• Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers: Reflections In Blue

    December 4, 2023, is the 45th anniversary of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers’ recording session for the album “Reflections In Blue.” James Williams’ title track Reflections In Blue, an iconic Blakey shuffle, was already on; four more songs from this session are now available as well. These include another shuffle by Williams: (What Do You Say,) Dr. “J”. This 24-measure song is driven by a rhythmic bass line, which is shown in our C treble and bass clef lead sheets; the treble clef lead sheet also shows piano voicings on the B section. Also from Williams we have Stretching, a minor blues head written in tribute to trumpeter Woody Shaw and influenced by Woody’s distinctive post-bop style. We have a sextet condensed score reflecting the Blakey recording, but this song certainly works in a quartet setting as well.

    Not Far At All, by Valery Ponomarev, was recorded at this session but only released on some reissues of another Jazz Messengers album, “In My Prime, Vol. 1”. It’s an example of another classic Blakey format, a stop-time medium-up swinger. Finally, “Reflections In Blue” includes the first version of one of Bobby Watson’s best-known compositions, E.T.A. This uptempo “burner”, a contrafact of John Coltrane’s Lazy Bird, was recorded many times by both Blakey and Watson. Melody transcriptions are available for two of Watson’s recordings; these are a great inspiration for interpreting the melody in a quartet lineup.

  • Bobby Watson: Love Remains

    November 13 is the anniversary of a recording session by Bobby Watson; "Love Remains," a quartet album featuring Bobby with John Hicks on piano, Curtis Lundy on bass, and Marvin "Smitty" Smith on drums, was recorded 37 years ago. We have six songs available from this album.

    The Mystery Of Ebop is the most challenging, full of shifts in tempo and feel within the head. The lively, bright-toned melody holds this song together, and the solo choruses keep the same tempo throughout.

    The title track Love Remains is a bittersweet bolero, co-written by Bobby and his wife, Pamela Baskin-Watson. The long notes of the melody leave plenty of space for expressive interpretation as Bobby shows on the recording.

    Next is Blues For Alto, a riff blues head with a call-and-response format that covers most of the alto sax's range.

    Ode For Aaron, named for Bobby's son, alternates calypso and swing; it's a simple but subtly detailed song, with an irregular 17-measure form. This one was also recorded by Justin Robinson on his debut album "Justin Time," which Bobby produced. A condensed score is available for Bobby's original quartet version, as well as a quintet arrangement he recorded on a Slovenian TV broadcast in 2000 (available on YouTube).

    The remaining two songs from "Love Remains" have already been available on, but not in the versions from this album. We have a condensed score now for the quartet version of Dark Days, slightly different from our lead sheet which reflects the quintet version from the 2004 album "Horizon Reassembled" as well as a sextet recording, 2013's "Check Cashing Day." Another ballad, Pamela Baskin-Watson's The Love We Had Yesterday has been available in a Minus You vocal version, but now we also have an instrumental lead sheet from Bobby's "Love Remains" recording.

  • Bobby Watson's "Midwest Shuffle"

    November 3, 2023, is the 30th anniversary of one of the recording dates for "Midwest Shuffle," a live album by Bobby Watson with his Horizon quintet. Three songs from this album are newly available on Mabel Is Able is an exciting rhythmic challenge: samba in 7/4, alternated with occasional measures of 4/4 and 3/4 within the form. A full score and parts are available for the quintet arrangement, with especially detailed parts for the rhythm section. A Blues Of Hope is well-named, with a bright, positive sound in a minor key. Bobby recorded this 12/8 Latin song again on his 2013 album "Check Cashing Day"; we have condensed scores for both recordings. Finally, Mirrors (We All Need) is a soulful ballad that makes a complete statement in a short eight-measure form. Condensed score and second horn parts are available that reflect Bobby's quintet recording. In addition we have an arrangement by Don Sickler for four alto saxes, with an exclusive video featuring Bobby himself with Jon Gordon, Kira Daglio Fine and Elijah Shiffer. Another Don Sickler arrangement of this song is available for sextet; it is not yet recorded but we have a MIDI audio version.
    More Bobby Watson titles are coming to very soon!

  • More Renee Rosnes!

    The brilliant pianist/composer Renee Rosnes has some important recording anniversaries coming up through the end of the year. We'll be introducing more of her great music that you can add to your repertoire, starting with Chasing Spirits and The Gift.

  • Explore jump blues with Hot Lips Page

    We're particularly excited to add trumpeter/vocalist Oran "Hot Lips" Page to'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 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 to 1000 songs! 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.

  • June 28 recording anniversary

    We've had Johnny Griffin's title track Grab This! on jazzleadsheets for awhile. Today, on the anniversary of that recording we're adding Griff's Cherry Float from the same album. What a pleasure to hear Griffin's big tone! June 28 is also the recording anniversary of Ruby Braff's Here's Freddie and Bill Mobley's recording of James Williams' Mulgrew's Motif with James on piano. Check them out! You'll be glad you did.

  • 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

  • Jazz Messengers classics from Cedar Walton and more

    Piano legend Cedar Walton is newly represented on 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.

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