Bill Pierce

  • April showers bring new composers

    It’s a new month, a new batch of lead sheets, and most exciting of all, two new composers added to our roster!

    We’re very excited to be welcoming GEOFFREY KEEZER and VALERY PONOMAREV to the jazzleadsheets.com family. These two virtuosos represent all that is great about the jazz scene today — not only are they two of the most talented musicians on their respective instruments, but their compositions are out of this world. We’re starting off with one piece from each of their first solo releases.

    Geoffrey Keezer’s first album as a leader was recorded when he was only 17 — a fact that is all the more incredible when you hear his complex, edgy, irresistible composition Babes In McCoyland. With elements of Latin, rock, and gospel all mixed together, this piece is nothing short of addictive.

    Valery Ponomarev’s first solo release came a bit later in life, but his composition Take Care is equally impressive. It fits in perfectly with many of our hard-bop compositions even though it was recorded years later — that’s how much soul and style Valery has as both a composer and a player.

    But the new releases from our other composers are just as enticing. If it’s a ballad you need, look no further than Myles. This sensitive, haunting composition by Billy Pierce is simply breath-taking. If it happens to make you tear up a bit on the first listen, you’re in good company.

    It’s been a while since we’ve treated you with a composition from maestro Al Cohn, and there’s no better piece to come back with than Danielle . This versatile composition (recorded as a bossa, slow swing, or ballad) has a plaintive, nostalgic quality to it and a melody so lovely you’ll be humming it for days.

    And singers: we’ve got a great pick for you, too! Over The Brink comes from Judy Niemack’s fantastic tutorial book, Hear It And Sing It: Exploring The Blues, but it’s a great chart in its own right. The instrumental composition, Push Come To Shove, is by Julian Priester, and Julian and Judy make quite a team. Over The Brink is a sultry, unusual, exciting blues (complete with a minus you audio track) that will push your ear and really work your chops.

  • Winter is here, and so are these new composers!

    It's another update jam-packed with old favorites and new composers alike! Starting out with the familiar faces:

    HANK MOBLEY’S STRAIGHT AHEAD This title comes from Hank Mobley’s “The Turnaround” album, which was unusual in that in combined two dates that are separated by two years. Quintet parts available. The drummer was the fantastic Billy Higgins and we’re offering a transcription of his drumming on the track.

    THELMA’S HEART by BILLY PIERCE A great quartet piece with a seemingly simple melody, but the key-defying harmony makes the composition irresistibly complex.

    And our NEW composers:

    New composer ALBERT AMMONS and CHANGES IN BOOGIE WOOGIE This is a special treat for pianists. This transcription for solo piano comes from a recording made on January 6, 1939—the very first session for Blue Note Records! Our transcription includes not only all the notes, but the articulation and phrasing as well, so you can try to play it just like Albert himself.

    THE LOVE WE HAD YESTERDAY by PAMELA BASKIN-WATSON, a composer new to jazzleadsheets.com. This beautiful composition was first recorded instrumentally by Bobby Watson, Pamela’s husband, in 1986, on his album “Love Remains.” Betty Carter recorded it in 1992, and our version, by vocalist Rachel Bronstein, was recorded this year. An accompaniment-only track is also available.

    Check out our video of Rachel singing in our office studio!

    And finally, new composer SHEILA JORDAN's THE CROSSING. If you’re feeling inclined towards folk this week, try out this legendary vocalist’s signature song. The folk-inspired piece is usually performed as a duet with voice and bass and is played very freely, allowing the vocalist to explore his/her voice without limitation. The lyric is inspirational advice from Sheila about reaching a higher plane of mindfulness through loving music.

  • jazzleadsheets in early October

    It’s a big update from us this week — eight new charts with exciting options for singers and instrumentalists alike! With so much to choose from, there’s no way you won’t be able to find something that catches your interest.

    We have three new compositions by former Jazz Messengers, starring with composer/pianist Donald Brown’s stunning ballad Dorothy, dedicated to his wife. Not only is it a romantic, complex ballad in and of itself, but we also offer transcriptions of Donald’s comping behind the melody and his solo for pianists who want to learn more about his signature style. Studying Donald’s artistic harmonic voicings in his comping and the way he gives meaning and purpose to each note in his solo is a great exercise for pianists to improve their own skills.

    We’re introducing another new composer, saxophonist Bill Pierce, with his Chuck’s Groove. Like many of Bill’s compositions, this piece features a memorable, tuneful melody and sets it over an unusual chord progression. It’s a great choice for musicians of any instrument or skill level!

    We were so excited about Hank Mobley’s The Turnaround (quintet parts) that we had to make it available for both musicians and singers. It’s a funky, bluesy and fun piece that is easy to master for beginners but really soars when played by masters like Hank and Freddie Hubbard (who are featured on the instrumental recording). Chris Caswell’s playful lyric version, I Found The Turnaround, is expertly recorded by Karrin Allyson. Take a listen and try it out yourself with our vocal lead sheet; the small range of the melody makes it perfect for most voice types.

    Take a trip to South America with Jon Burr’s Sea Breeze. This laid-back, soothing bossa nova features a lyric by the composer himself that reflects the simple joy of relaxing by the sea. We offer this lead sheet in two keys — one for altos and one for sopranos. Full track and accompaniment-only audio available.

    Rachel Gould’s No More Fire (Over You) is another bossa nova with a bit more of an edge. The lyric describes getting over a lover and finally being able to move on. In addition to the vocal lead sheet, we also offer a transcription of Rachel’s recording so singers can learn from her expert phrasing.

    Singers looking to add more waltzes to their repertoire should look no further than Like A Butterfly, Judy Niemack’s lyric version to Ronnie Mathews’s Jean-Marie. This delicate, breezy waltz is a good choice for sopranos since it features the upper register of a vocalist’s range. Full track and accompaniment-only audio available.

    Rounding out our vocal selections is Swinging My Life Away, a vocal version of Ray Bryant’s Tonk with a lyric by Tina May. It’s a fun, upbeat song that celebrates jazz, swing, and being yourself — a message we couldn’t agree with more! Full track and accompaniment-only audio available.

    A tip: if you’re printing from Adobe Acrobat, make sure you specify “none” for print scaling in the dialog. We’ve already made sure the margins are correct. If you let Acrobat print automatically, it might reduce the music a bit.

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