Hello, music fans. For this week’s jazzleadsheets.com releases, I decided it would be fun to compare compositions by two gifted pianist/composers from Second Floor Music. The compositions start out with some definite similarities, but develop very differently.
A Touching Affair by James Williams (first recorded in 1984)
Flamands by Don Friedman (first recorded in 1995)
—- melodic similarities
Both composers love the minor key, and they both started their compositions with a vamping piano/bass figure. Another striking similarity is the rhythmic shape and melodic contour of the opening phrase of each melody. This is where the similarity ends. Don’s opening G minor melodic phrase moves from the 5th up to the minor 7th then down to the 11th, while James’ opening F-sharp minor melodic phrase moves from the root up to the minor third then down to the minor 7th.
—- melodic phrase development
Don repeats the opening phrase melody, then keeps the melody almost intact, but in F minor. James develops his opening phrase over twelve measures.
Interestingly, Don’s melody was originally spread over twelve measures when he first recorded it on his “Almost Everything” session. On his “Straight Ahead” session it’s developed over sixteen measures.
You Never Leave My Mind by James Williams and Marc Ostrow
This is the lyric version of A Touching Affair. It’s in a different, female friendly key. In addition to the vocal lead sheet, an accompaniment-only track is available, complete with full chorus (long form) solo section.
Besides being a great composer and pianist, James Williams was also a champion for many other artists. He introduced me to Bobby Watson, Billy Pierce (and the other musicians on “Alter Ego”) and later, Donald Brown, Geoff Keezer and many other great artists.
Horizon Reassembled by Bobby Watson
The “Horizon Reassembled” CD reunites the exact same personnel that recorded together in 1991 and 1993. You can find more info about Horizon in the Historical Notes for this composition. Also, I want to mention that Second Floor Music has quite a few Bobby Watson “Horizon” combo arrangements available. Search by Recording Leader for "Bobby Watson & Horizon" on SecondFloorMusic.com. I’ve always loved Bobby’s music. He definitely has a strong compositional voice that is easy to recognize. Look for more of his compositions on jazzleadsheets.com soon.
Sunset by Kenny Drew
Kenny Drew is probably most known as one of the great rhythm section pianists. It’s hard to find artists that he didn’t record with. He’s also a gifted composer, and we’re introducing him on jazzleadsheets.com with one of his beautiful ballads. Kenny Drew is also the father of another exceptional pianist/composer, Kenny Drew, Jr., who is already represented in jazzleadsheets.com. Obviously, two Kenny Drew’s can be confusing, but we’ll try to make that confusion worthwhile as we bring you more of their great music.
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