• Joe Farrell & Bobby Porcelli: flute & sax mastery

    Eighty years ago today (December 16, 1937), two great jazz saxophonists were born: Joe Farrell and Bobby Porcelli. They both played most of the saxes, but Joe's main instrument was tenor sax, while Bobby's is alto sax. They're also both great flute players as well, so I also couldn't resist on their joint birthday putting up a composition of Bobby's that he wrote and arranged for two flutes, That's Good. I wish I also had a recording of both of them playing the flute parts together, but, ironically, neither one recorded it on flute.

    Joe Farrell's name might be known to many jazz fans since he played on albums that were widely distributed (Chick Corea). Unfortunately, Joe died in 1986. But who is Bobby Porcelli? If you don't know the answer to this question, you're in for a real treat.

    Bobby has been highly regarded in the Latin and Latin-Jazz world for many years. That's great, but for some of us, Bobby is much more than that. If you check out his straight ahead jazz playing, you'll realize he is also one of the greatest jazz soloists around: he's instantly recognizable.

    I'm very excited that can give you the opportunity to check out  Bobby Porcelli. He's already present on over 30 of the recordings found on, and very soon we will be releasing more of his solo transcriptions. If you've ever talked to me about Bobby Porcelli, you know that as far as I'm concerned, musically, Bobby can do no wrong!

    Here are links to the new titles related to these two birthday celebrants:

    -- Farrell's Ultimate Rejection, recorded by Maynard Ferguson

    -- Porcelli's That's Good (the two-flute feature) and his lyrical Rejuvenate which has been recorded by Ralph Moore and T.S. Monk, along with a vocal version, It's All In The Mind. A heretofore unreleased-to-the-public recording of Bobby playing Rejuvenate with me at a 1977 rehearsal is available.

    Don Sickler and the team

  • Milestone for Rahsaan Roland Kirk's The Inflated Tear

    Don Sickler:  I'd been waiting for the 50th anniversary of the first recording of Rahsaan Roland Kirk's The Inflated Tear (October 19, 1967) for a few months. Fortunately, a phone conversation with Rahsaan's son Rory on October 17 reminded me about it just in time, and our team went into action. In addition to speaking with producer and long-time Kirk associate Todd Barkan about his thoughts on Rahsaan and on this composition, I wanted to see if I could clarify whether this concert footage was actually the very first public performance of The Inflated Tear. I knew pianist Rahn Burton thought that it was the first performance. But there was still some doubt, so the anniversary day provided me with a great reason to call Rahsaan's bassist Steve Novosel to get his recollection. I hadn't seen or talked to Steve in quite a few years, so I was happy to make the call. I got lucky and immediately got him on the phone, giving me a golden opportunity to ask one of my absolute favorite questions: "Steve, I want you think very carefully: tell me what you were doing exactly 50 years ago today." Of course, dead silence on the other end of the phone. After Steve recovered enough to say, "I have absolutely no idea," I was able to enlighten him. "That was 50 years ago today?" It all flashed back, and we had a nice conversation about that gig. I asked him if that was the "very first" performance. He said he was sure they played it first on their previous concert, which was in Warsaw, Poland. It was the usual way with Rahsaan. Out of the blue, he just started playing it. None of the rest of the band had heard it before! Steve said that the Warsaw gig was vivid in his memory because it completely blew the audience away. At the end of The Inflated Tear, they all stood and sang their national anthem. Steve said, "I could never forget that!"

    It's a privilege to be able to bring this vital and significant music to musicians playing today.

  • Kenny Dorham blast: from early bebop to hard bop!

    At the beginning of this last summer, the marvelous pianist Bill Charlap started getting on my case. Bill has been a good friend since his high school days, when he was a member of the Young Sounds jazz program I directed for Local 802 of the American Federation Of Musicians. Bill is now the Director of Jazz Studies at William Paterson University. After the last school year was over, he started calling me, wanting as much Kenny Dorham music as I could give him. For the upcoming fall semester, he wanted the students at the school to be exposed to as much Kenny Dorham and Joe Henderson as possible.

    I told Bill that now, with, I'm able to delve deeper in an organized way into K.D.'s compositions than I ever could before. Look at how Kenny developed his masterpiece Lotus Blossom, for example. There are six recordings tracing his progress. The seventh recording is our own K.D. Challenge project recording, with complete Minus You audio tracks available. Horn Salute, Monaco and Brown's Town are three new additions to the K.D. Challenge project.

    Please also check out our other great Kenny Dorham additions: Stage West, Karioka, Blue Ching, Blues For Jackie, Jung Fu, Dead End and Echo Of Spring. Details on all are below.

    There are still more great K.D. compositions to come, and believe me, Charlap will be on my case until they're available for everyone to play. As Michael Cuscuna wrote, "How does one perceive a man whose creative talents span big bands, the very origins of bebop, the founding of funk and hard bop and participation in the experimentation of Cecil Taylor, John Coltrane and Andrew Hill?" The answer is!

    Use the links above or read on for details on each new title.

    Blue Ching K.D. wrote this stop-time blues head for Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, as a showcase for their trademark dynamic range. Second parts and rhythm section parts are available for this quintet arrangement.

    Blues For Jackie This blues head from an obscure Jackie McLean session is classic K.D., with tasty stop-time figures and chord substitutions.

    Brown's Town A stop-time medium swinger originally recorded by Kenny Dorham with sax icon Joe Henderson. Our  K.D. Challenge version has Minus You tracks for all instruments.

    Dead End This early Kenny Dorham composition shows his bebop roots. He played it with Charlie Parker in the '40s but it wasn't recorded until Red Rodney's version in 1979. Check out the Historical Notes to learn why.

    Echo Of Spring A relatively early Kenny Dorham composition in a melodic bebop-ish bag. It's also known as K.D.'s Cab Ride but Echo Of Spring is Kenny's title. From Kenny's Afro-Cuban album, the bridge has a Latin groove. The Concert Condensed Score shows the bridge counter melody.

    Horn Salute A very intriguing Kenny Dorham composition, with lots of question-and-answer activity and interplay between the melody and rhythm section, plus a unique soloist challenge: K.D. continues his composition through the first 14 measures of each soloist, integrating a super-slick written rhythmic bass line with stop and go figures for the rest of the rhythm section. Our K.D. Challenge version has separate Minus You audio tracks for each instrumentalist.

    Jung Fu Related to Lotus Blossom, this song takes the same thematic material in a more modal direction. It comes from Kenny's last recording as a leader, but was released only recently. The Condensed Score editions show melody, harmony and rhythm section activity.

    Karioka A hard-driving medium-up composition that K.D. never recorded, Karioka comes from an early Freddie Hubbard album. A full set of parts are available for this quintet arrangement.

    Lotus Blossom An important Kenny Dorham work that he revisited quite a few times, performing and recording it in many different settings and arrangements. This may be overwhelming, but we feel it's necessary to show you seven different recordings (two were recorded under the title Asiatic Raes). These different treatments show Kenny's inexhaustible inventiveness. We suggest that you first click on each record jacket and listen to each audio clip. You'll hear why we've had to hit you with all of them at once! Condensed scores are available for five versions, while melody and rhythm section editions (and audio!) are available for our Minus You K.D. Challenge version to help you get inside this masterpiece. Check out the Minus You tab!

    Monaco The magic of this composition is fully realized in Kenny's multi-tempo arrangement. Kenny's original melody treatment (recorded live at the Cafe Bohemia) for both the master and alternate takes has been transcribed, for B-flat and C instruments. Everyone can explore this dramatic Latin/swing arrangement themselves through the Minus You tracks in our K.D. Challenge editions.

    Stage West A tour de force on the uptempo blues, with a head four choruses long and a send-off for the solos. All parts of the quintet arrangement are available.

  • Blue Spring Shuffle: The K.D. Challenge

    "The K.D. Challenge" is our hint that Kenny Dorham compositions are not only challenging, they're intriguing, great-and-fun-to-play masterworks. They are some of the most unique and important small group compositions in jazz. We've added the swinging, relaxed Blue Spring Shuffle this week.

    One of the things that sets Kenny Dorham apart from other composers is his emphasis on the specific roles of the individual rhythm section players. The often-distinctive role of each rhythm section player is part of the composition, not just part of an arrangement. The independent instrumental parts combine in an interplay that is more than the sum of the parts. To help each individual player, because everyone has to know what's happening,  we've made each rhythm section part double-staved, showing a smaller staff with the melody above each part. You'll find it's very helpful to see the melody in relation to your own part. Often we'll also indicate other rhythm section cues so you can really see how everything fits together.

    Try our Minus You audio tracks (click on the Minus You tab for each title): every rhythm section player can have his/her own audio track,  minus their instrument, to practice with. You can master your role while also accompanying recorded soloists. Melody players will have a great rhythm section behind them for the melody and also for soloing.

    Many fans have said, "K.D. is the cat!" Jerry the Jazz Musician wrote: "His music remains more than basically satisfying to his listeners. It smokes!"

  • Lucky Thompson tribute composer Adam Brenner debuts with his compositional tribute to the great saxophonist/composer Lucky Thompson, titled Lucky Thompson. Adam details his meeting with Lucky, in a park in Savannah, Georgia, in the historical notes, and the motivation behind the song.

  • Freddie Redd "And Time Marches On"

    A delightful, infectious and bluesy march from the star of The Connection. Freddie's own 1991 recording is featured, along with a recent treatment by our team. Our Minus You tracks and parts let you be part of the action.

  • Five new!

    Five new compositions, all with C treble clef, C bass clef, B-flat and E-flat lead sheet versions, plus more.

    Waltz for Marilyn is a beautiful ballad written by the late Don Friedman, originally recorded on Don's 2007 album of the same name. Available recordings include a piano/bass duo with bassist Daryl Johns playing with Don at the Van Gelder Studio, captured on video. Plus Don's Solo Piano Arrangement, played by Kenny Drew, Jr. and also recorded by Rudy Van Gelder.

    In honor of his June 16 birthday, two Lucky Thompson titles entitled Dancing Sunbeam and Mister Man. These tunes were originally recorded by Lucky and legendary bassist Oscar Pettiford and both serve as strong bass features, rich with bebop vocabulary. Check out Lucky's transcribed Tenor Sax solo on Dancing Sunbeam (in B-flat and C editions). Our own quartet made a new recording of both songs so Minus You audio tracks are also available for each instrument (Minus Melody, Minus Piano, Minus Bass, Minus Drums). Just click on the Don Sickler Quartet album cover, pick a song, then click on the Minus You tab. Summer intern Jack Aylor demonstrates the Minus Melody track (and Minus Bass, since both Thompson titles feature the bass playing the melody) in a Dancing Sunbeam video filmed at the studio.

    Lastly, two tunes from the album The Things We Need by saxophonist Jon Gordon are being released: Stapleton (a grooving bluesy track with great, stepwise changes to blow over) and Minor Dues (a swinging minor blues).

  • Griffin's When We Were One and Rolling On with Elmo Hope

    Captivate your audience with saxophonist Johnny Griffin's incredible ballad, When We Were One. Two versions, both recorded by Johnny, along with his Solo Piano Arrangement. Then scramble to get your breath as you play along with the Minus You tracks of Elmo Hope's Roll On (Minus You tracks for all instruments!). Hear exclusive audio of NY saxophonist Bobby Porcelli recorded by Rudy at Van Gelder's Studio, along with the Seattle-based New Stories trio.

  • Celebrating Tadd Dameron's 100th!

    We were able to put up two new Tadd Dameron compositions on the day of his 100th birthday (February 21, 2017), and now we've finished the editions and the notes for five new Tadd Dameron instrumentals and three vocals. As you'll hear, Dameron's composing is always identifiable as Tadd and always delightful. Check these out, and we know you'll enjoy playing them.

    Smooth As The Wind - A Blue Time - I Remember Love

    Never Been In Love Minus You track available - I'm Never Happy Anymore

    Wonderful lyrics have been added to three of these instrumentals by either Georgie Fame or Irving Reid, and we hope singers will check them out.

    There's No More Blue Time (vocal, lyric by Georgie Fame)

    Never Been In Love (vocal, lyric by Irving Reid) Minus You track available

    I'm Never Happy Anymore (vocal, lyric by Irving Reid)

    Hear a sample of our Minus You tracks on our YouTube channel.

  • Seven new charts plus Minus You audio for each one.

    We're ending the 2016 year with more classic music from KENNY DORHAM, who is not just the composer of the jazz standard Blue Bossa, but also a man whose music made innovative, often magical use of all of his rhythm section players: check out Escapade and Night Watch

    GIGI GRYCE: Another composer of jazz standards such as Minority, his music set Paris on fire during the 1950s and 1960s. We're bringing you further explorations of Gigi's classic Nica's Tempo along with Stupendous-Lee.

    Also three more from FREDDIE REDD: Sometimes so underground he's hard to find, his composing voice is easy to identify and his music lifts everyone's spirits. The Jolly Minor - Midnight Blue - There I Found You


    Minus You charts and audio let you rehearse whenever you want!

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