Archives: December 2012

  • New songs, old year: songs for late December

    Jodi - Dexter Gordon A gorgeous ballad by a master of ballad playing.

    Please, Let Me Share This With You - Dexter Gordon (music) / Rachel Gould (lyric) Lyrist/singer Rachel Gould’s touching lyric creates a new valuable addition to the singer’s repertory.

    Blue Wail - Kenny Drew A great addition to your blues repertory: an intriguing melody with lots of rhythmic variety.

    Minor Scene - Gene Roland Another great medium up swinger by an often overlooked great composer/arranger.

    Later For You - Elmo Hope A challenging head based on standard jazz changes.

    Now, news about next year. We’ll be making some additions to the “Features” column.

    One addition will be ETUDES, which doesn’t mean you have to have new specially written music. Some heads also make great etudes. For me, Later For You is a perfect example, and I’ll tell you how I think you can best use it to your benefit: follow Charlie Parker’s advice: “Be able to play every melody in any key.” Elmo Hope’s Later For You exercises both your ears and your technical chops. Here is what I suggest:

    B-flat instruments: (1) Play the melody in A-flat concert (use your regular instrumental lead sheet). Trumpet players will play the B-flat lead sheet melody down an octave, except for one measure before D. (2) Next play the melody from the E-flat lead sheet: you’ll be learning the melody in the key of F. (3) Next play the melody from the C treble clef lead sheet: now you’ll be playing it in the key of A-flat.

    After you have the melody together in those three keys, pick any other key. Using your “ear,” see if you can play it in that new key. If you’ve really disciplined yourself in three keys, the next key should be a lot easier,

    If you already play a concert key instrument, then you should learn the melody in B-flat (from the B-flat lead sheet) and in E-flat (from the E-flat lead sheet).

    E-flat instruments, learn the melody in the B-flat instrumental key and the concert version key.

    Another useful category I’m working on is SAME CHANGES, where we’ll list the standard changes titles are based on. For example, Later For You is based on the chord progression of “All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm.”

    And here’s a link I love to browse: the album covers, all on one page.

    Happy New Year!

    Don Sickler phone 212-741-1175 email don@secondfloormusic.com

  • new December lead sheets

    Here are some new titles:

    400 Years Ago Tomorrow - Walter Davis Jr.

    I was asked several months ago for this lead sheet, so first of all I apologize for the delay. Walter was such a great composer, always with his own distinctive voice. As I’m sure you can tell from the audio clip, this is a great one! Pianists, note that Geoff Keezer’s Solo Piano Arrangement is also available, along with a recording by Kenny Drew, Jr.

    Focus - James Williams

    The first recording of Focus, a duo recording with bassist Dennis Irwin, was made before James started recording as a Jazz Messenger with Art Blakey. I discuss the four recordings James made of this composition in my notes, and I’m now on a mission to see if I can get James’ last duo recording (in 2000) made available as a download.

    Pensive - Al Cohn

    This beautiful ballad is the first of many compositions by Al Cohn that we’ll be bringing to jazzleadsheets.com.

    Sadly, I attended trombonist and composer Eddie Bert’s memorial service at St. Peters Church in NYC on December 17, 2012. Eddie was a great musician and a good friend. I played and toured with him many times over the years, and of course heard great stories from him, and about him. As you can learn from his bio on jazzleadsheets, and from the notes on his composition Speedster, Eddie was an accomplished musician.

    Since we’re making Speedster available, I see it’s a perfect time to add a new and beautiful Gigi Gryce composition, In A Meditating Mood, because Eddie recorded it as well.

    If you read my notes for these lead sheets you’ll get the picture, and you’ll see there are some unanswered questions. Was Eddie on this Gryce session? If we could see Eddie’s “session cards” (he made notes of every session he was on), I’m sure we’d have answers.

    Another thing that’s confusing to many of us: this isn’t the album title we know! We know it as “Like Cool.”

    After trombonist/bandleader Art Baron’s rehearsal at my studio over this last weekend, he overheard me talking to saxophonist Jerry Dodgion about Eddie Bert, and he wanted to know if we wanted to hear one of his Eddie Bert stories? Of course we said yes. It turns out the very first jazz record Art was ever given was Eddie’s “Like Cool” album, a later reissue of the “Let’s Dig Bert” album. It was the beginning of Art’s passion for jazz. He showed me his album, which had a cover with icicles on it, when he played at the Memorial service.

    Like Art, I was introduced to Eddie’s recording from a “Like Cool” reissue. I forgot to show Art my copy, but I think mine (which had an image of ice cubes on the cover) was an even later reissue than his. Are there more reissues with different covers? I now know about four covers for the same album: “Let’s Dig Bert (Eddie, That Is)” with the steam shovel or a portrait of Eddie playing trombone; “Like Cool” with icicles in a forest or ice cubes with a trombone. I hope one of you might have, or know someone who has, the original Essex issue so I can confirm the first cover. Email me (don@secondfloormusic.com) what you know.

    --Don Sickler

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