Archives: December 2022

  • Jim Rotondi and Eric Alexander - a dynamic duo as players and composers

    Trumpeter Jim Rotondi and tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander are both great musicians and accomplished composers in their own right, but they have also collaborated to write several fun, challenging and groovy songs they've recorded together. We've had Biru Kirusai up on for a while; five more co-composed songs of Jim's and Eric's are now available. The earliest of these is Straight Up, first recorded in 1992 as the title track of Eric's first album as a leader. This high-energy uptempo blues with a bridge was later recorded by Jim and Eric with the cooperative sextet One For All. Burner's Waltz is a modal 3/4 song dedicated to, and recorded with, master organist Charles Earland, the "Mighty Burner," with whom the two composers played extensively. Likewise Mode For Mabes honors another veteran collaborator, pianist Harold Mabern. This one features a medium Latin-rock groove and a piano intro vamp in Mabern's distinctive style. Two more come from Jim's 1997 album "Jim's Bop": the slow, laid-back Last Call and the angular medium-up King Of The Hill.

    In addition to lead sheets, all of these songs have parts available for the arrangements heard on the original recordings. All are quintet arrangements except for Mode For Mabes which is for sextet.

  • New arrivals in Piano Corner, and some cool jazz classics

    Our two latest additions to the Piano Corner are very different. First is Geoffrey Keezer’s Premonition, a subtly ominous medium-slow song that packs a lot of rhythmic and harmonic variety into a short form. Originally recorded on Roy Hargrove’s debut album as a leader, our lead sheets reflect this first version. James Spaulding recorded this song in a different key, playing the rarely featured bass flute; we have a lead sheet based on this recording as well. Geoffrey’s solo piano arrangement is available as well as exclusive audio, video and score of a duo version he recorded with bassist Daryl Johns.

    On Fletcher Henderson's Soft Winds we now have a piano melody and solo transcription from Art Tatum’s 1944 trio recording. As with many Art Tatum solos, this one may take a few listenings to fully comprehend! This is a great opportunity to get an in-depth look at the style of one of the most virtuosic soloists of the Swing Era.

    Two classics of 1950s “cool jazz” are also now available. Tasty Pudding is a mellow minor-key swinger by Al Cohn, which has been recorded in quite a variety of different keys, tempos, and arrangements. We have no less than six versions available: the original Miles Davis recording with Al’s full septet arrangement, and condensed scores for versions by Chuck Wayne, Stan Getz and Bob Brookmeyer , Chet Baker, Dave Frishberg, and Herb Geller.

    Also recorded by Chet Baker is In A Little Provincial Town by tenor saxophonist/flutist Bobby Jaspar - a charming, romantic ballad with a rhythmic double-time intro. Our lead sheets are based on Bobby’s own 1956 quintet recording, but we also have melody parts reflecting the arrangements recorded by Chet and by J.J. Johnson. J.J.’s is the best-known recording of this song and features Bobby on flute with the classic rhythm section of Tommy Flanagan, Wilbur Little and Elvin Jones.

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