Eddie Bert

  • May 17, 2013: More anniversaries & birthdays to celebrate

    The week of May 13th we’re celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Johnny Griffin and Matthew Gee album “Soul Groove,” recorded for Atlantic Records in two sessions (May 14 and May 16, 1963). I couldn’t decide which one of Matthew Gee’s great soulful groove compositions to put up. Since Renee was recorded on the May 14 session and Here on the May 16 session, we can celebrate both.

    Six years before that, (on May 14, 1957) flutist Herbie Mann recorded Eddie Costa’s composition Here’s That Mann with Eddie on vibes in a sextet format. Herbie played tenor sax, unusual for him. Although it can be played in a quartet (or even trio) format, Eddie’s original arrangement is preserved, with the addition of separate Vibes and Guitar parts as well (the original sextet recording featured Alto Sax, Tenor Sax, Vibes, Guitar, Bass and Drums).

    May 15th and 16th are birthdays for two more of our composers: trumpeter Joe Gordon (May 15, 1928) and trombonist Eddie Bert (May 16, 1922).

    In honor of Joe Gordon’s birthday, listen to his beautiful ballad Heleen. Joe was a very important trumpet player whose peers thought would help take the trumpet to another level. Sadly, he died far too young at the age of 35. Trumpeter Brian Lynch in his recent Unsung Heroes project pays a beautiful tribute to Joe, also recording Heleen.

    Transcribed Solo editions: Both Joe Gordon’s and Brian Lynch’s solos and melody treatments are available in separate B-flat and C treble clef editions. An unusual and rewarding opportunity to see how both of these great trumpet artists interpret the same ballad.

    Losing Eddie Bert this last year was a blow to many of us. For his birthday I’m giving everyone the chance to hear Eddie’s trombone victoriously attacking one of his great blues melodies (Ripples). The audio excerpt teases with the beginning of his aggressive solo.

    Plus, the second drum transcription of master drummer Charli Persip: six pages of detail, including Dizzy Gillespie and Charli’s exchanges on the famous recording of The Eternal Triangle.

    Don Sickler phone 212-741-1175 - email don@secondfloormusic.com

  • new December lead sheets

    Here are some new titles:

    400 Years Ago Tomorrow - Walter Davis Jr.

    I was asked several months ago for this lead sheet, so first of all I apologize for the delay. Walter was such a great composer, always with his own distinctive voice. As I’m sure you can tell from the audio clip, this is a great one! Pianists, note that Geoff Keezer’s Solo Piano Arrangement is also available, along with a recording by Kenny Drew, Jr.

    Focus - James Williams

    The first recording of Focus, a duo recording with bassist Dennis Irwin, was made before James started recording as a Jazz Messenger with Art Blakey. I discuss the four recordings James made of this composition in my notes, and I’m now on a mission to see if I can get James’ last duo recording (in 2000) made available as a download.

    Pensive - Al Cohn

    This beautiful ballad is the first of many compositions by Al Cohn that we’ll be bringing to jazzleadsheets.com.

    Sadly, I attended trombonist and composer Eddie Bert’s memorial service at St. Peters Church in NYC on December 17, 2012. Eddie was a great musician and a good friend. I played and toured with him many times over the years, and of course heard great stories from him, and about him. As you can learn from his bio on jazzleadsheets, and from the notes on his composition Speedster, Eddie was an accomplished musician.

    Since we’re making Speedster available, I see it’s a perfect time to add a new and beautiful Gigi Gryce composition, In A Meditating Mood, because Eddie recorded it as well.

    If you read my notes for these lead sheets you’ll get the picture, and you’ll see there are some unanswered questions. Was Eddie on this Gryce session? If we could see Eddie’s “session cards” (he made notes of every session he was on), I’m sure we’d have answers.

    Another thing that’s confusing to many of us: this isn’t the album title we know! We know it as “Like Cool.”

    After trombonist/bandleader Art Baron’s rehearsal at my studio over this last weekend, he overheard me talking to saxophonist Jerry Dodgion about Eddie Bert, and he wanted to know if we wanted to hear one of his Eddie Bert stories? Of course we said yes. It turns out the very first jazz record Art was ever given was Eddie’s “Like Cool” album, a later reissue of the “Let’s Dig Bert” album. It was the beginning of Art’s passion for jazz. He showed me his album, which had a cover with icicles on it, when he played at the Memorial service.

    Like Art, I was introduced to Eddie’s recording from a “Like Cool” reissue. I forgot to show Art my copy, but I think mine (which had an image of ice cubes on the cover) was an even later reissue than his. Are there more reissues with different covers? I now know about four covers for the same album: “Let’s Dig Bert (Eddie, That Is)” with the steam shovel or a portrait of Eddie playing trombone; “Like Cool” with icicles in a forest or ice cubes with a trombone. I hope one of you might have, or know someone who has, the original Essex issue so I can confirm the first cover. Email me (don@secondfloormusic.com) what you know.

    --Don Sickler

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