Bertha Hope

  • ELMO HOPE honored with ELMO HOPE WAY

    JAZZ PIANIST, COMPOSER AND ARRANGER ELMO HOPE HONORED IN SOUTH BRONX STREET CO-NAMING CEREMONY New York, NY

    Update: see a short movie about the naming of ELMO HOPE WAY

    Elmo Hope, one of the forerunners of the Be-Bop style of Jazz, will be honored with a sign unveiling ceremony on Saturday, September 10, 2016 at 11 :00 am, when Lyman Place, Bronx, New York, will be co-named Elmo Hope Way - Jazz Pioneer. The sign unveiling will be on Lyman Place between Freeman Street and East 169th Street/Rev. James Polite Avenue. Immediately following, the Bronx Music Heritage Center, founded by Bobby Sanabria and Elena Martinez, will host a reception. The Jazz Foundation of New York is sponsoring the musical performance at BMHC by jazz pianist and educator, Bertha Hope, who will perform Elmo's compositions with her band, Nu-Trio.

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    Elmo Hope was born on June 27, 1923 and named "St. Elmo," after the patron saint of sailors. He was the first child born to Ida Gertrude and Simeon Hope, West Indian immigrants who settled at 1358 Lyman Place to raise him, together with his six brothers and two sisters. As a youth Elmo won many piano competitions, including prizes at Carnegie Hall recitals. He began writing jazz compositions at a young age and practiced incessantly with his childhood friends Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk.

    Elmo traveled throughout the United States and Canada playing with territory bands. In 1953, Lou Donaldson invited him to record with Clifford Brown, Elmo's first recording for the Blue Note label. Elmo became a member of the Chet Baker Ensemble and moved to California, where he enjoyed many wonderful experiences with local musicians Harold Land and Curtis Counce. Throughout this period Elmo wrote exemplary compositions that endure to this day and are included in several university curricula across the country and in Europe.

    Elmo met his wife-to-be, Bertha Rosemond - a pianist of some standing in her own right - at a club in Los Angeles one evening. A few years later they married and had three children, Monica, Kevin and Daryl. Once back in New York, they settled again on Lyman Place and Elmo reconnected with band mates Frank Foster and Jimmy Heath, as well as Blue Mitchell. Landed a wide array of performing and recording dates with musicians such as Charlie Parker, Jackie McLean, Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon and Jimmy Cobb among many others.

    While Elmo's untimely death from a heart attack on May 19, 1967, left a great void in the heart of his family and the jazz community, his contributions as composer, leader, arranger and sideman on more than 70 albums is significant. A great deal of his music as bandleader is available on Amazon.com and iTunes and Elmo's compositions are available as lead sheets at jazzleadsheets.com, with Second Floor Music's combo arrangements at http://www.musicdispatch.com. Bertha Hope's compositions are also on jazzleadsheets.com.

  • Get low with these bass features

    The bass player is very important in all these new compositions, so they also add to our growing Bass Corner repertoire.

    Both Bass-ment by Kenny Drew and The Fuzz by Bobby Jaspar feature the bass playing the melody. Important bass lines that hold the whole arrangement together are found in Bill Hardman’s Jazz Messengers classic Politely and Bobby Watson’s Lemoncello.

    Bertha Hope’s Book’s Bok starts with the bass doubling the melody with the piano, and then moves into an important rhythmic accompaniment line. Bertha’s solo piano arrangement is available, as is a recording of it by pianist Glenn Zaleski.

    Drummer Billy Drummonds opening 7/4 bass line had been going over in his head for quite some time before the rest of his composition Dubai came to him. As Billy is one of the gifted drummers who is included in our Drum Corner, we explore both a transcription of his playing behind the melody sections and his soloing over the ending bass line vamp. We also have some 7/4 exercises and groove patterns available.

    Check out this video of Billy talking about and playing Dubai! Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more exclusive interviews of composers sharing their perspectives as well as tutorials and performances.

  • New lead sheets from 5 great pianists

    Soul Time - Bobby Timmons Another delight, this time in 3/4, from Bobby Timmons, which he recorded on three occasions. We’re also offering Bobbby’s complete piano voicings.

    Freffie - Elmo Hope Another great “II-V” blues melody to add to your repertory. Read more about it in our notes.

    Gone To See T - Bertha Hope - new composer to jazzleadsheets.com! Bertha Hope, whose first jazz teachers were Elmo Hope and Richie Powell, recalling the days she and Elmo hung out with T (Thelonious Monk). Definitely not just the wife of Elmo Hope, Bertha is a tremendous talent herself, both as a composer and as a pianist.

    Something In B-flat - Ray Bryant As you can see by scanning our Composer list, we already have a lot of great Ray Bryant on jazzleadsheets.com and there are other gems that we’re still working on. Ray had almost forgotten about his Something in B-flat, which was the opening track of Benny Golson’s “New York Scene” album. I immediately got his attention when I told him that this track was used in the Tom Hanks movie “The Terminal,” in which Benny Golson, and some of Benny’s music, also played a prominent role.

    Two Sides Of A Penny - Cecilia Coleman One of my favorite Cecilia Coleman compositions, from her California period.

    Enjoy the music! Don Sickler phone 212-741-1175 email don@secondfloormusic.com

  • new December 16, 2011

    Chips - Elmo Hope Stars Over Marrakesh - Elmo Hope

    We had a fun Elmo Hope experience in my rehearsal studio a few nights ago. I told pianist/composer Bertha Hope, Elmo’s widow and definitely the leading authority on Elmo’s music, that we needed to get together to play Elmo’s music with two special musicians. Bassist Putter Smith would be in NYC (he lives in California) and he’d like to play some Elmo AGAIN. In the late 1950s, when he was still a teenager, he got to gig with Elmo for quite a few weeks over a six month period in the Los Angeles area. Alto saxophonist/composer Jerry Dodgion had been talking to me about playing, and when I mentioned Putter, and that he had played with Elmo, I found out that Jerry had also played with Elmo in some jam sessions in San Francisco in the 1950s. Jerry said he was also definitely up for playing some of Elmo’s quintet music, so that’s what we did the other night. Bertha hadn’t known that Putter and Jerry had played with Elmo, so she was delighted. After we finished playing and were trying to get some air back into our lungs, I told Bertha that we should talk about their experiences with Elmo. We rolled some video, which we’ll be putting up soon on our jazzleadsheets.com YouTube channel.

    In preparation for that evening rehearsal, I got busy and put together a bunch more of Elmo’s quintet arrangements so we could read them and get them ready for jazzleadsheets.com. Normally I only put up one title by a composer at a time, but, in honor of that fun occasion, I’m putting out two of the ones we played that night. More Elmo Hope will be put on jazzleadsheets.com over the next few months.

    Our editions of STARS OVER MARRAKESH require a little explanation. This composition was recorded twice by Elmo, both as trio recordings. Both recorded arrangements are different. To avoid confusion, we’ve labeled them first version and second version. We believe the first version is the primary version, so we’ve expanded only that version for our other instrumental editions. Elmo’s piano melody always has a harmony part, therefore it’s perfect for two horns, so we’re also providing second part editions.

    The second version is from Elmo’s second recording, eight years later than the first recording. It has melodic and harmonic differences, and the bridge is in a different key (see our details page for more explanation). Elmo’s wife, Bertha Hope, who is a fine pianist and composer herself, is also the authority for understanding Elmo’s music. Even Bertha doesn’t know why Elmo made the alterations he did for the second recording. Maybe he couldn’t find his original lead sheet or he didn’t go back to the original recording. I know if we didn’t have the first recording, the second one would be rewarding enough. The fact that we have both, and C treble clef editions of each are available, gives you a chance to examine these two recordings in detail, giving you further insight into this important composer.

    more editions of: A Night At Tony’s - Gigi Gryce Stupendous-Lee - Gigi Gryce

    The lead sheets and second parts for these two important Gigi Gryce compositions have been available for some time. We’ve had some general requests for more transcribed solos, so both Gigi’s and Art Farmer’s solos from these recordings are naturals to make available. Studying these two soloists is rewarding, especially examining and comparing their solos on the same recording, and even trading fours with each other on A NIGHT AT TONY’S. They’re both what I call real note players: their lines always have such clarity of thought. All their articulations are also notated, giving you the real fingerprints of these great artists. Full B-flat and C editions give everyone the opportunity to examine these solos on their own instruments.

    Workout - Hank Mobley (Philly Joe Jones drum transcription)

    Again, we’ve had the lead sheets for this one out for some time. This is a great drum feature composition, and now you can examine in detail the mastery of the legendary drummer Mobley wrote the composition for: Philly Joe Jones. You can see his eight-measure solo drum intro, followed by everything he plays on the head (full of two-measure exchanges between the horns and Philly Joe). Also, unique to our publications, you always see what the horns are playing (in a smaller staff, above the drum staff). For students or professional drummers, these transcriptions are amazing to study! Also check out Evan Hughes’ blog, the Jazz Drum Corner. See and hear Evan playing his transcription of Philly Joe’s fours with the soloists on NO ROOM FOR SQUARES, and you’ll see why he’s such an important part of our transcribing staff.

    Enjoy! Don Sickler Second Floor Music and jazzleadsheets.com don@secondfloormusic.com phone 212-741-1175

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