William Christopher Handy
St. Louis Blues: arranged for 8-part trombone ensemble

Arranged by Marc Williams

arranged for 8-part trombone ensemble

Vancouver, BC, , Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2016

Primary Genre: Trombone Ensembles

Known as the “Father of the Blues,” W.C. Handy composed his famous St. Louis Blues in 1914, which has since been performed and recorded by many musicians of varying styles including Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, and Chuck Berry. Marc Williams has arranged this now classic blues for 8-part trombone ensemble. Written for five tenor and three bass trombones, the third bass trombone part doubles as an optional tuba part. While this straight-forward arrangement works quite well with trombone choir, it can be easily adapted for a low brass choir with euphoniums and tubas. Williams’s arrangement begins the same as Handy’s original, with an 8-bar introduction before beginning the 12-bar blues melody. Trombones 4 and 5 begin with the melody before passing it around the whole ensemble, providing each musician a chance at the melody. An optional repeated section for solos is included, with chord changes written in the trombone 1 and 4 parts. This is a great opportunity to feature players on the simple and familiar blues changes in the key of F. Coming out of the solo section, the feel transitions to a Tango before closing in a quick and exciting Boogie Woogie. Individual parts, while challenging at times, are all accessible to college level students. This arrangement works as the perfect closer for any trombone or low brass choir concert.


Reviewer: Russell Ballenger
Review Published January 31, 2019