Archives: October 2022

  • Dedicated to Phineas Newborn, Jr.

    Don Sickler: I can still remember the thrill of meeting the legendary pianist Phineas Newborn, thanks to composer/pianist James Williams. James first brought him to our rehearsal studio in NYC to go over music for some upcoming projects James had planned for Phineas, probably in the early 1980s.

    Phineas Newborn, Jr., can already be found on playing Ray Bryant's Reflection on the classic Roy Haynes trio session "We Three," recorded at Rudy Van Gelder's Hackensack studio in 1958. Pianist James Williams would have only been seven years old at that time, so he may not have been familiar with Phineas then. On the other hand, the astute James Williams might have already been digging Phineas' playing! They were both in Memphis.

    Phineas is connected to SFM/jazzleadsheets in other ways: he was the first pianist to record Clifford Brown's Daahoud in a piano trio context in 1956. For a real treat, check out Phineas playing Ray Bryant's classic Cubano Chant (solo piano in 1979) [click on the album cover with Ray's giant hands and scroll down to see the video].

    Now jazzleadsheets wants to celebrate Phineas Newborn, Jr., with five tribute pieces by three of our composers. Phineas was a big time hometown hero to both James and Donald Brown. Geoffrey Keezer also got to meet and hang out with Phineas through James. Check out how Phineas inspired these composers!

    -- by James Williams
    Phineas: The Living Legend
    Fond Times With Junior

    -- by Donald Brown

    --by Geoffrey Keezer
    Newborn Spirit
    Waltz For Phineas

  • Buddy Montgomery is "Here Again" with many more!

    Pianist and vibraphonist Buddy Montgomery was a unique and fascinating composer who deserves wider recognition. We've had his song Here Again on for a while; now we're making four more of Buddy's songs available. Three of these were recorded on his 1997 trio album, "Here Again."

    Aki's Blues is a 24-measure blues head, full of Buddy's signature subtle harmonic detail.

    The laid-back medium swing tempo of Hob Nob With Brother Bob makes it particularly fun, combined with its blues-infused melody. The piano transcription of Hob Nob With Brother Bob shows both in and out heads, for an in-depth look at how Buddy creatively and expressively interpreted his own melody.

    Buddy recorded two completely different versions of 1,000 Rainbows, in 1977 and 1997. It's a funky song with a slightly mysterious mood; both versions are built around rhythmic bass lines. The very simple earlier version has lead sheets plus second parts. A piano melody transcription and bass part from the "Here Again" album are available.

    The fourth newly available Buddy Montgomery song is My Sentiments Exactly, from his 1988 album "So Why Not?" This one is a funk classic that guarantees a good time. It has a stop-time intro that really showcases Buddy's effortless phrasing and rhythmic feel.

    In 2019, rising star pianist Isaiah J. Thompson recorded a tribute album of Buddy Montgomery songs, including these four as well as Here Again. These versions feature Isaiah's own rearrangements, which are discussed on in the descriptions under his album cover for each song.

    Four other newly added songs on include Booker Little's Larry-LaRue. Named for his son and daughter, this was Booker's second recorded composition. It's a beautiful song with that bittersweet mood that really defines the Booker Little style. Full score and parts are available for the original arrangement (3 horns, bass, and drums) played by the Max Roach Quintet.

    Gwen is a unique song: a ballad written by master drummer "Philly" Joe Jones, originally played by the composer himself on piano! This romantic bebop ballad comes from Jones' classic album "Showcase." From trumpeter Joe Gordon we have Diminishing, a cooking, modal uptempo swinger with a tight two-horn arrangement.

    Finally, Dexter Gordon's iconic Cheese Cake is now available. Perhaps his best-known composition, our lead sheet is quite detailed with several of Dexter's melody variations as well as Sonny Clark's piano fills. We also have a transcription of his solo--lyrical, catchy, and clearly articulated throughout, this is one of the all-time classic hard bop solos.

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