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21 February 2017

Post 479: 'MOOSE MARCH'

My introduction to 'Moose March' was hearing the Ken Colyer band play it about 50 years ago. Probably Ken had picked up the tune during his time with the musicians in New Orleans.

In order to learn tunes to play on my cornet and keyboard, I like first to try to establish the dots and chords for storage in my mini-filofaxes. Here's what I came up with for 'Moose March'.

You will note that it has two themes - the main 32-bar melody and the 'fanfare' interlude. This is how jazz bands can still occasionally be heard playing it.

What I did not discover until very recently is that this traditional jazz 'standard' is in fact taken from a quite long and complex good old-fashioned brass band march, called The Moose. It was composed in 1909 by Mr. P. Hans Flath (about whom I know nothing). It has a 4-Bar Introduction, followed by a first Theme of 32 bars. Then comes another Theme, also of 32 bars. Next there is a four-bar link (the start of 'The Trio' - see below) leading to a change of key from Eb to Ab and ONLY THEN comes the 32-bar Theme and 16-bar Fanfare Interlude as played by the jazz bandsSo the truth is that when we play Moose March we are really using only 48 bars of a much longer composition. That's the kind of thing that happened in the early days of jazz repertoire creation.