Explore jump blues with Hot Lips Page

We're particularly excited to add trumpeter/vocalist Oran "Hot Lips" Page to jazzleadsheets.com's list of composers. Page was one of the master soloists of the Swing Era, and a pioneer of the "jump blues" style. The four songs we have available come from a sextet session for the Commodore label, recorded on March 8, 1944; all are blues at different tempos. None of these songs technically have a "head," so the way we present them is a bit different from our typical lead sheets or arrangements. The one instrumental song, Rockin' At Ryan's, is the most straightforward. It consists of four choruses of riffs played behind different soloists, with a two-horn arrangement; our condensed score, first and second parts show all four choruses.

Blues vocals, especially in older styles like Page's, are so personal that it wouldn't make sense to present them as simplified lead sheets. Instead, we have melody transcriptions for three of Page's vocals for an in-depth look at his specific phrasing. It's important to note that these transcriptions are approximations; there are many subtleties of rhythm and pitch that would be impossible to notate--you really have to listen to the recording to get the full picture. The Blues Jumped The Rabbit, a classic jump blues at a boogie-woogie tempo, is available as a single vocal transcription. The slow blues You'd Be Frantic Too has a vocal transcription for the alternate take, as well as transcriptions of Page's trumpet solos on both takes. For the medium-tempo My Gal Is Gone, we have vocal and trumpet transcriptions for both master and alternate takes. Having side-by-side transcriptions for two takes of the same song is a great opportunity to explore how a master blues storyteller varied his approach every time.

We have a bonus treat on three of these songs--transcriptions of Lucky Thompson's tenor sax solos for one take each of My Gal Is Gone, Rockin' At Ryan's, and You'd Be Frantic Too. This session was Lucky's very first recording. With these transcriptions you can see that even at this early stage of his career his unique style was already instantly recognizable.

Three more great trumpeter/composers

Three composers new to jazzleadsheets.com are all trumpeters-- two contemporary and one from an earlier era. We've had Brian Lynch featured on the website before with songs from his "Unsung Heroes" project, but now we finally have some of his own compositions available. Three of these come from his 1995 quartet album "Keep Your Circle Small," the very first release on the Sharp Nine label. Silent Conversation is an impressionistic slow 3/4 song with colorful changes, while Keep Your Circle Small and The Trifle have challenging, angular melodies and intricate rhythm section arrangements. All three were also recorded in quintet settings; condensed scores and parts are available for the latter two. We also have Back Room Blues, a catchy medium swinger that Brian recorded with Ralph Moore and with Phil Woods, as well as on his own album of the same title with tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson.

From Bill Mobley we have The Future Was Now, a complex song with many shifts of rhythm section feel; it was first recorded by saxophonist Bill Pierce. Mobley and Pierce collaborated with saxophonist Bill Easley for the sextet album "Triple Bill"; we've had a James Williams song from "Triple Bill" available before, but now we also have Mobley's Three Gifts from this album.

Finally, we now have Michelle by the great Swing Era trumpeter Bobby Hackett. Bobby was known as a romantic ballad stylist, and Michelle is a great example. Instead of a lead sheet, we have melody transcriptions showing his melody interpretation and solo from the recording.

Five new composers bring jazzleadsheets.com to 1000 songs!

jazzleadsheets.com now has one thousand songs available! Bringing us to that number are eleven songs by five newly added composers, covering a wide range of styles and dates.

Two of these composers are tenor saxophonists who have sometimes been overlooked because they spent most of their careers playing in big bands; each recorded only one LP as a leader. Tenor saxophonist Frank Socolow, whose centennial is coming up later this year, worked with both swing and bebop bands. His album "Sounds By Socolow" contains his only three recorded compositions. The blues Farfel, the "rhythm changes" head Miss Feingold, and Little Joe (based on Charlie Parker's Confirmation) are all bright-toned medium-up swingers in a "cool school" style. A condensed score is available for the sextet arrangement of Farfel. Eric Dixon, best known for his work with Count Basie, is represented by two songs which were originally arranged for the Basie band. The bouncy medium-up Wash was only recorded in a big-band setting, but our lead sheet shows it works as a combo song as well. Blues For Ilean, written by Dixon for his wife, is a hip blues head in the Basie style, with a two-chorus "shout" section; we have a concert condensed score and parts for the sextet arrangement from Dixon's own album.

Two more composers are trumpeters who have had extremely eclectic, ambitious careers as both players and composers. Michael Philip Mossman is perhaps best known for his writing and playing with a variety of modern jazz and Latin big bands. O.T.B. is his first recorded song, from an album by the Blue Note all-star sextet Out Of The Blue. It's a hard-swinging shuffle in an Art Blakey vein; condensed score and parts are available. The other newly added trumpeter/composer is Randy Sandke, an utterly unique musician whose work often connects the farthest reaches of both early jazz and the avant-garde. From his debut album "New York Stories", we have the impressionistic Bix's Place and the stately ballad Elegy For Albert. The former has a condensed score and second parts for the recorded quintet arrangement.

Our last new composer is Lewis Nash, one of modern jazz's most in-demand drummers. We have three of his compositions. 106 Nix is a charming stop-time blues head with a piano harmony line shown in our piano part. Sabaku, a bossa, also begins with stop-time but with an irregular form. Finally we have Skeeter Blues, a bebop-style blues head which was recorded both by Nash and by violinist Regina Carter. We have lead sheets that reflect both versions, as well as a video in which Nash details how he would play the melody on the drums.

Elmo Hope’s 100th Birthday!

Today (June 27, 2023) is Elmo Hope's 100th Birthday, Happy Birthday Elmo!

June 18 was the 70th anniversary of Elmo's first trio recording as a leader, which also has special significance in 2023, because the other two members of Elmo's trio also have their 100th birthdays this year, legendary drummer Philly Joe Jones and legendary bassist Percy Heath.
Now all six of Elmo's originals from this important trio date are available on jazzleadsheets.com

Jazz Messengers classics from Cedar Walton and more

Piano legend Cedar Walton is newly represented on jazzleadsheets.com with two songs from the repertoire of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. The uptempo Latin Mosaic is one of Cedar's compositions that have become standards. He recorded it with four very different instrumentations and arrangements. First was a quintet version on Clifford Jordan's 1961 album "Starting Time," also featuring Kenny Dorham. The Blakey version was recorded four months later, arranged for sextet. Cedar recorded Mosaic with his quartet Eastern Rebellion in 1990, and a trio version in 2000. We have parts for the quintet and sextet arrangements, and condensed scores for the quartet and trio versions. In addition, "as recorded" parts and score are available for a septet arrangement by Don Sickler, recorded on an all-star tribute to Blakey in 1993. Also check out two trio versions by rising star pianist Emmet Cohen, linked in the notes for Cedar's trio recording. There's even a vocal version - Life's Mosaic - with a lyric by John and Paula Hackett. It's been recorded in different keys and tempos by quite a few singers; we're featuring versions by Vanessa Rubin, Mark Murphy, Miles Griffith, and Kendra Shank.

Also originally from the Messengers' repertoire is Cedar's The Promised Land, a bouncy stop-time swinger whose form is like an extended blues with a bridge. We have a lead sheet and "as recorded" parts for the Blakey sextet version, a second lead sheet reflecting Cedar's slightly different 2001 quartet recording, and a new arrangement, not yet recorded, featuring the bass. This bass melody version works in a duo (with piano) or trio setting.

Of the six other recently added songs, three more are by master pianists. Rodgers Grant's Reconciliation is a rhapsodic, exquisitely detailed song, originally recorded (like his earlier Morning Star) by Hubert Laws. Rodgers' solo piano arrangement is available with exclusive audio and video by Kenny Drew, Jr. From Jack Wilson we have Herman's Helmet, an eclectic mix of stop-time, bossa, and swing with a relatively relaxed mood. The two recordings, Jack's original from 1968 and Blue Mitchell's in 1971, are quite different; a condensed score is available for the former, and full score and parts for the latter's sextet arrangement. Song Of Praise is a warm-toned ballad by Fritz Pauer, recorded in a duo setting with Art Farmer. Fritz's solo piano version is available but hasn't been recorded yet.

We also have two more songs by Justin Robinson. Lamentations For R & D is a tribute to pianist Ronnie Mathews and bassist Dwayne Burno. Like many of Justin's songs, it's a complete statement packed into a very simple, compact form. A transcription of his alto sax solo is available. A bit more involved is Jeremy Isaiah, an exciting medium swinger named for Justin's son. This one has a bit of rhythm section counterpoint shown in our combined piano and bass part.

Finally, Okay Blues is the only Harold Land composition on "Eastward Ho!," Harold's 1960 album featuring Kenny Dorham. It's a bouncy minor blues head with some slippery bebop-style lines and an unusual three-measure intro - a Harold Land classic.


June 7, 2023, is a special day for us at jazzleadsheets.com. It is the launch of Conn Selmer's first CONNECTION SESSIONS video, featuring Hank Mobley's Up, Over And Out. It's a fun video we hope you will all check out. The opening view is of NYC and the George Washington Bridge, then the camera pans to the roof of the Van Gelder Recording Studio. You can understand why it was so easy for great jazz musicians to get to the studio from NYC. They loved the opportunity to record in this incredible acoustic studio that Rudy Van Gelder created in 1959 in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. The video then takes you inside the studio where you meet our own Don Sickler and then Maureen Sickler (Rudy Van Gelder's assistant for 30 years, who Rudy entrusted with the studio). The video then introduces the musicians for the session, who perform Don Sickler's sextet arrangement of Hank Mobley's Up, Over And Out.

Thank you to Conn Selmer, and especially to all of their staff who helped in the creation of this video.

A Birthday Tribute to James Williams

We were already working on some songs by James Williams when we realized it's his birthday today (March 8) - as good a day as any to add them to jazzleadsheets.com. Four of James' songs are newly available. All of them are lyrical, concise, and memorable in his distinctive style; each of these songs has a form only 16 measures long. Two of them were recorded on James' second album as a leader, "Everything I Love." Thoughts is a gentle, introspective Latin song; a piano part is available showing James' intro and fills from the recording. For My Nephews is a beautiful, warm-toned 3/4 song that has been recorded quite a number of times; besides the quartet version on "Everything I Love", James played it in duo settings with bassists Dennis Irwin and Ray Drummond, as well as another quartet with saxophonist Clifford Jordan. James' solo piano arrangement of this song is also available with an exclusive recording by Kenny Drew, Jr.

Wishful Thinking comes from James' third album as a leader, "Images (Of Things To Come)." A bright-sounding song despite its minor key, it was recorded with a funky Latin-rock feel but could also work with other kinds of grooves. Finally, Roadlife is one of James' most fun songs, a swinging 16-measure blues. First recorded by James with an all-star trio with Ray Brown and Elvin Jones, we also have a video of a large ensemble performance led by pianist Jonathan Batiste. It's been recorded by several other pianists including Mulgrew Miller, Eric Reed and Glenn Zaleski.

One of James' nephews was the drummer Tony Reedus, who we are now also introducing as a composer on jazzleadsheets.com. The Far Side is the title track on Tony's first album as a leader; it's an uptempo burner with plenty of drum breaks. We also have his rhythmic minor blues head Minor Thang. Tony's album "The Far Side" also has two songs by pianist Jonny King, now available as well: the uptempo The Stumbling Block and the bossa Song Of Gideon. Both have challenging, inventive changes in Jonny's signature style.

One more composer - also a drummer - is newly represented: Steve Johns. We've featured Steve in several of our exclusive Minus You tracks, but now we have two lyrical, laid-back songs of his on jazzleadsheets.com. Deep Blue and River's Edge were both recorded by two bands: Bill Moring's Way Out East and the quartet Native Soul.

Five new songs to kick off 2023

Our first new arrivals in 2023 cover a variety of styles and tempos. First up is Nino's Scene, a sunny calypso song by Sergio Mihanovich recorded by Art Farmer. Curiously, Art's version is a studio recording that was marketed as a live album, with overdubbed applause.

We have one newly added song each by pianists James Williams and Donald Brown. Both of these were recorded in quartet settings with saxophonist Billy Pierce, whom both played with in different incarnations of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Williams' Images (Of Things To Come) is an elegant, lyrical 3/4 song with a colorful set of changes. We also have an exclusive solo piano version by Kenny Drew, Jr., playing the composer's own arrangement. Blue Nostalgia is Donald Brown's take on a mid-'60s style associated with another onetime Jazz Messenger, Wayne Shorter. It's an uptempo song with a slightly irregular form and some quite advanced chords.

We recently put up several co-written songs by trumpeter Jim Rotondi and tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander. One more is available now: Stay Straight, a sequel to the earlier Straight Up. This lively uptempo swinger is a variation of the Straight Up theme in a different key, with a new bridge 16 measures long instead of 8. A full set of horn parts is available for the sextet arrangement. Eric Alexander also played on the recording of Jose's Lament by pianist David Hazeltine. This laid-back song, which alternates between swing and a 12/8 Latin groove, comes from an album by drummer Joe Farnsworth also featuring bass legend Ron Carter.

Jim Rotondi and Eric Alexander – a dynamic duo as players and composers

Trumpeter Jim Rotondi and tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander are both great musicians and accomplished composers in their own right, but they have also collaborated to write several fun, challenging and groovy songs they've recorded together. We've had Biru Kirusai up on jazzleadsheets.com for a while; five more co-composed songs of Jim's and Eric's are now available. The earliest of these is Straight Up, first recorded in 1992 as the title track of Eric's first album as a leader. This high-energy uptempo blues with a bridge was later recorded by Jim and Eric with the cooperative sextet One For All. Burner's Waltz is a modal 3/4 song dedicated to, and recorded with, master organist Charles Earland, the "Mighty Burner," with whom the two composers played extensively. Likewise Mode For Mabes honors another veteran collaborator, pianist Harold Mabern. This one features a medium Latin-rock groove and a piano intro vamp in Mabern's distinctive style. Two more come from Jim's 1997 album "Jim's Bop": the slow, laid-back Last Call and the angular medium-up King Of The Hill.

In addition to lead sheets, all of these songs have parts available for the arrangements heard on the original recordings. All are quintet arrangements except for Mode For Mabes which is for sextet.