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"Cabaret (Life is a Cabaret)"

Title Cabaret (Life is a Cabaret)
ComposerEbb/Kander (arr: F.G.J. Absil)
Instrum.Concert Band
Date21 July 2001
StyleUp-tempo swing
KeyEb - F
Tempo260 BPM


A musical score excerpt
  • Piccolo, Flute 1-2, Oboe 1, Bassoon 1-(2), Eb Clarinet, Bb Clarinet 1-2-3, Bass Clarinet;
  • Alto Saxophone 1-2, Tenor Saxophone 1-2, Baritone Saxophone;
  • French Horn 1-2-3-(4), Trumpet 1-2-3-(4), Trombone 1-2-3-(4), Baritone 1-2, Tuba;
  • Guitar, Keyboard, Bass Guitar, Drums;
  • Timpani, Percussion (2 players: conga, tambourine, triangle), Mallets (glockenspiel, vibraphone).


This arrangement of the standard Cabaret for concert band is an up-tempo piece in swing idiom. Therefore, play the 8th-note groups with relaxed triplet feeling. As for rhythm and articulation, this arrangement belongs to the jazz big band tradition, melodic lines and orchestration are appropriate for the show and entertainment block in your repertoire.

The arrangement is also suitable for smaller size bands; non-essential parts have been provided for oboe, bassoons (one will do), 4th horn, 4th trumpet and 4th trombone (bass trombone).

The bass line is written out for plucked string bass; if this player is missing, a tuba may play the bass line (that however will imply a more dixieland-style). Make sure there is either a guitar or keyboard player in your rhythm section to provide the swing style harmonic background. If you have both in your band, the keyboard player may sound the treble string lines in the right hand (as written out).

The indicated tempo is high; feel free to reduce the tempo. However, if you end up playing a medium tempo (120-140 BPM), then leave out the repeat between m. 29 and 84. In the original tempo this piece is useful for opening or closing the show part of your concert. Optional repeats of the first 16 measures allow announcements to be made.