Julian Priester

  • 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.

  • The holidays are here at jazzleadsheets.com

    The holidays are just around the corner, and it’s been getting snowy here in New York. We’re celebrating the season through great charts — check them out and join in our holiday revelry!

    Kicking off our new additions is a swing/Latin hybrid by Elmo Hope - Abdullah. The minor melody is tuneful and memorable — it might just get stuck in your head. Since Elmo originally recorded this composition with his quintet, we have the original parts available to try out with your own quintet (alternate parts are also available). If you want to play it solo or try out your own arrangement, we offer a regular leadsheet as well. Either way, it’s a strong addition to any set.

    On the slower side of Latin is Los Milagros Pequenos, a mysterious and alluring piece by Norman Simmons. The melody of this chart is slow and meditative; it floats over a repeating bass line that anchors the piece. Norman originally recorded this chart with his quintet, but also wrote a solo piano arrangement for it. The piano arrangement is a great choice for intermediate pianists looking to brush up on their Latin skills — it’s not simplified at all, but isn’t too tricky either. To go along with the piano arrangement, we have an exclusive audio track featuring Kenny Drew Jr. It’s a great example of how to play this beautiful composition.

    If you’re looking for something with a bit more pep, look no further than Ray Bryant’s Bebop Irishman. This chart is as whimsical and fun as the name suggests — it has a jig-like pace with long bebop lines set over a simple folk-like chord progression. This is a good pick to feature the piano, since the long chromatic lines showcase pianistic dexterity. This is not to say that this piece is only for pianists. On a Buddy Rich recording, both flute and vibes are added to the melody, and George Shearing added guitar as well as vibes to the melody. We also have horn editions as well. For drummers, though, we have Evan Hughes’s transcription of Jo Jones’ playing. The transcription includes the drum introduction, time over the in head, trading fours with the piano, and the out chorus. The brushwork on this piece is so incredible that many drummers regard this recording as a sort of bible for brush playing. Now you don’t have to guess what Jo Jones was playing — you can try it all out yourself with this meticulously detailed transcription!

    For singers, we’re releasing the vocal version of the Gigi Gryce jazz standard Social Call. Jon Hendricks’s clever lyric is the perfect foil for the unforgettable melody, making the vocal version a popular choice for decades of singers. Try this chart out for yourself and join the ranks of Ernestine Anderson, Betty Carter, Earl Coleman, Karrin Allyson, Diane Reeves and Cecile McLorin Salvant — all of whom have recorded this classic composition.

    Finally, we have an exotic 7/4 blues from Julian Priester and Judy Niemack. Eros, Judy’s lyric version to Julian’s instrumental Blues for Eros, is a sexy musical retelling of the Greek myth of Eros and Psyche.  Eros, the son of the goddess Aphrodite, seduced Psyche until she figured out his godly identity. He abandoned her, forcing Psyche to seek counsel from Aphrodite, who sent her on a difficult quest to win back her love. Judy draws out the theme of blind passion so strong it verges on desperation; this theme is amplified by the seductive melody by Julian and the driving odd-meter pulse of the bass.

  • Dexter Gordon, Tom McIntosh and more

    Clubhouse (Dexter Gordon) This is another Dexter Gordon gem, featuring horns and drums in the melody. Read about my personal experience with legendary drummer Billy Higgins, who was on the original recording, in the notes. Dexter’s transcribed tenor sax solo is also available in both B-flat and C concert editions. My transcriptions document the creative “fingerprints” of the artist: the notes he plays as well as the articulations, which account for so much of Dexter’s magic as a soloist.

    Cup Bearers (Tom McIntosh) This is an important and classic jazz composition by master composer/arranger/trombonist Tom McIntosh. It’s one of those compositions with great “changes” that can lead you into new ways of thinking and playing. Our lead sheet comes from the first recording in 1962 by James Moody. Soon after, in the same year, trumpeter Blue Mitchell recorded his version, and in the following year Dizzy Gillespie recorded it. “Cup Bearers” became a required composition on the hip jazz scene. This year, 2012, is the 50th anniversary of the first recording, and it’s still hip! A couple of years ago, when I brought it to the attention of Jon Irabagon, the winner of the last Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition, he was quick to record it.

    Crazy (Elmo Hope) One more challenge from Elmo Hope! I’m thrilled to be able to bring more and more of Elmo’s great music to jazzleadsheets.com. This one will challenge anyone, but it’s well worth the musical effort. Take a listen to Bertha Hope, Elmo’s widow, as she talks about Elmo with saxophonist/composer Jerry Dodgion and bassist/composer Putter Smith:

    Outa Sight (Jack Wilson) A great example of “It doesn’t have to be hard to be good.” I’m always looking for material recorded by jazz artists that can also be recommended to inexperienced performers. This is a good one: simple, not a rangy melody, not a lot of solo changes to deal with. The solo section has some rhythm section hits that will help you add variety to your own solo.

    Bob T’s Blues (Julian Priester) Another nice blues to add to your repertoire.

    --Don Sickler

  • new December 28, 2011

    If You Could Love Me - Norman Simmons A beautiful Norman Simmons composition, with lyrics by Norman. Sung in a slow Latin tempo by Carmen McRae, later, at different tempos by other vocalists. You can also gain interesting insight into Carmen’s phasing from our vocal transcription of her performance, available separately. Email us (don@secondfloormusic.com) for different keys!

    Juliano - Julian Priester Lead sheets and his trombone solo are available from his first recording as a leader, the KEEP SWINGIN’ album on Riverside Records. An energetic ABCD form composition. The melody is constantly modulating as it evolves.

    Valse Robin - Dexter Gordon Dexter Gordon’s beautiful waltz for his daughter Robin, a 64-measure expanded AABA form. Recorded on THE PANTHER! album.

    Harbor Freeway 5 P.M. - Jack Wilson Two separate lead sheet treatments. First recorded as an uptempo sizzler to feature the drums, it later became a beautiful laid back composition. Compare Jack’s interpretations.

    Out Of Joe’s Bag (Hank Mobley) - Philly Joe Jones drum transcription Evan Hughes’ transcription of Philly Joe Jones’ performance on the ANOTHER WORKOUT album. Includes solo drum introduction, playing behind the in and out melodies, and Philly Joe’s solo. More valuable insight into this phenomenal drummer!

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

  • 50th anniversary titles & more

    This week marks the 50th anniversary of two great recording sessions for Riverside Records. On January 11, 1960, Julian Priester recorded his “Keep Swingin’” album, and on January 13 and 14, Bobby Timmons recorded his trio date “This Here Is Bobby Timmons.” These 50th anniversary sessions were also each artist’s first album as leaders.

    From Julian Priester: The End (plus Julian’s trombone solo) Under The Surface (plus Julian’s trombone solo) I proofread the two Julian Priester arrangements with one of my combos at Columbia University this last semester, then performed both at the winter concert. The combo used the same instrumentation as the recording, except tenor sax played the melody and trombone played the second part. During the semester I had to sub for both tenor and trombone, on trumpet, so we also got to hear Trumpet/Tenor-2nd part and Trumpet/Trombone-2nd part. The arrangements work great with any instrumentation, or with just the melody part in a quartet format.

    I get a lot of requests from trombonists for transcribed solos. Julian Priester is not only a great composer, he’s also a great trombone soloist. As I mention in my description notes, Julian’s The End composition is a challenging form, as the rhythm switches between Latin and swing at initially unpredictable times. As you’ll see and hear, when Julian solos the transitions really make sense.

    From Bobby Timmons: Joy Ride Bobby Timmons was a very versatile composer at age 24, when he recorded the album “This Here Is Bobby Timmons.” He’d already written and recorded his two major hits in his own fully developed funky-churchy language, at 23. This trio date, his first as a leader, comes approximately one year and three months after Bobby first recorded Moanin’ with Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers, and a little less than three months after he recorded his second hit, This Here, as a member of the Cannonball Adderley Quintet. Jazzleadsheets.com will post This Here shortly, but for now, Joy Ride shows you Bobby is very much at home writing challenging boppish compositions.

    Additionally, the print arrangement of Moanin’ is available from Second Floor Music with full score and alternate parts. Order online at MusicDispatch.com.

    On top of these anniversary titles, we also have more Carl Perkins, from the Curtis Counce album “Carl’s Blues”: Carl is another “groove master,” and Carl’s Blues is in a great tempo (medium slow) and key (A-flat) that we all need to practice.

    In December 2009, we posted two arrangements of Gerald Wiggins’s A Fifth For Frank. One was from a Cal Tjader recording, with Gerald on piano. Gerald’s A Light Groove also comes from this album, it and gives you a different kind of “groove.”

    Let’s all Keep Swingin’! --Don Sickler

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