The Breakdown - Hank Mobley Last Saturday (November 13), I was trying to decide what to put on jazzleadsheets.com next. We have so many great Hank Mobley titles to choose from. Then I realized it was the 50th anniversary of Hank’s “Roll Call” album (recorded November 13, 1960), so it was easy for me to pick “The Breakdown” (lead sheets and Hank’s transcribed tenor solo are available). Previously we posted “My Groove, Your Move” from this same album. Second Floor Music has printed charts of “Roll Call” (quintet) and “Take Your Pick” (octet) available on Music Dispatch. Now there’s only one title left from this classic album: Hank’s original “The Baptist Beat.” Coming soon.
Cranky Spanky - Bill Hardman I get many requests for more Jazz Messengers arrangements. This group, with the front line of Bill Hardman (trumpet) and Jackie McLean (alto sax), was the first band known as “Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers.” Before this recording (December, 1956), “The Jazz Messengers” was a co-operative group, with a trumpet and tenor sax front line.
The Dream Is You - Tadd Dameron This is our first Tadd Dameron lead sheet, but there’ll be more. Melodies are very important—I feel everyone should learn the melody, first. That’s the main goal of jazzleadsheets.com, to make available correct melodies and chord changes to great jazz compositions. Dameron’s compositions are often recorded in beautifully orchestrated formats, like this medium slow swing gem: perfect to play along with. When learning a new song, I always recommend to start by playing along with the recording. I’m a trumpet player, and, once again, I’ve just enjoyed playing “The Dream Is You” with Tadd’s beautiful arrangement for Milt Jackson.
Bobbie Pin - J.R. Monterose J.R.’s lovely ballad Alone Again has been available on jazzleadsheets.com as a vocal leadsheet. If you’re not familiar with J.R Monterose, this new addition, from his first album as a leader, is a great introduction. We’ll be making more of J.R.’s compositions available soon, plus other compositions on this album, like Philly Joe Jones’ original “Ka-Link.” Philly Joe was the first one who told me about J.R. In fact, it makes for a pretty unbelievable story. I was in the dressing room with Philly Joe on one of his gigs many years ago. I don’t remember the exact conversation, but Joe started talking about J.R (I think it probably had something to do with “Ka-link”). Anyway, I told Joe that I didn’t know much about J.R., so he went into great and fascinating detail, telling me about this fantastic musician that he’d been involved with. After ranting and raving about J.R. for quite some time, just before Philly Joe was ready to go back to the bandstand, there was a knock on the dressing room door. The door opened to reveal J.R., whom Philly Joe hadn’t seen in years. I remember Joe astonishing J.R. by saying something like: "J.R.! We were just talking about you! Say hello to Don Sickler. You’ll want to talk at length with him." That started my personal, and beautiful, relationship with J.R.
Minor Bertha - Elmo Hope Again, I have Philly Joe Jones to thank for my in-depth discovery of Elmo Hope. Philly Joe (like Thelonious Monk) thought Elmo was one of the great composers. After discussing and playing for me many of Elmo’s recordings, Joe told me that I should talk to Elmo’s widow, Bertha Hope. He said Bertha was also a great pianist and really knew Elmo’s music. So that’s what I did, and Bertha and I have been cataloging and notating Elmo’s music for years. Elmo dedicated quite a few of his compositions to Bertha. When Bertha and I played “Minor Bertha” together at the Jazz Standard, I kidded her about how Elmo really captured some of her complex personality in that composition.
Play the music! Don Sickler