that he had already formulated a concept to turn the big band into an extended small group, with linear give-and-take as in his small group with Chet Baker, and a lighter ensemble approach to orchestration. In fact, it was the only score from this era to be included in the Concert Jazz Band book twelve years later, the two French horn parts transposed to create a third trombone part. It was recorded for Verve Records in July, 1961, but was never issued and apparently rejected; the master no longer exists.
Notes to the Conductor:
When I was preparing the initial nonet publication of Joost at the Roost, Gerry Mulligan had already passed away, and he and I never had an opportunity to discuss this piece; Id never even heard of it before. There was no tempo listing anywhere, and I decided to contact bassist Bill Crow, who'd recorded the piece with the Concert Jazz Band. Bill came back with a tempo of quarter note = 144. When the Dutch Jazz Orchestra recorded Joost on their 2008 CD Moon Dreams: Rediscovered Music of Gil Evans and Gerry Mulligan (Challenge) the tempo was a bit faster than this. Although it must be said that the tempos on this CD are faster than the Thornhill recordings, this is not meant as a criticism. These performances are excellent and offer a different view of this music. With the knowledge that Mulligan generally did not like his music played very fast, the director must decide how he/she hears this music and can then select a tempo.
Between the time changes and the two-beat triplets, realizing a relaxed performance of this piece can be a challenge. Rehearsal at a slow tempo after letter H is recommended so that everything falls into place and the piece sounds spontaneous.
1. Full Score
2. 2 Alto Saxophones
3. 2 Tenor Saxophones
4. Baritone Saxophone
5. 3 Trumpets (a 4th Trumpet part is included that is an alternate for Horn 1)
6. 2 Horns in F (see alternates)
7. 2 Trombones (a 3rd Trombone part is included that is an alternate for Horn 2)