Bill Hardman

  • Get low with these bass features

    The bass player is very important in all these new compositions, so they also add to our growing Bass Corner repertoire.

    Both Bass-ment by Kenny Drew and The Fuzz by Bobby Jaspar feature the bass playing the melody. Important bass lines that hold the whole arrangement together are found in Bill Hardman’s Jazz Messengers classic Politely and Bobby Watson’s Lemoncello.

    Bertha Hope’s Book’s Bok starts with the bass doubling the melody with the piano, and then moves into an important rhythmic accompaniment line. Bertha’s solo piano arrangement is available, as is a recording of it by pianist Glenn Zaleski.

    Drummer Billy Drummonds opening 7/4 bass line had been going over in his head for quite some time before the rest of his composition Dubai came to him. As Billy is one of the gifted drummers who is included in our Drum Corner, we explore both a transcription of his playing behind the melody sections and his soloing over the ending bass line vamp. We also have some 7/4 exercises and groove patterns available.

    Check out this video of Billy talking about and playing Dubai! Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more exclusive interviews of composers sharing their perspectives as well as tutorials and performances.

  • pre-Thanksgiving additions

    The Breakdown - Hank Mobley
    Last Saturday (November 13), I was trying to decide what to put on next. We have so many great Hank Mobley titles to choose from. Then I realized it was the 50th anniversary of Hank’s “Roll Call” album (recorded November 13, 1960), so it was easy for me to pick “The Breakdown” (lead sheets and Hank’s transcribed tenor solo are available). Previously we posted “My Groove, Your Move” from this same album. Second Floor Music has printed charts of “Roll Call” (quintet) and “Take Your Pick” (octet) available on Music Dispatch. Now there’s only one title left from this classic album: Hank’s original “The Baptist Beat.” Coming soon.

    Cranky Spanky - Bill Hardman
    I get many requests for more Jazz Messengers arrangements. This group, with the front line of Bill Hardman (trumpet) and Jackie McLean (alto sax), was the first band known as “Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers.” Before this recording (December, 1956), “The Jazz Messengers” was a co-operative group, with a trumpet and tenor sax front line.

    The Dream Is You - Tadd Dameron
    This is our first Tadd Dameron lead sheet, but there’ll be more. Melodies are very important—I feel everyone should learn the melody, first. That’s the main goal of, to make available correct melodies and chord changes to great jazz compositions. Dameron’s compositions are often recorded in beautifully orchestrated formats, like this medium slow swing gem: perfect to play along with. When learning a new song, I always recommend to start by playing along with the recording. I’m a trumpet player, and, once again, I’ve just enjoyed playing “The Dream Is You” with Tadd’s beautiful arrangement for Milt Jackson.

    Bobbie Pin - J.R. Monterose
    J.R.’s lovely ballad Alone Again has been available on as a vocal leadsheet. If you’re not familiar with J.R Monterose, this new addition, from his first album as a leader, is a great introduction. We’ll be making more of J.R.’s compositions available soon, plus other compositions on this album, like Philly Joe Jones’ original “Ka-Link.”
    Philly Joe was the first one who told me about J.R. In fact, it makes for a pretty unbelievable story. I was in the dressing room with Philly Joe on one of his gigs many years ago. I don’t remember the exact conversation, but Joe started talking about J.R (I think it probably had something to do with “Ka-link”). Anyway, I told Joe that I didn’t know much about J.R., so he went into great and fascinating detail, telling me about this fantastic musician that he’d been involved with. After ranting and raving about J.R. for quite some time, just before Philly Joe was ready to go back to the bandstand, there was a knock on the dressing room door. The door opened to reveal J.R., whom Philly Joe hadn’t seen in years. I remember Joe astonishing J.R. by saying something like: "J.R.! We were just talking about you! Say hello to Don Sickler. You’ll want to talk at length with him." That started my personal, and beautiful, relationship with J.R.

    Minor Bertha - Elmo Hope
    Again, I have Philly Joe Jones to thank for my in-depth discovery of Elmo Hope. Philly Joe (like Thelonious Monk) thought Elmo was one of the great composers. After discussing and playing for me many of Elmo’s recordings, Joe told me that I should talk to Elmo’s widow, Bertha Hope. He said Bertha was also a great pianist and really knew Elmo’s music. So that’s what I did, and Bertha and I have been cataloging and notating Elmo’s music for years.
    Elmo dedicated quite a few of his compositions to Bertha. When Bertha and I played “Minor Bertha” together at the Jazz Standard, I kidded her about how Elmo really captured some of her complex personality in that composition.

    Play the music!
    Don Sickler

  • Two new composers this week

    Pianist Kenny Drew, Jr., an inventive virtuoso with a modern sound and style, joins the site with Third Phase, and trumpeter Bill Hardman, one of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in the 1950s and ’60s, offers a groovy Latin piece, Jo-B.

    Two more great Ronnie Mathews titles from his Doin’ The Thang recording, Orient and Let's Get Down.

    Another addition in our two versions series (like Filide last week): Capers, a Tom McIntosh composition with two versions, recorded by two different trumpet players in the same year. Bill Hardman with Sonny Red on alto sax recorded it first, then Blue Mitchell with Junior Cook on tenor.

3 Items

  1. 1