September 25, 2020, was the release date of Charles McPherson’s ambitious new album, “Jazz Dance Suites.” Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio in December 2019, this album is dedicated to his daughter Camille McPherson, who is a dancer with the San Diego Ballet. Charles has written three suites for the San Diego Ballet, and this album contains two of them and an excerpt of the third. One title from the album is now available on jazzleadsheets.com. The Gospel Truth is the final movement of Charles’ most recent suite, “Song Of Songs.” It’s a joyous, gospel-infused song with swinging rhythm section figures throughout the head. In composing for dance, Charles has put special emphasis on articulation and phrasing, with detailed parts for the rhythm section. More movements from “Jazz Dance Suites” are coming to jazzleadsheets.com very soon, so stay tuned!
Two beautiful ballads are now available on jazzleadsheets.com in Minus You melody formats. This is your chance to work on your own personal melodic interpretation in a ballad setting. From baritone saxophonist Cecil Payne we have Full Moonlight And Stars Made Of Silver, a song just as romantic as its title implies. Cecil originally recorded it on one of his last albums. Our Minus Melody track is only one chorus long—a great opportunity to practice embellishing and improvising around the melody, but in a different key from Cecil's. Don Sickler’s Lost In You is a duo recording with piano legend Ray Bryant. This is our first duo Minus You track; it’s a chorus and a half in length, with space to solo on the bridge after the in head. Recordings, as usual, by Rudy Van Gelder.
We’re excited to announce that four songs by saxophonist Wardell Gray are now available on jazzleadsheets. Though often overlooked due to his sadly too brief career, Wardell was one of the most important musicians of the original bebop scene. He was among the first to develop an original voice on the tenor sax in the bebop style, and he became a mentor to many younger musicians including trumpeter Art Farmer.
Dell’s Bells and One For Prez come from Wardell’s first recording as a leader. Both are exciting, intricate, unpredictable bebop heads based on standards - Dell’s Bells uses the changes of What Is This Thing Called Love?, and One For Prez is over How High The Moon. Also available is Southside, another uptempo bebop swinger with its own unique changes. Finally, for a much simpler example of Wardell’s elegant, swinging style, check out his riff blues head Grayhound. Our lead sheets also detail his stylististic scoops and falls.The intros of all these songs from the recordings are notated in our lead sheets.
We also have one more Freddie Redd song available now. Nica Steps Out (written for his friend Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter) is a lively “rhythm changes” head with a pedal point intro, originally recorded on his album “San Francisco Suite.”
We have more new titles up on jazzleadsheets.com. Two of them have exclusive “Further Explorations” audio available in Minus You format. The first of these is May Moon, a dreamy, lyrical 3/4 song by pianist/vocalist Dena DeRose. Lost In You is a warm, impassioned ballad by jazzleadsheets.com’s Don Sickler. This song is available in a unique duo Minus You setting accompanied only by piano. Now’s your chance to work on your ballad playing with legendary pianist Ray Bryant!
We’re welcoming another new composer to jazzleadsheets.com. Ray Starling was a trumpeter, mellophonist, and pianist who played in several big bands in the ‘60s. He wrote Mellophobia and Four Of A Kind to feature the mellophone section of Stan Kenton’s big band, which he both played in and wrote for in 1961-62. Our lead sheets for these songs show the intros, codas, and a few countermelodies from the big band arrangements; both songs certainly work just as well in a small group setting.
Also new to jazzleadsheets.com are two easy, laid-back blues heads in a classic hard bop style. Nice ’N Greasy is a funky riff head by Adriano Acea, originally recorded by trumpeter Lou Donaldson. The JAMFs Are Coming is a Johnny Griffin classic; Johnny recorded it many times from the ‘60s to his very last album in 2008. Not a blues but in a similar vein, The One Before This is one of Gene Ammons’ best-known compositions. We have condensed scores and horn parts for the two-horn arrangement from the classic Ammons/Sonny Stitt album “Boss Tenors,” as well as a three-horn arrangement recorded in 1995 by organist Jimmy Smith.
Two compositions by Jack Montrose are now available on jazzleadsheets.com. A tenor saxophonist of the West Coast cool school, Montrose is best known for his arrangements for Clifford Brown’s classic 1954 Pacific Jazz sessions. Our two Montrose songs, Quiet Knowing and Long Story Short, come from a big band album; however, they definitely work in a small group setting as well.
Also now available are five piano transcriptions of Meade Lux Lewis. The Blues, Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 are solo improvisations which were recorded at the very first Blue Note session in 1939. Our detailed transcriptions are by Shaye Cohn, who is guitarist Joe Cohn’s daughter and saxophonist Al Cohn’s granddaughter.
Another, very different slow blues piano solo transcription is now available: Larry Young’s Larry’s Blues. This is the only recording of Larry on piano in a trio setting; our transcription has detailed dynamics and articulations for an in-depth look at his unique style. Larry’s Luny Tune, from Grant Green’s “Talkin’ About” album, is also now available.
We also have yet another slow blues now up, again very different: Jonny King’s Blues For Andrew Hill. Besides lead sheets, we have a solo piano arrangement which Jonny plays on the recording, a duo setting with Steve Wilson on alto sax.
Finally, we’re continuing to add Charles McPherson compositions. Promise is a medium-up modal song from his 1977 album “New Horizons," and Dee Blues, although not a blues, is a bluesy riff in D from the same album.
Today, one of jazz's great artists and a real gentleman, alto saxophonist Charles McPherson joins jazzleadsheets.com with his own great compositions. Some of you are already playing compositions from jazzleadsheets.com that Charles recorded as a sideman with Art Farmer and Kenny Drew. Now you can start exploring Charles' own original compositions from his own albums. He is a gifted composer as well as being one of our legendary Alto Saxophonists. To start with, check out Bud Like, The Journey and Fire Dance, and come back for more soon.
Listen to SEEK ME by Cecilia Coleman and Bebe Herring, performed by Cecilia on piano with Cassie van Stolk-Cooke, voices. Performed and recorded at the Van Gelder Recording Studio. Rudy Van Gelder recording and mixing, Don Sickler producing, photos & video by Maureen Sickler. On our homepage today. And from Cassie: In these times when we are required to be physically apart from each other, it comes as no surprise that many of us may feel lost. While we cannot reach out to you with our hands, we can find each other in the miracle of music, and the beauty of our living planet. If you feel alone, anxious, or afraid, we hope that you will find comfort and courage in this video. Music existed long before this pandemic, and we will still be singing long after it has passed. Be healthy, be well, and most importantly, go make some joyful sounds.
These are all seasoned jazz artists whose compositions are new to jazzleadsheets.com. Alto saxophonist Justin Robinson is the youngest of the three, but he's been on the scene for quite a long time. He started his recording career with The Harper Brothers in 1988; did his own first album as a leader for Verve Records in 1991; among other projects, he played and recorded with trumpeter Roy Hargrove for many years.
Organist Larry Young, Jr., a major influence on organ in the 1960s and 1970s, brought "free, swirling chords, surging lines, and rock-influenced improvisations." We're starting with some of his early compositions.
Pianist Billy Lester has his own unique story, as you will hear in his music. Billy is a wildly creative improviser with a sly melodic sense. His playing and composing offer a very personal, modern take on the Tristano tradition. The NY Times reported on Billy's first conversation with Tristano, at the Half Note in NY: “He had this sweet voice,” Lester recalls, “and what he said was: ‘The guys who are out there playing all the time, it just becomes a business.’ When he said that, it resonated with me. I knew that he was playing because he was an artist.”
Today, January 3, 2020, on Herbie's 101st birthday, we're announcing that as soon as possible we will be releasing 24 previously unrecorded Herbie Nichols compositions recorded by 23 different great pianists (encompassing eight generations!) in our special Herbie Nichols Solo Piano Summit project. All were recorded at the Rudy Van Gelder Studio on the same famous Steinway B piano that Herbie and so many famous jazz pianists (Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, and many others) recorded on. As a producer, it was a great honor for me to work with these 23 pianists, who, in turn, all said they were honored to get to pay tribute to this great pianist/composer Herbie Nichols. I'm anxious for everyone to get to hear these new, previously unrecorded Herbie Nichols compositions. Look for more announcements about the specifics of the project from jazzleadsheets.com. Meanwhile, explore four new titles that Herbie himself recorded: 117th Street, Furthermore, 'Orse At Safari and Sunday Stroll.
We're adding titles and composers as fast as we can, so you can increase your repertoire this summer. Check out NEW ARRIVALS on the home page. The baritone saxophonist who who contributed so much to the development of that instrument from bebop on, Cecil Payne; more from trumpeters Roy Hargrove and Lonnie Hillyer; father and son pianists Kenny Drew, Sr. and Kenny Drew, Jr; a Minus You recording of the jazz classic Cup Bearers by Tom McIntosh that's a must for everyone to know . . . every title brings new opportunities.
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