Archives: September 2023

  • Explore jump blues with Hot Lips Page

    We're particularly excited to add trumpeter/vocalist Oran "Hot Lips" Page to's list of composers. Page was one of the master soloists of the Swing Era, and a pioneer of the "jump blues" style. The four songs we have available come from a sextet session for the Commodore label, recorded on March 8, 1944; all are blues at different tempos. None of these songs technically have a "head," so the way we present them is a bit different from our typical lead sheets or arrangements. The one instrumental song, Rockin' At Ryan's, is the most straightforward. It consists of four choruses of riffs played behind different soloists, with a two-horn arrangement; our condensed score, first and second parts show all four choruses.

    Blues vocals, especially in older styles like Page's, are so personal that it wouldn't make sense to present them as simplified lead sheets. Instead, we have melody transcriptions for three of Page's vocals for an in-depth look at his specific phrasing. It's important to note that these transcriptions are approximations; there are many subtleties of rhythm and pitch that would be impossible to notate--you really have to listen to the recording to get the full picture. The Blues Jumped The Rabbit, a classic jump blues at a boogie-woogie tempo, is available as a single vocal transcription. The slow blues You'd Be Frantic Too has a vocal transcription for the alternate take, as well as transcriptions of Page's trumpet solos on both takes. For the medium-tempo My Gal Is Gone, we have vocal and trumpet transcriptions for both master and alternate takes. Having side-by-side transcriptions for two takes of the same song is a great opportunity to explore how a master blues storyteller varied his approach every time.

    We have a bonus treat on three of these songs--transcriptions of Lucky Thompson's tenor sax solos for one take each of My Gal Is Gone, Rockin' At Ryan's, and You'd Be Frantic Too. This session was Lucky's very first recording. With these transcriptions you can see that even at this early stage of his career his unique style was already instantly recognizable.

  • Three more great trumpeter/composers

    Three composers new to are all trumpeters-- two contemporary and one from an earlier era. We've had Brian Lynch featured on the website before with songs from his "Unsung Heroes" project, but now we finally have some of his own compositions available. Three of these come from his 1995 quartet album "Keep Your Circle Small," the very first release on the Sharp Nine label. Silent Conversation is an impressionistic slow 3/4 song with colorful changes, while Keep Your Circle Small and The Trifle have challenging, angular melodies and intricate rhythm section arrangements. All three were also recorded in quintet settings; condensed scores and parts are available for the latter two. We also have Back Room Blues, a catchy medium swinger that Brian recorded with Ralph Moore and with Phil Woods, as well as on his own album of the same title with tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson.

    From Bill Mobley we have The Future Was Now, a complex song with many shifts of rhythm section feel; it was first recorded by saxophonist Bill Pierce. Mobley and Pierce collaborated with saxophonist Bill Easley for the sextet album "Triple Bill"; we've had a James Williams song from "Triple Bill" available before, but now we also have Mobley's Three Gifts from this album.

    Finally, we now have Michelle by the great Swing Era trumpeter Bobby Hackett. Bobby was known as a romantic ballad stylist, and Michelle is a great example. Instead of a lead sheet, we have melody transcriptions showing his melody interpretation and solo from the recording.

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