Blue Note 75th Anniversary

  • Hank Mobley in February

    We hear “Keep the Hank Mobley coming!” from jazzleadsheets customers. As we continue with our celebration of Blue Note Records 75th year, we find that February was a big month for Hank Mobley as a leader. We already have four titles available from Hank’s classic "Soul Station" album (recorded on February 7, 1960). Now we’ve added Third Time Around to the three already up from his February 5, 1965, “The Turnaround” session (also released on the “Straight No Filter” album and recorded again on the “A Caddy For Daddy” album). That composition was also recorded in December as a sextet, and both arrangements are available, plus drum transcriptions of Billy Higgins’ playing on both sessions.

    In addition to the two compositions we already have up from Hank’s "Peckin’ Time" album (February 9, 1958), we’re adding Stretchin’ Out and Git-Go Blues.

    There’s one more Hank Mobley February Blue Note leader session ("Third Season" - February 24, 1967) which has five more Mobley compositions. This was a septet session, with the melody sometimes moving from instrument to instrument. We’re putting out regular lead sheets, so anyone can play the whole melody. For now, we’ve selected Don’t Cry, Just Sigh and Boss Bossa from that session.

    Here’s an alphabetical list of Hank’s compositions that were recorded in the month of February and that are on
    Boss Bossa (new!)
    Dig Dis
    Don’t Cry, Just Sigh (new!)
    Git-Go Blues (new!)
    High And Flighty
    Pat ‘N Chat
    Peckin’ Time
    Soul Station
    Split Feelin’s
    Straight Ahead
    Stretchin’ Out (new!)
    Third Time Around (new!)
    This I Dig Of You
    The Turnaround

    We have more proof that jazz is alive and well: check out 15-year-old drummer/leader Julius Rodriguez and his quintet as they perform the Bobby Timmons hit, A LITTLE BUSY. This group is all high school students! These remarkable young men are on a very important mission — they’ve been selected as finalists in the Next Generation High School Open Combo Division contest. If they win, they’ll play at the Monterey Jazz Festival, but they need help to get there. Hear them talk about the great opportunity that awaits them and the music that inspires them.

  • Lots of news for the new year!

    Have you noticed all the latest developments on 2014 has barely begun, but it’s already proving to be a huge year for us! If you haven’t been on our site in a while, check it out — you’ll see some new categories, with even more exciting changes to come as the year goes on.

    At the beginning of this month, we celebrated the 75th anniversary of Blue Note Records’ first session with the releases of Melancholy and Solitude, both from that historic January 6, 1939 date. But our celebration of the long partnership between our composers and Blue Note Records is far from complete! We’re introducing our Blue Note collection. Now you can easily find all of the compositions that have been featured on Blue Note releases throughout the years. But even more good news — we’ll be adding to this collection every month to celebrate more anniversaries throughout the year!

    This release, we have several anniversaries to celebrate, which means of course another set of top quality lead sheets. January 19th saw the 46th anniversary of a great Hank Mobley session that culminated with the release of “Reach Out!” In honor of Hank (and all of his fans at, we’re commemorating this anniversary with Lookin’ East, a laid-back medium groove piece with a bit of Latin flavor. Second parts available.

    The next day, January 20th, marked the 52nd anniversary of a lesser-known release: saxophonist Ike Quebec’s “Easy Living,” featuring Congo Lament by Bennie Green. This composition also has a Latin influence — maybe a touch more than Lookin’ East — and features a nice bluesy lick for the melody. Second parts available.

    Just a few days later we celebrated the 64th anniversary of the recording of Kenny Drew’s Fuguetta (Jan. 23rd, 1950). Originally recorded by trumpeter Howard McGhee, Fuguetta is an unexpected combination of Baroque and bebop, which go together surprisingly well. Try it for yourself and see!

    With all that celebrating, we thought we’d add a couple of ballads to cool us off. First, we’re introducing J.J. Johnson to the family with his classic ballad Enigma. Many musicians are familiar with the way Miles Davis recorded it, but only at can you find the original leadsheet, drawn from J.J.’s own manuscript and notated the way he first heard it. We’re very excited to offer this exclusive look inside such a tender, lyrical ballad.

    Finally, a treat for vocalists and their accompanists: Rob Bargad’s Another World. This sensitive, dreamy 20-bar ballad comes complete with an accompaniment-only track so singers can practice along with a professional ensemble to back them up. After you hear Dena DeRose’s plaintive rendition of it, we’re sure you’ll want to try it yourself.

  • 51 Years Ago Today: "Midnight Blue"

    January 8, 1963: Kenny Burrell’s “Midnight Blue” album was recorded in Rudy Van Gelder’s Englewood Cliffs studio, featuring the title track which was an instant classic, Midnight Blue. Rudy says, “I built the studio for music like that, where people are comfortable playing and the music fits the space that they’re playing in.”

  • 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, 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 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.

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