Neal Hefti » Music » On My Way & Shoutin’ Again!



Verve - 1963

Composed, Arranged, Conducted by NEAL HEFTI

Ain't That Right

Ducky Bumps

Eee Dee

I'm Shoutin' Again

Jump For Johnny

Rose Bud


Skippin' With Skitch

The Long Night

Together Again


The Assignment

When Bill Basie told me that he had just signed with Verve, he said that for his first record out, everyone would like a Basie/Hefti. One of my continual kicks in this business is hearing that band play my music. It didn’t take me very long to say, “When and where?”

“We’ll have to work that out,” Basie replied. “But you can start writing right away.” After several phone calls between Arnold Maxin, Basie and myself concerning the release date of the album, time to make the cover, Basie’s personal appearance commitments, estimated time on my part to write, available time for the band to rehearse my music, and a few other details of that nature, it was decided that the first week in November would be the “when,” and that New York City would be the “where.”

The Writing

Knowing so well the tremendous capabilities of the Basie band made it possible for me to write a variety of tempos, sounds, moods, and colors. Here is a run-down of the compositions in sequence.

The Music

I’M SHOUTIN’ AGAIN is a shout from beginning to end. The form is a simple one: keep going. After the intro, Basie sets things up for the main theme by the full band. This is followed by three choruses by Frank Wess on alto, the last one shared with drummer Sonny Payne. Basie always likes two last choruses on things of this nature. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that he would like ten, but that’s piano players for you. Their lips never get tired.

DUCKY BUMPS – If you really use your imagination, you can hear ducks squawking during the first and second choruses. Listen. Hear Them? Hark! I hear a duck! Don’t you? No, you fool, that’s muted brass! Well, maybe you don’t hear the ducks, but you can hear Basie’s piano, Henry Coker’s trombone, and Buddy Catlett’s bass exchanging fours during the third and fourth choruses, can’t you? You can? Now we’re getting someplace. Keep listening and you will soon hear two full band shout choruses. You can? Excellent! Now, just open up that keen receptive mind of yours because here come the ducks again. Still don’t hear them, eh? Well, boys, five me a big finish and we’ll go on to the next tune.

THE LONG NIGHT – Frank Wess’ flute behind the trombones, tenors and baritone unison melody sets the mood for this slow blues. Thad Jones’ muted trumpet, Basie’s 4 a.m. Piano, and Jones’ open trumpet above the full band complete the picture of people who sometimes find the night too long.

JUMP FOR JOHNNY – If any of you composers want a guaranteed swinger, write an up-tempo blues without much going on besides the rhythm section and the soloist. That’s exactly what this is, and it seems never to fail. After the full band main theme, Frank Foster on tenor and Sonny Cohn on trumpet trade a little small talk before Frank goes into a four-chorus monolog. Basie and the rhythm section follow this with a two-chorus transitional intro to a five-chorus ensemble that progresses dynamically from soft to medium to loud to medium to soft. When the flutes enter, itt’s like this: first chorus – Frank Wess, second chorus – Eric Dixon, third and fourth choruses – four bars each with Wess leading off. I call this type of score a “written head arrangement.” It’s dedicated to Johnny Carson.

AIN’T THAT RIGHT – One of my first jobs when I was in high school was playing trumpet at a revival meeting in Omaha every Sunday morning. The pay was a free lunch. Ain’t That Right commemorates that time of my life. The primary theme is scored for saxophones and trombones. Frank Foster leads the two sections on tenor in the high register. Al Aarons’ trumpet solo in a buzz mute makes me wonder if he ever earned any free lunches the same way I did!

TOGETHER AGAIN - Nothing mysterious about this title. It’s a typical Basie shout. Al Aarons’ trumpet and Eric Dixon’s tenor split the solo honors.

SHANGHAIED – One might be apt to call this a blues, even though it’s 32 bars instead of 12. However, call it what you will, its mournful mood is dedicated to all people who sometimes have the feeling of being trapped. Frank Foster’s tenor sax introduces the theme. The two trumpet solos, muted in the second chorus and open in the third, are by Sonny Cohn.

SKIPPIN’ WITH SKITCH – This is dedicated to Skitch Henderson. The first chorus is unison flutes – Frand Wess, Eric Dixon, and Charlie Fowlkes – with muffled brass. All Aarons’ muted trumpet and Frank Wess’ alto set things up for the third chorus full band shout. The following trumpet & trombone counter-melody (Al Aarons and Benny Powell) brings things back to their original state: unison flutes with muffled brass.

EEE DEE – Basie plays an intro with the rhythm section to an intro with the full band. It’s typical of him to get everything moving before the band starts in at the “upper left corner.” After the ensemble first chorus, it’s Eric Dixon’s tenor to the end.

ROSE BUD – This composition is orchestrated for two sounds. A small group comprised of muted trumpet (Al Aarons), muffled trombone (Benny Powell), and tenor sax (Eric Dixon) is one sound. The rest of the band is the other. The sentimental, delicate nature of the melody prompted the title.

The Performance

With eight of the ten things written and copied, I went to Kansas City where the band would be playing for four days. Rehearsal was set up for the 16th of October at 3:00 in the afternoon. Instead of seeing a group of guys who were eager to learn the music hey would be recording three weeks later, I saw a hostile, evil, impossible, arrogant, completely divided band! The hatred they had for one another has been equaled in American history only by the Civil War. It was the day of the seventh and final game of the World Series. Half of the men were Yankees fans and the other half, naturally, were Giants fans. Need I say more? We decided to rehearse the following day.

While in Kansas City, Jim Davis called me confirming the recording dates as the 2d, 3d, and 5th of November. He also asked me to write these notes at that time. I next saw the Basie band on October 30th in New York City, and gave them the last two things for the album. Then came the recording dates. The band played as usual – brilliantly! The day after the session, when Jim Davis, Val Valentin, and I were mixing the three-track tapes to stereo and mono, I again realized why I was so quick to say “When and Where.” The Count Basie band is really great!


Leader & Piano – Count Basie dot Trumpets – Thad Jones, George Cohn, Al Aarons, Fip Ricard, Ernie Royal dot Trombones – Grover C. Mitchell, Henry Coker, Benny Powell dot Saxes – Eric Dixon (doubles flute), Marshal Royal, Charlie Fowlkes (doubles baritone flute), Frank Wess (doubles flute), Frank Foster dot Rhythm – George (Buddy) Catlett, bass; Sonny Payne, drums; Freddie Green, guitar.
Recorded Nov. 2,3 & 5, 1962 in New York City
Recording Engineer: Bob Arnold
Director of Engineering: Val Valentin
Cover photograph by Roy Decarava

Produced by JIM DAVIS