We had a fun Elmo Hope experience in my rehearsal studio a few nights ago. I told pianist/composer Bertha Hope, Elmo’s widow and definitely the leading authority on Elmo’s music, that we needed to get together to play Elmo’s music with two special musicians. Bassist Putter Smith would be in NYC (he lives in California) and he’d like to play some Elmo AGAIN. In the late 1950s, when he was still a teenager, he got to gig with Elmo for quite a few weeks over a six month period in the Los Angeles area. Alto saxophonist/composer Jerry Dodgion had been talking to me about playing, and when I mentioned Putter, and that he had played with Elmo, I found out that Jerry had also played with Elmo in some jam sessions in San Francisco in the 1950s. Jerry said he was also definitely up for playing some of Elmo’s quintet music, so that’s what we did the other night. Bertha hadn’t known that Putter and Jerry had played with Elmo, so she was delighted. After we finished playing and were trying to get some air back into our lungs, I told Bertha that we should talk about their experiences with Elmo. We rolled some video, which we’ll be putting up soon on our jazzleadsheets.com YouTube channel.
In preparation for that evening rehearsal, I got busy and put together a bunch more of Elmo’s quintet arrangements so we could read them and get them ready for jazzleadsheets.com. Normally I only put up one title by a composer at a time, but, in honor of that fun occasion, I’m putting out two of the ones we played that night. More Elmo Hope will be put on jazzleadsheets.com over the next few months.
Our editions of STARS OVER MARRAKESH require a little explanation. This composition was recorded twice by Elmo, both as trio recordings. Both recorded arrangements are different. To avoid confusion, we’ve labeled them first version and second version. We believe the first version is the primary version, so we’ve expanded only that version for our other instrumental editions. Elmo’s piano melody always has a harmony part, therefore it’s perfect for two horns, so we’re also providing second part editions.
The second version is from Elmo’s second recording, eight years later than the first recording. It has melodic and harmonic differences, and the bridge is in a different key (see our details page for more explanation). Elmo’s wife, Bertha Hope, who is a fine pianist and composer herself, is also the authority for understanding Elmo’s music. Even Bertha doesn’t know why Elmo made the alterations he did for the second recording. Maybe he couldn’t find his original lead sheet or he didn’t go back to the original recording. I know if we didn’t have the first recording, the second one would be rewarding enough. The fact that we have both, and C treble clef editions of each are available, gives you a chance to examine these two recordings in detail, giving you further insight into this important composer.
The lead sheets and second parts for these two important Gigi Gryce compositions have been available for some time. We’ve had some general requests for more transcribed solos, so both Gigi’s and Art Farmer’s solos from these recordings are naturals to make available. Studying these two soloists is rewarding, especially examining and comparing their solos on the same recording, and even trading fours with each other on A NIGHT AT TONY’S. They’re both what I call real note players: their lines always have such clarity of thought. All their articulations are also notated, giving you the real fingerprints of these great artists. Full B-flat and C editions give everyone the opportunity to examine these solos on their own instruments.
Again, we’ve had the lead sheets for this one out for some time. This is a great drum feature composition, and now you can examine in detail the mastery of the legendary drummer Mobley wrote the composition for: Philly Joe Jones. You can see his eight-measure solo drum intro, followed by everything he plays on the head (full of two-measure exchanges between the horns and Philly Joe). Also, unique to our publications, you always see what the horns are playing (in a smaller staff, above the drum staff). For students or professional drummers, these transcriptions are amazing to study! Also check out Evan Hughes’ blog, the Jazz Drum Corner. See and hear Evan playing his transcription of Philly Joe’s fours with the soloists on NO ROOM FOR SQUARES, and you’ll see why he’s such an important part of our transcribing staff.
Second Floor Music and jazzleadsheets.com