This week (more precisely May 20 through May 24) has important anniversaries we want to honor so we’ve expanded our usual five new entries this week to cover ten celebrations.
May 20 is the birthday of drummer/composer Victor Lewis (born in 1950 in Omaha, Nebraska). In honor of Victor’s birthday, here’s his great composition Seventh Avenue . For the drummers among you, in our Drum Corner, you can take a special look at some 7/4 “groove” patterns that Victor used on two different recordings.
When we showed Victor what recordings of jazzleadsheets.com music took place on his birthday over the years, he was blown away. What great birthday presents master drummers gave him, unknowingly, by recording their music on his birthday. Were they omens or just subliminal influences, for a young man who has certainly become one of the great modern drummers?
Here are Victor’s “birthday presents” that we want to share with you.
On Victor’s fourth birthday, drummer Art Blakey recorded his Mercury album “Blakey,” (May 20, 1954) featuring these three Gigi Gryce compositions: Minority and Salute To Birdland by Gigi Gryce. The lead sheets have been available for some time but now you can explore Gigi Gryce (alto sax) and Joe Gordon (trumpet) solos for both titles. Plus a new title from that session, Hello, a beautiful ballad.
For Victor’s tenth birthday, May 20, 1960, drummer Philly Joe Jones recorded his album “Philly Joe’s Beat” (Atlantic). Lead sheets for Joe’s Got To Take Another Chance have been available, but now you can check out Philly Joe’s drum transcription.
Another drum master, Louis Hayes, recorded his album “The Real Thing,” on Victor’s 27th birthday, May 20, 1977. This session included Ronnie Mathews’ tour-de-force composition Loose Suite (lead sheet editions plus Ronnie’s solo piano arrangement edition).
I couldn’t stop there, because on May 21, Cleo’s Blues (written and performed by tenor giant Paul Gonsalves) celebrates its 50th recording anniversary.
And finally, also on May 22 (or maybe it was May 24, the recording info on the liner notes doesn’t specify) pianist James Williams recorded his composition Mr. Day’s Dream (lead sheet editions and James’ Solo Piano Arrangement plus recording by Kenny Drew, Jr.).