The Midnight Sun Will Never Set

1 January 2017

Considering both arrangements were by the same man and were only written 1 year apart from each other they contain similarities and many differences. In the 1958 version of “Midnight Sun will Never Set” Quincy’s interpretation of the melody and background was a lot more melodic. By melodic I mean that he focused on the chords being played by the band as opposed to just the melody. He begins this arrangement by having the guitar play the melody. While the melody is on top, the saxophone and brass sections are playing block chords that give a warm and dark sound.

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This helps set the setting for which the melody is happening. At parts during the song the trumpet also engages in solo playing as he response briefly to the melody line stated by the guitar but then fades back into the backgrounds later in the song. Quincy jones also decided not to have any soloist improvise over the melody, maybe because he thought it would be out of place in such an involved and intricate ballad, in contrast to what he did in the 1959 version where he decided to include a soloist among many other changes. A year later, Quincy Jones wrote a new arrangement of the song “midnight sun will never set”.

This arrangement shared many similarities to the original but incorporated more rhythmic figures instead of focusing on just the melodic aspect. In his new arrangement Mr. Jones decides to have the alto saxophonist play e melody line over the band instead of the guitar which I thought was an interesting decision given the fact that the alto has a different kind of voice over the band. The saxophonist plays the melody in a sweet tone with a distinctive vibrato, similar to that of the famous alto player, Johnny Hodges from the Duke Ellington orchestra.

Throughout much of the melody the lead trumpet player would play rhythmic phrases to counteract the melody being played by the saxophone. The sections playing backgrounds in this arrangement also played much brighter and lighter chords that in the previous arrangement where the backgrounds were dark and rich in tone. In this version of e song Jones decided to give the alto player a solo, this gave the chart a sense of excitement and also builds up into the last a section of the song in which the band came back in playing the original melody till the end.

Both arrangements also had similar form structures with exception of the added solo. In general both versions were successful in portraying melodic and rhythmic style. Considering the fact that Jones wrote these versions in a span of 1 year shows how intellectual he was. Evidently there were many differences as well as common traits that show Quincy’s trademark arranging. He created two works of art derived from the same source but was able to portray two distinctive works of art.

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