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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.
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.
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.
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 (email@example.com) what you know.