• 30th anniversary of Roy Hargrove's THE VIBE

    Thanks to Aida Brandes Hargrove, we found out that today, April 8, 2022, is the 30th anniversary of the release of Roy Hargrove's "The Vibe" recording. It was celebrated by the Roy Hargrove Big Band at NYC's Jazz Gallery on April 7. To continue the celebration, is adding Roy's two blues from that album to our NEW ARRIVALS (Caryisms & Blues For Booty Green's).

  • Kenny Drew, Jr.'s fans have an opportunity to enjoy the artistry and creativity of pianist/composer Kenny Drew, Jr., with new releases from our video library. We were able to film Kenny as he played his compositions on Rudy Van Gelder's magnificent Steinway D.
    A Silent War
    Farmer's Waltz

  • "Papa" Joe Jones, Al Cohn & John Webber

    "Papa" Jo Jones was already represented on's Drum Corner, but now we also have three of his own compositions available. These songs, from his 1960 album "Vamp 'Til Ready", are simple, catchy, and very swinging. Vamp 'Til Ready is a medium-up "rhythm changes" head, and the medium-tempo Sox-Trot is based on Honeysuckle Rose changes. Show Time is Papa Jo's uptempo, stop-time drum feature; we have a Drum Transcription showing all his fills on the in and out heads.

    Two more new arrivals feature guitar, though they were not written by guitarists. Johnny Red by bassist John Webber is an angular, Monk-esque song which he recorded with guitarist Peter Bernstein. Our guitar lead sheet shows a few two-note voicings Peter plays on the melody. Saxophonist Al Cohn originally recorded The Mellow Side with a 4-horn arrangement; we have an exclusive recording of Al's son, guitarist Joe Cohn, playing this song in a trio setting.

  • Blues and Sentimentals

    Two new songs on are based on the changes of the standard I'm Getting Sentimental Over You. These show two completely different approaches to the same harmonic material, and allow an especially interesting comparison being both in the same key. Dexter Gordon's tribute to his wife, Fenja, is an elegant medium-tempo song with a lyrical melody in Dexter's classic style. Recorded on one of his best-known albums, "Homecoming," this song differs from I'm Getting Sentimental Over You in its form, an even 32 measures without the latter song's four-measure tag. This tag is included in the form of Ronnie Ball's Earful, a witty and wide-ranging song in the tradition of the Lennie Tristano school. Earful's melody, packed with sequences of various lengths, is different in all four sections of the form as in many Tristano-style songs over more repetitive changes.

    We also have two new arrivals in a blues vein, both with quite simple melodies but somewhat different changes from standard blues progressions. 310 Blues by Ralph Moore, from his album "Furthermore" featuring trumpeter Roy Hargrove, is a medium shuffle in a classic hard bop style. The melody stays in the blues scale over some tasty passing and substitute chords, which are also used in the solos. Finally, Bill Barron's Jelly Roll Twist is funky yet subtly experimental, based around an ominous bass ostinato that the piano doubles throughout on the recording without ever comping. Like Earful, this song was originally recorded with a quintet featuring two tenor saxes.

  • Ten new songs for 2022

    We're excited to announce a wide variety of new arrivals on! First up is Herbie Nichols' Trio, which completes our set of eight songs from Herbie's 1955-56 Blue Note sessions. Besides our lead sheets, we have piano melody transcriptions from both the master and alternate takes. Be sure to read our detailed descriptions on this and the other Herbie Nichols songs.

    Next we have two Ryan Kisor compositions from his December 2002 album "Awakening." Sioux City (named for Ryan's hometown) and What Can I Say? are both mellow, laid-back medium swingers, showing a very different side of Ryan's style from some of his more challenging uptempo songs. The "Awakening" album also features two other composers: Grant Stewart and Peter Bernstein.

    Don Friedman's Jazz Dancing is a bright-toned medium-up song in a bebop style, with intricate changes full of tritone subs and side-slips. Richard Wyands' Candied Sweets is a bouncy minor blues variation, slightly different from standard blues changes in both the head and solos. Richard's original recording, with saxophonist Jerome Richardson, comes from one of the first sessions at Rudy Van Gelder's Englewood Cliffs studio.

    Esmeralda is a charming uptempo samba by Ralph Moore, with a soaring, lyrical melody which is a great workout for horn players seeking to control their breathing. We have a lot more Ralph Moore songs coming soon to

    Three versions of Curtis Fuller's One Dream Gone (with Fleurine Mehldau's lyrics) are now available, with exclusive minus melody tracks for singers. The version sung by Rachel Gould is in the key of A♭ minor, while Richard Allen's version is in Fleurine's original key of B♭ minor (but he sings it down an octave). Singers now have the choice—according to their range—to practice with either version. Both recordings feature Norman Simmons on piano. We also have two more of Norman's own songs now available, Precious Love and In A Dream, from his 1997 album "The Heat And The Sweet." These lyrical, gently swinging songs are great examples of Norman's writing style. In A Dream is written in 4/4, but on the recording the rhythm section starts by playing the head in 3/4.

    Finally, we have another song by one of our more obscure composers deserving much wider recognition, Sara Cassey. Her composition Honey Did was recorded by the vocal scat duo Jackie Cain and Roy Kral with a big band in 1957. It's an elegant bebop-style swinger reminiscent of Tadd Dameron; our lead sheet shows the melodic thread of Ernie Wilkins' big band arrangement.

  • Classic Gene Ammons solo transcriptions

    We have some very exciting new arrivals on for the first time on the website, transcriptions of Gene Ammons solos are available. These all-time classic solos come from three of the tenor sax giant’s original songs, all of them blues. Two of them come from his 1960 album “Boss Tenor”: Blue Ammons, a cooking medium swinger, and the deep slow blues Hittin’ The Jug. The third song is Jim Dog, a medium jump blues that Gene recorded at two sessions in 1953 and 1958. Jim Dog has three of his solos—from the 1953 recording and both the master and alternate takes of the 1958 recording—available together in one publication. This is a fascinating opportunity to compare and contrast his solos on different versions of the same song. These transcriptions have detailed articulation and dynamic markings to really give an in-depth look at Gene Ammons’ signature style. Lead sheets are also available for these songs. The 1953 version of Jim Dog also has a condensed score that shows the 4-horn voicings and all important differences from the 1958 recording, which is the source of the lead sheet.

    We also have several new songs from other tenor sax masters. New to are Charlie Rouse and Clifford Jordan. Two songs by Charlie Rouse are available: Upptankt, a “rhythm changes” head from his first album as a leader, and Bird’s Nest, a blues head from his last album. Clifford Jordan’s delicate yet solemn gem of a song, Down Through The Years, is now here as well. This one is also part of our new Guitar Corner; check out the recordings featuring Marvin Sewell and Hugo Lippi, as well as our Guitar Chord Melody Arrangement.

    Finally, we now have all six of Lucky Thompson’s compositions from one of his best-known albums, “Lucky Strikes.” These songs make a great set together, as they cover a wide range of different tempos and moods: uptempo “rhythm changes” (Fly With The Wind), medium up 3/4 swing (Mid-Nite Oil), laid-back medium swing (Reminiscent), uptempo Latin (Mumba Neua), ballad (I Forgot To Remember), and medium swing stop-time blues (Prey-Loot). Enjoy! Check out the LUCKY STRIKES set (below New Arrivals on the Home page).

  • More great tenor saxophonists, plus . .

    We've got more fun things for you to play starting with additions from two of our Tenor Sax masters. We're starting to explore Hank Mobley's "Curtain Call" album with On The Bright Side, The Mobe, and Curtain Call. From Gene Ammons we're adding two of my favorites - Ger-ru, and Geru's Blues. Be sure to also check out the video of five more classic Tenor Saxophonists (Coleman Hawkins, Don Byas, Barney Wilen, Guy Lafitte, and Stan Getz—positioned as you see them on the video)—playing our last selection for today, the classic contrafact by Tadd Dameron & Fats Navarro: Ice Freezes Red.
    -- Don Sickler

  • New Hank Mobley titles

    Take a listen to two newly-arrived compositions by tenor sax great Hank Mobley: An Aperitif from Hank's "Third Season" album with parts for the three-horn arrangement, and On The Bright Side from "Curtain Call," with trumpeter Kenny Dorham's transcribed solo.

  • The Van Gelder Organ livestream May 15

    Van Gelder Studio, the legendary recording studio home to hundreds of jazz icons from John Coltrane to Herbie Hancock, announced the launch of ‘Live from Van Gelder Studio’ a new virtual music series that will stream live from

    The series is designed to pay homage to the unmatched legacy of Rudy Van Gelder, who launched his recording career from his parent’s living room in Hackensack, NJ recording the most significant jazz artists of the day including Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis and Clifford Brown, to name a few. Van Gelder dreamed, planned and built his renowned Englewood Cliffs, NJ, studio from scratch, innovating at every turn. That studio opened in 1959 and is still actively recording today.

    Sounds captured in the studio can be heard every moment of every day in any corner of the globe. A working piece of art in acoustics, improvisation and physical beauty, Van Gelder Studio is a historic landmark. From its architectural roots to the artists that have recorded under its roof, the space is a stunning Mid-Century Modern trove of treasures. Its beautiful cathedral-like ceiling of Pacific Northwest timber has rarely been seen outside the circle of important artists who have recorded there which includes Duke Ellington, Coleman Hawkins, Ray Charles, John Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Rollins, J.J. Johnson, Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Hank Mobley and many more jazz greats.

    The series debuted on Saturday, November 14th, 2020 featuring an all-star quartet in tribute to jazz great Hank Mobley whose most beloved recordings turn 60 that year. Performers include Ron Carter, bass; Joe Lovano, tenor saxophone; Isaiah J. Thompson, piano; and Kenny Washington, drums.

    The second Live from Van Gelder Studio will take place on May 15th at 9PM EDT with live re-streams on May 16th at 8:00 pm JST for Asian markets and 8:00 pm CEST for European markets. All events will stream directly from Tickets can be purchased from the site starting at $15.

    The second show will feature legendary jazz organist, Joey DeFrancesco. Since being discovered by Miles Davis as a teenager, DeFrancesco has been an important force in the industry for over 30 years, particularly known for his role in the revival of the Hammond B-3 organ. He has been featured on recordings alongside Miles Davis, Ray Charles, Henry Mancini, David Sanborn and John McLaughlin. He toured with Davis when he was only 17 years old and has released over 30 albums, nine of which were recorded at the Rudy Van Gelder Studio.

    Performing alongside DeFrancesco will be Billy Hart on drums and Peter Bernstein on guitar. Hart, who has graced the stage for over 60 years, has performed with Miles Davis, Otis Reding, Sam and Dave, Shirley Horn, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and Stan Getz. Bernstein has deep experience in organ-settings with Dr. Lonnie Smith, Melvin Rhyne and Larry Goldings.

    Special guest, tenor saxophonist Houston Person, recorded almost 50 albums at the studio dating back to 1966. Many of those with organists including Don Patterson, Richard "Groove" Holmes and Johnny "Hammond" Smith.

    "We're very excited to do a show featuring the Van Gelder Studio Hammond organ. So many important albums were recorded on that very instrument. I've revisited many of those recordings in putting the show together and can't wait to bring this set to a worldwide audience," said producer and musical director, Don Sickler.

    The shows will continue to be streamed on a state-of-the-art platform that was created with Amazon technologies. The platform is engineered to accurately broadcast the unmistakable Van Gelder Studio sound live and worldwide.

    ‘Live from Van Gelder Studio’ is created and produced by a team of jazz industry veterans including:

    -- Don Sickler, producer of five Grammy award-winning albums, produced many Van Gelder-recorded artists including Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Cedar Walton, Larry Coryell and Cindy Blackman Santana.
    -- Phil Coady, producer of John Coltrane's "Ultimate Blue Train" where he and Van Gelder first connected, as well as projects with NEA Jazz Masters & NBA athletes.
    -- Sam Kaufman, who as a talent agent represented Van Gelder-recorded artists including Ray Charles, Pharoah Sanders, and Jason Moran.
    -- Maureen Sickler, audio engineer, distinguished associate and long-time assistant engineer for Van Gelder, who now carries on the traditions forged in their 30+ year collaboration.

  • New songs for 2021: Cecil McBee

    I've known Cecil McBee for a long time, and I've always greatly admired his bass playing. In the past, Cecil was the bass player on several albums that are important to me, that I arranged and produced: Charlie Rouse's "Social Call" and Freddie Hubbard & Woody Shaw's "Double Take."

    At that time, I didn't know that composing music was Cecil's real passion. If fact, it wasn't until we had a lengthy discussion in the parking lot of the Van Gelder Recording Studio, with our masks on during covid times, waiting for the other musicians to arrive, that I discovered his devotion to composing. I immediately started checking out his music and realized that he is a major composer.

    Cecil’s compositions are extremely diverse, ranging from lyrical, romantic ballads to advanced avant-garde workouts. We’re kicking things off with three of his most accessible and most recorded songs. "D" Bass-ic Blues is just what the title says: a bass-driven blues head in D minor, which appears on recordings by pianists John Hicks, Stanley Cowell, and Larry Willis. Close To You Alone is a tender ballad that’s been recorded in a variety of settings and arrangements; we have bass transcriptions of Cecil from several versions. The second ballad, the wistful Song Of Her, is Cecil’s classic early composition, which he first recorded with saxophonist Charles Lloyd in 1966 on Lloyd's important "Forest Flower" album.

    Some of his early bass recordings already on jazzleadsheets find him in the rhythm section between Herbie Hancock and Tony Williams (Thandiwa - Grachan Moncur III) and on Dee Blues and Promise (Charles McPherson).

    Cecil’s wife, singer Verena McBee, is also a talented lyricist and has written lyrics to many of Cecil's songs. Just Close To You Alone and Thoughts Of Her are her lyric versions of Close To You Alone and Song Of Her, respectively.

    Enjoy learning and playing music by Cecil McBee. There's more to come!

    Don Sickler

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