The band begins a slow ballad. All the horns in the nonet play along with the main melody (in the trumpet), in intricate, semi-dissonant harmonies. The sound is dominated by the lower horns: tuba, baritone saxophone, and French horn. The melody is slow, with long held notes.
As the harmony is held, the horns swell in volume.
The alto saxophone takes the lead. Underneath, the horns play a rhythmically distinct accompaniment.
The band returns to block-chord texture, with the bass line adding an element of polyphony beneath.
The band returns to the melody and harmony of the opening.
The melody is now doubled by the baritone saxophone.
During the faster passages, the tuba adds an intricate, independent melodic line.
The alto saxophonist (Lee Konitz) takes the lead.
The bass line moves up quickly. The alto, now blending in with the horns, accelerates into a much faster, bebop-oriented melodic line.
The trumpet and alto saxophone climax on a long, held note. Underneath it, the background horns warble back and forth in a faster rhythmic pattern.
The baritone sax (Mulligan) takes the melody.
The trumpet takes back over for the past turn.
The tune hits its final cadence. All of the lines swirl around.
Finally, all voices coincide on F# (with the alto arriving last).
The trumpet is left holding the note; behind him, the drummer accompanies quietly on cymbal.
Painfully exposed, the trumpet player wavers slightly in timbre.
The band enters on chord, with the trumpet still sounding its F#. The horns gradually shift harmonies, moving chromatically from chord to chord.
The trumpet plays a mordent.
As the harmonies continue to shift, the trumpet note finally fades out.
The alto sax plays a melody fragment.
A distinctive musical motive--a stuttering repetition of a single note, ending with an upward gesture-- begins in the horn.
The brass bass plays a mordent.
The trumpet plays the stuttering motive.
The trombone plays the stuttering motive.
The saxophones and bass play a descending scale.
Over a B major chord (far removed from the D major of the opening), the band finally comes to a complete rest.
Copyright W.W. Norton