Study & Listen: Sister Sadie for Big Band

I recently completed a big band arrangement of the tune Sister Sadie. There are some very straight ahead and common techniques in the chart, so I thought I would take this lesson to show you some of them.

Some of the techniques you will learn in the video below are:

1) Using the intro as a solo for an instruments;
2) Using melodic couplings for melody players;
3) Changing/alternating styles within a chart
4) Using a small amount of material for the arrangement, and reworking it for different combinations of players/sections/ranges, etc.
5) Writing solos for players, but reducing notation to 80% to indicate they don’t have to play what is written;
6) Shortening the form on a D.S. to the coda.

This video is about 10 minutes. You can listen to the Finale generated audio while studying the concert score below the video. If you’d like to purchase this chart for your band, you can do so below and you’ll get the 4 horn combo version for the same price. let me know if you have any questions.

NOTE: Best viewed in full screen mode. Click the lower right corner of the player to open to full screen.

Click the file below to view.  use your mouse and mouse wheel to scroll and navigate.  Audio is no longer supported by the flash score below, so use the audio player below to listen.


Purchase this big band chart and get a 4 horn combo version free with purchase. Includes PDF Score and Parts, Finale 2010 file, and XML file (for Sibelius users)

Price: $14.95

5 Replies to “Study & Listen: Sister Sadie for Big Band”

  1. curt streuli

    Thanks Jim. It’s a nice chart and I liked your comments about what to do, especially the ones about simplicity and repitition, which I have to constantly remind myself about.

    I had an idea for a topic as I was listening to this. We don’t always know how many people will be in the band playing our charts. I am in one band with 9 horns, one with 12, and one with 13. What varies among other things is the bone section. One band has 2, one band has 3, and one has 4. Obviously 2 is way different from 4, but maybe some thoughts on how to write when there will be either 3 or 4 bones playing the same chart, or maybe no 4th trumpet, or only 1 of either tenor or alto.


  2. William Gorman


    I see the score but I’m not sure how to get the audio to play. I know this is an older post so it might not be available anymore.


  3. Jim Martin

    Wiliam, the audio is no longer supported in the flash PDF files. I will be adding audio players to the pages that use this format.

  4. Stephen Elias

    Hi Jim,

    I am brand new to the class. Thanks for the opportunity to learn. I use a Mac and the video screen (for example for Sister Sadie) doesn’t show the expand icon in the lower right hand corner. I can’t drag the screen or do any manoeuvre to access the expand icon. Do you have any suggestions, or am I stuck with trying to follow on the minimised screen?

  5. Jim Martin

    Stephan, I have fixed the skin to the audio player. Over the years I have used different media tools and at times they become obselete. Thanks for pointing that out!

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