piano solo transcription

  • Happy 75th Birthday, Blue Note Records!

    On January 6, 1939, Blue Note Records was born when Alfred Lion brought pianists Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis into the recording studio (probably WMGM Studio in NYC) and recorded 19 tracks. The first pressings on the Blue Note label became part of a 12” 78 rpm series. The very first pressing (BN-1) was Meade Lux Lewis’ solo performances of Melancholy on side 1A and Solitude on side 1B. On the 75th anniversary of these important recordings, jazzleadsheets.com is proud to make available piano transcription editions of these important Meade Lux Lewis works.

    Of course, music recorded in 1939 sounds very different from the music of today. However, in 1939, these two much in demand young pianists (in their early 30s) surely felt they were recording cutting edge music for the new young record producer in town, 30-year-old Alfred Lion. This experience took over Alfred Lion’s life and became the foundation for one of the most significant jazz record companies ever.

    Both of Meade Lux Lewis’ compositions explore the softer, slower side of boogie-woogie. The contrasts in textures, dynamics and techniques within each of these compositions is truly stunning, and we’ve captured it all here in our detailed piano transcriptions.

    Albert Ammons’ Changes In Boogie Woogie from this same historic session is also on jazzleadsheets.com. It’s a seven-chorus solo piano blues journey through six keys.

    1939 may have been 75 years ago, but with these transcriptions, you can relive history right at your own piano. So celebrate Blue Note’s 75th with us and check out these two historic compositions — we’re sure they won’t disappoint.

    P.S.: For our New York City area friends, be sure to check out Blue Note’s own celebratory concert on Wednesday, January 8, at Town Hall, featuring two innovative contemporary pianists, Robert Glasper and Jason Moran. Tickets are available here.

  • jazzleadsheets Mid-November additions

    Exciting news! We’re making some changes here at jazzleadsheets.com and we’d love to get your feedback on how things have been going so far. As we begin working on our website redesign (set to go live in Spring 2014), we’re hoping some of our valued customers would speak with our web developer to help him understand the customer experience so far. If you’d be willing to help us on this project, please email me.

    Meanwhile, Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so here’s an update to give you a little something extra to be thankful for!

    If you’re in the mood for a nostalgic, emotive ballad, look no further than The Haunted Melody by Rahsaan Roland Kirk. While you may not be able to play it with two instruments at the same time as Rahsaan does on the featured recording, the beautifully tragic melody sings on just about any instrument.

    Pianists should be sure to check out Bobby Timmons’s One Mo’ — we’ve transcribed all six choruses of his magnificent solo! Bobby is without question the master of soul-jazz, and learning this solo can teach you bits of his melodic vocabulary as well as how to build energy over the course of a lengthy solo. The head itself is also not to be missed by any musician: the A section is hard-hitting and punctuated with rhythmic hits, while the B section gives way into longer lines that show Bobby’s versatility as a composer. This memorable piece may well get stuck in your head, but we think you probably won’t want it out!

    Feeling a little mischievous? How about some Hanky Panky? Dexter Gordon’s composition is pure fun with a bouncy, syncopated melody and a classic blues march bass line. For singers, we have Tina May’s lyric version, No More Hanky-Panky. Her lyric plays off the cheeky title of Dexter’s original. It’s sung from the perspective of a child who keeps getting into trouble. Regardless of what adults may say, exploring is too much fun: don’t give up the hanky-panky!

    If the wintery weather is getting you down, why not think forward to spring? Meredith d’Ambrosio’s Blame It All On Spring is a wistful ballad that showcases a wide portion of a vocalist’s range without being too difficult to master. We offer it in the original key of A-flat as well as a higher key of D-flat for mezzo-sopranos or sopranos. While it was originally written to suit Meredith’s tenor voice, it sits comfortably in the higher key as well. The enticing contours of the melody make this a great pick.

    Drummers, check out a transcription of Victor Lewis' drumming on Jonny King's Merry-Go-Round. See what a contemporary master’s contribution does to enhance a recording.

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

  • jazzleadsheets in early October

    It’s a big update from us this week — eight new charts with exciting options for singers and instrumentalists alike! With so much to choose from, there’s no way you won’t be able to find something that catches your interest.

    We have three new compositions by former Jazz Messengers, starring with composer/pianist Donald Brown’s stunning ballad Dorothy, dedicated to his wife. Not only is it a romantic, complex ballad in and of itself, but we also offer transcriptions of Donald’s comping behind the melody and his solo for pianists who want to learn more about his signature style. Studying Donald’s artistic harmonic voicings in his comping and the way he gives meaning and purpose to each note in his solo is a great exercise for pianists to improve their own skills.

    We’re introducing another new composer, saxophonist Bill Pierce, with his Chuck’s Groove. Like many of Bill’s compositions, this piece features a memorable, tuneful melody and sets it over an unusual chord progression. It’s a great choice for musicians of any instrument or skill level!

    We were so excited about Hank Mobley’s The Turnaround (quintet parts) that we had to make it available for both musicians and singers. It’s a funky, bluesy and fun piece that is easy to master for beginners but really soars when played by masters like Hank and Freddie Hubbard (who are featured on the instrumental recording). Chris Caswell’s playful lyric version, I Found The Turnaround, is expertly recorded by Karrin Allyson. Take a listen and try it out yourself with our vocal lead sheet; the small range of the melody makes it perfect for most voice types.

    Take a trip to South America with Jon Burr’s Sea Breeze. This laid-back, soothing bossa nova features a lyric by the composer himself that reflects the simple joy of relaxing by the sea. We offer this lead sheet in two keys — one for altos and one for sopranos. Full track and accompaniment-only audio available.

    Rachel Gould’s No More Fire (Over You) is another bossa nova with a bit more of an edge. The lyric describes getting over a lover and finally being able to move on. In addition to the vocal lead sheet, we also offer a transcription of Rachel’s recording so singers can learn from her expert phrasing.

    Singers looking to add more waltzes to their repertoire should look no further than Like A Butterfly, Judy Niemack’s lyric version to Ronnie Mathews’s Jean-Marie. This delicate, breezy waltz is a good choice for sopranos since it features the upper register of a vocalist’s range. Full track and accompaniment-only audio available.

    Rounding out our vocal selections is Swinging My Life Away, a vocal version of Ray Bryant’s Tonk with a lyric by Tina May. It’s a fun, upbeat song that celebrates jazz, swing, and being yourself — a message we couldn’t agree with more! Full track and accompaniment-only audio available.

    A tip: if you’re printing from Adobe Acrobat, make sure you specify “none” for print scaling in the dialog. We’ve already made sure the margins are correct. If you let Acrobat print automatically, it might reduce the music a bit.

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