As I’m sure you’ve been able to see, we publish for a lot of great composers. This week we’re adding five new ones to jazzleadsheets.com. Except for Eddie Costa, who died five years before I got to New York, I’ve had the honor of knowing them personally.
Of these additions, guitarist Chuck Wayne was the first on the jazz scene. He emerged in the early 1940s and contributed greatly to the new music that was being called bebop. His composition Slightly Dizzy will bring you right back to the energy of the bebop era. It illustrates a favorite device of composers and improvisers, borrowing and enhancing the chord changes of an American standard: this time, How High The Moon.
Pianist Norman Simmons arrived on the recording scene in the early 1950s. Early on, he wrote a hit for prominent Chicago tenor saxophonist Paul Bascomb. This helped ensure a steady gig for his trio at important Chicago clubs that brought in guest artists, which in turn provided Norman the opportunity to accompany Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Wardell Grey and many more of the jazz greats. Norman has written many wonderful compositions that we’ll be exploring in the months to come. I decided to start your introduction to him with Stiffed, Norman’s clever composition based on the changes of Just Friends.
Eddie Costa (piano and vibes) also emerged in the 1950s. He was the Down Beat Critics poll winner on both instruments in 1957. Unfortunately, he was killed in a car accident at thirty-one years of age, and he hadn’t spent much time writing his own original compositions. He did write a few, however, and we’ll be exploring them in the months to come. For now, enjoy his Blues Plus Eight.
I miss bassist/composer Charles Fambrough, who died this past January, 2011. Charles had a long bout battling kidney failure. He loved music, and we always had beautiful conversations about music and musicians. Charles was still in his twenties when he wrote and recorded One For Honor with McCoy Tyner. He was not only one of the foremost bassists of his generation, but also a marvelous composer.
Cecilia Coleman is the youngest of our five new composers, but she’s been on the NYC scene now for over a decade. She is originally from California, where she did some recording and composing before coming to New York. She’s a marvelous pianist/composer with a broad composing palette. If her name already looks familiar to you at jazzleadsheets.com, it’s because she’s the pianist on many of the tracks we’ve recorded for jazzleadsheets.com. Her own first composition to be posted is an interesting 3/4 adventure called Pearl.