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Top 25 icons in Jazz history

Sidney Bechet – The Top 25 icons in Jazz history

Sidney Bechet – The Top 25 pearls in Jazz history

The other great soloist in early jazz was soprano saxophonist and clarinettist Sidney Bechet. He was a different sort of virtuoso from Louis, and as well as spontaneous creation he composed setpiece solos that would dazzle his audiences with virtuosity. His remarkable playing on this chamber jazz record is a perfect example of his seamless integration of improvisation and forward planning.

Clarinetist Sidney Bechet (1897) was the musician who tamed the soprano saxophone for jazz music. His style at both instruments indulged in a heavy vibrato sound. His saxophone style was exuberant, eloquent and even torrential. After performing in Will-Marion Cook’s orchestra during its legendary European tour of 1919, cutting a handful of tracks in 1923-24, recording with Louis Armstrong and Alberta Hunter in the Red Onion Jazz Babies (1924), and accompanying Josephine Baker in Paris (1925), Bechet recorded sparely, although his style was reaching maturity, as proven by his Lay Your Racket (september 1932) and I Want You Tonight (same session), and especially by Joe Jordan’s Shag (same session), that features his most momentous playing (all of them with the seven-piece New Orleans Feetwarmers). In november 1938 his career was reborn thanks to his Chant In The Night and What A Dream (recorded by an “orchestra” of soprano sax, baritone sax, piano, guitar, drums, bass). He pioneered overdubbing when he played six instruments (clarinet, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, piano, bass, drums) on Sheik of Araby (april 1941).

Sidney Bechet was a unique figure in jazz history. A masterful soprano-saxophonist and clarinetist, he recorded the first significant jazz solos (other than pianists). Bechet, whose fiery personality was sometimes a liability, was a dominant player who preferred that the trumpeter in his bands state a simple melodic lead so he could create virtuosic counter-melodies around him.

If the trumpeter failed in the task or tried to challenge him, Bechet could easily wipe him out with his powerful tone which had a wide but perfectly-controlled vibrato. He was not going to play second fiddle to a mere trumpeter! All of the musicians in his groups ended up being in the supporting cast anyway, supporting the brilliant Bechet.

Sidney Bechet (1897-1959)

Sidney Bechet was a child prodigy in New Orleans. He was such good clarinet player that, in his youth he was featured by some of the top bands in the city.

Bechet’s style of playing clarinet and soprano sax dominated many of the bands that he was in. He played lead parts that were usually reserved for trumpets and was a master of improvisation.

In 1917 he moved to Chicago. In 1919 he was playing with Will Marion Cook’s Syncopated Orchestra and with Louis Mitchell’s Jazz Kings in Europe. While overseas he bought a soprano sax and from then on it was his main instrument.

Sidney Bechet and his Creole Orchestra
Sidney Bechet on clarinet, Hamp Benson, on trombone, Wellman Braud, on bass, others unknown.

Back in the U.S. Bechet made his recording debut in 1923 with Clarence Williams and during the next two years he appeared on several of Williams’ records backing up blues singers and on a classic session with the Clarence Williams Blue Five, featuring Louis Armstrong whom he knew as a child in New Orleans. He played in an early version of Duke Ellington’sWashingtonians but unfortunately never recorded with them.

From 1925 to 1929 Bechet lived and played in Europe, playing in England, France, Germany and Russia. While living in Paris, Bechet got into a dispute with another musician and a gun fight broke out. Three people were wounded and Sidney spent a year in a French jail as a result of the fracas.

He was deported upon release from prison and went to Berlin, Germany. He could not stay in France and he would not get a visa for England so he stayed in Berlin till 1931 then joined the Noble Sissle Orchestra and returned to America. Bechet managed to keep playing during the Thirties, but he also ran an unsuccessful tailor’s shop with Tommy Ladnier and made some memorable recordings with the trumpeter under the name of the New Orleans Feetwarmers.

In 1938 he had a hit record of “Summertime“. In the Forties Bechet worked regularly in New York with Eddie Condon and tried to start a band with Bunk Johnson. Bechet was a popular figure of the Dixieland revival of the late Forties often recording with Mezz Mezzrow.

Bunk Johnson and Sidney Bechet
Bunk Johnson and Sidney Bechet during the revival.

Bechet returned to France in 1952 and was warmly received there. While in France he recorded hit records that rivaled the sales of pop stars. Bechet was one of the great soloists of early Jazz. He lived a very rich life, always managing to “make the scene” where it was “happening”, whether it be in New Orleans, Chicago, New York, Berlin or Paris.

In France during most of his final decade, Bechet performed the New Orleans jazz standards, Dixieland tunes and ballads that he most enjoyed. He never lost his enthusiasm for the music or his ability to come up with creative and surprising ideas.

Still very much in his musical prime, he used young French players (often from either clarinetist Andre Reweliotty or Claude Luter’s band) who were in awe of him and did not mind him completely dominating the music. While he mostly performed on the European continent, there were occasional reunions with touring Americans (including a very exciting session with trumpeter Jonah Jones) and Bechet made a few visits to the U.S. until 1953.

Recording mostly for Vogue during his last period, he had hit records with “Les Oignons” and “Petite Fleur,” and showed on a quartet project in 1957 with modern jazz pianist Martial Solal that he was quite capable of playing sophisticated tunes. He appeared in several French movies and, despite not knowing how to read music, composed a classical ballet (La Nuit est sorciere). In 1958 he completed his memorable and poetic autobiography Treat It Gentle.

Bechet’s last hurrah was at the Brussels World’s Fair in 1958 where he led an American group featuring Buck Clayton and Vic Dickenson. Soon afterwards, he was stricken with lung cancer. His final recordings (from Dec. 12, 1958) are of spirited versions of four Christmas-related songs and a remake of “Les Oignons.” He passed away on his 62nd birthday, May 14, 1959.

Sidney Bechet was such a dominant force on the soprano-sax that for many years hardly anyone else in jazz played that instrument. He ranks with Louis Armstrong as the most technically skilled and gifted of all New Orleans musicians.

He died on May 14, 1959 (aged 62) in Garches, France.

The Best of Sidney Bechet

Tracklist:

00:00:00​ – Petite Fleur 00:03:13​ – Si tu vois ma mère 00:06:28​ – Les oignons 00:09:11​ – Dans les rues d’Antibes 00:12:39​ – Le marchand de poissons 00:15:25​ – Summertime 00:18:36​ – Shake It and Break It 00:21:31​ – Lazy River 00:25:46​ – Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me 00:31:28​ – Blues in Paris 00:34:49​ – Blue Horizon 00:39:10​ – All of Me 00:43:16​ – Mon homme 00:46:19​ – There’ll Be Some Changes Made 00:50:17​ – St. Louis Blues

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Jazz & Blues Music

“Misty” Jazz standard (piano solo)

“Misty” Jazz standard (piano solo) with sheet music to download.

misty free sheet music pdf

“Misty” is a jazz standard written in 1954 by pianist Erroll Garner. He composed it as an instrumental on the traditional 32-bar format and recorded it for the album Contrasts (1955). Lyrics were added later by Johnny Burke. It became the signature song of Johnny Mathis, appearing on his 1959 album Heavenly and reaching number 12 on the U.S. Pop Singles chart later that year. The song has been recorded many times, including versions by Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and, most recently, by alternative rock band Qui.

SHEET MUSIC LYRICS:

Look at me
I’m as helpless as a kitten up a tree
And I feel like I’m clingin’ to a cloud
I can’t understand
I get misty, just holding your handWalk my way
And a thousand violins begin to play
Or it might be the sound of your hello
That music I hear
I get misty whenever you’re nearDon’t you know that you’re leading me on?
And it’s just what I want you to do
Can’t you see that I’m hopelessly lost?
That’s why I’m following youOn…

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LIVE Music Concerts Jazz & Blues Music

Amazing: Erroll Garner live 63′ & 64′

Erroll Garner live sheet music download from our LIBRARY.

Erroll Garner live 63' & 64' free sheet music pdf

Erroll Louis Garner (June 15, 1921 – January 2, 1977) was an American jazz pianist and composer known for his swing playing and ballads. His best-known composition, the ballad “Misty”, has become a jazz standard. Scott Yanow of Allmusic calls him “one of the most distinctive of all pianists” and a “brilliant virtuoso.” He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6363 Hollywood Blvd. His live album, Concert by the Sea, first released in 1955, sold over a million copies by 1958 and Scott Yanow’s opinion is: “this is the album that made such a strong impression that Garner was considered immortal from then on.”

Garner was born with his twin brother Ernest in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on June 15, 1921, the youngest of six children in an African-American family. He attended George Westinghouse High School (as did fellow pianists Billy Strayhorn and Ahmad Jamal). Interviews with his family and music teachers (and with other musicians), plus a detailed family tree are given in Erroll Garner: The Most Happy Piano by James M Doran.

Garner began playing piano at the age of three. His elder siblings were taught piano by Miss Bowman. From an early age, Erroll would sit down and play anything she had demonstrated, just like Miss Bowman, his eldest sister Martha said.[ Garner was self-taught and remained an “ear player” all his life, never learning to read music. At age seven, he began appearing on the radio station KDKA in Pittsburgh with a group called the Candy Kids. By age 11, he was playing on the Allegheny riverboats. In 1937 he joined local saxophonist Leroy Brown.

free sheet music & scores pdf Erroll Garner live 63' & 64'

He played locally in the shadow of his older pianist brother Linton Garner.

Garner moved to New York City in 1944. He briefly worked with the bassist Slam Stewart, and though not a bebop musician per se, in 1947 played with Charlie Parker on the “Cool Blues” session. Although his admission to the Pittsburgh music union was initially refused because of his inability to read music, it relented in 1956 and made him an honorary member.[3] Garner is credited with a superb musical memory. After attending a concert by the Russian classical pianist Emil Gilels, Garner returned to his apartment and was able to play a large portion of the performed music by recall.

Garner made many tours both at home and abroad, and regularly recorded. He was, reportedly, The Tonight Show host Johnny Carson’s favorite jazz musician, appearing on Carson’s show many times over the years.

Garner died of cardiac arrest related to emphysema on January 2, 1977. He is buried in Pittsburgh’s Homewood Cemetery

free sheet music & scores pdf Erroll Garner live 63' & 64'

Short in stature (5 feet 2 inches [157 cm]), Garner performed sitting on multiple telephone directories. He was also known for his vocalizations while playing, which can be heard on many of his recordings. He helped to bridge the gap for jazz musicians between nightclubs and the concert hall.

Called “one of the most distinctive of all pianists” by Scott Yanow, Garner showed that a “creative jazz musician can be very popular without watering down his music” or changing his personal style. He has been described as a “brilliant virtuoso who sounded unlike anyone else”, using an “orchestral approach straight from the swing era but … open to the innovations of bop.” His distinctive style could swing like no other, but some of his best recordings are ballads, such as his best-known composition, “Misty”, which rapidly became a jazz standard – and was featured in Clint Eastwood’s film Play Misty for Me (1971).

Garner may have been inspired by the example of Earl Hines, a fellow Pittsburgh resident but 18 years his senior, and there were resemblances in their elastic approach to timing and use of right-hand octaves. Garner’s early recordings also display the influence of the stride piano style of James P. Johnson and Fats Waller. He developed a signature style that involved his right hand playing behind the beat while his left strummed a steady rhythm and punctuation, creating insouciance and tension. The independence of his hands also was evidenced by his masterful use of three-against-four and more complicated cross-rhythms between the hands. Garner would also improvise whimsical introductions—often in stark contrast to the rest of the tune—that left listeners in suspense as to what the piece would be. His melodic improvisations generally stayed close to the theme while employing novel chord voicings.

Pianist Ross Tompkins described Garner’s distinctiveness as due to ‘happiness’.

Garner’s first recordings were made in late 1944 at the apartment of Timme Rosenkrantz; these were subsequently issued as the five-volume Overture to Dawn series on Blue Note Records. His recording career advanced in the late 1940s when several sides such as “Fine and Dandy”, “Skylark” and “Summertime” were cut. His 1955 live album Concert by the Sea was a best-selling jazz album in its day and features Eddie Calhoun on bass and Denzil Best on drums. This recording of a performance at the Sunset Center, a former school in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, was made using relatively primitive sound equipment, but for George Avakian the decision to release the recording was easy.

In 1954 Garner composed “Misty”, first recording it in 1955 for the album Contrasts. Lyrics were later added by Johnny Burke. “Misty” rapidly became popular, both as a jazz standard and as the signature song of Johnny Mathis. It was also recorded by Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Ray Stevens and Aretha Franklin. Clint Eastwood used it as the basis for his thriller Play Misty For Me.

One World Concert was recorded at the 1962 Seattle World Fair (and in 1959 stretching out in the studios) and features Eddie Calhoun on bass and Kelly Martin on drums. Other works include 1951’s Long Ago and Far Away, 1953’s Erroll Garner at the Piano with Wyatt Ruther and Fats Heard, 1957’s The Most Happy Piano, 1970’s Feeling Is Believing and 1974’s Magician, on which Garner performs a number of classic standards. Often the trio was expanded to add Latin percussion, usually a conga.

In 1964, Garner appeared in the UK on the music series Jazz 625 broadcast on the BBC’s new second channel. The programme was hosted by Steve Race, who introduced Garner’s trio with Eddie Calhoun on bass and Kelly Martin on drums.

Because Garner could not write down his musical ideas, he used to record them on tape, to be later transcribed by others.

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Chet Baker and Bill Evans “How high the Moon” (track nr. 2)

The Complete Legendary Sessions

Chet Baker and Bill Evans – “How high the Moon” with sheet music download

free sheet music & scores pdf Chet Baker and Bill Evans - "How high the Moon"

Lyrics

Somewhere there’s music
How faint the tune
Somewhere there’s heaven
How high the moon
There is no moon above
Love is far away too
‘Til it comes true
That you love me as I love youSomewhere there’s music
How near, how far
Somewhere there’s heaven
It’s where you are
The darkest night would shine
If you would come to me soon
Until you will, how still my heart
How high the moonAah-aah-aah-aah-aah-aah-aah-aah-aahSomewhere there’s music
How faint the tune
Somewhere there’s heaven
How high the moon
The darkest night would shine
If you would come to me soon
Until you will, how still my heart
How high the moon

How High the Moon” is a jazz standard with lyrics by Nancy Hamilton and music by Morgan Lewis. It was first featured in the 1940 Broadway revue Two for the Show, where it was sung by Alfred Drake and Frances Comstock. In Two for the Show, this was a rare serious moment in an otherwise humorous revue.

Chet Baker & Bill Evans: a short Biography

Never have two musicians seemed so alike in temperament yet differed so much in their approach to making music as Chet Baker and Bill Evans. While both were peerless masters of their instruments and shared a rich, evocatively lyrical playing style that bordered beguilingly on the introspective, Baker and Evans were polar opposites when it came to the discipline of performance.

Though both were heroin addicts, the musically-trained Evans never let it interfere with his meticulously precise flights of invention while the self-taught Baker became increasingly erratic and inconsistent. They ventured into a recording studio together on just three occasions, with largely disappointing results, their potentially combustible collaboration failing to ignite and all too frequently sounding workmanlike and uninspiring.

The Complete Legendary Sessions corrals the 15 tracks that resulted from those sessions – previously issued on two 1959 albums: Chet, and Chet Baker Plays the Best of Lerner and Loewe – together for the first time, with a vocals-free Baker concentrating on his horn playing.

Occupying the first 10 tracks (absent from the LP release, Early Morning Mood appears here as a welcome bookend) Chet turns in satisfyingly laidback but unexciting performances. Sparks of energy are provided by Herbie Mann’s flute, the baritone sax of Pepper Adams, Connie Kay and Philly Joe Jones on percussion, guitarist Kenny Burrell and bass man Paul Chambers, who all go about their business with a winningly insouciant confidence.

Album opener Alone Together continues to cast a shimmering, dark-hued spell half a century later, Baker breathing long, lingering, hypnotic lines that flex and flow with understated panache. The prevailing mood is melancholic and down-tempo, with the virtually somnambulant Baker and overly cautious Evans remaining curiously semi-detached from each other throughout.

The Lerner and Loewe material offers livelier fare, but Baker remains strangely subdued and understatement continues to be Evans’s default even in the love-lit delirium of I Could Have Danced All Night. A bonus cover of Almost Like Being in Love sways rather than swings, with Bob Corwin stepping in for Evans.

As a glimpse of what might have been had these two been on form, this tantalises and frustrates in equal measure.

Songs based on “How High the Moon”

Another jazz standard, “Ornithology” by Charlie Parker, is based on the chords of “How High the Moon”. It was common among jazz musicians (Ella Fitzgerald, Lionel Hampton and others) to seamlessly include “Ornithology” in the solo when performing “How High the Moon”. Lennie Tristano wrote the contrafact “Lennie-bird” over the chord changes, and Miles Davis/Chuck Wayne‘s “Solar” is also based on part of the chord structure. Coleman Hawkins’ tune “Bean At Met” is also based on the changes of How High The Moon; this tune starts with simple riffs on the measures 1 to 8 and 17 to 24. The rest is filled up with solos.

John Coltrane‘s composition “Satellite” is also based on the chords of “How High the Moon”, which Coltrane embellished with the three-tonic progression he also used on his composition “Giant Steps“.

Jimmy Giuffre‘s composition “Bright Moon” is also based on the chords of “How High the Moon”. Quincy Jones recorded it in 1957 on his second album, Go West, Man!

The Complete Legendary Sessions (Chet Baker & Bill Evans)

Never have two musicians seemed so alike in temperament yet differed so much in their approach to making music as Chet Baker and Bill Evans. While both were peerless masters of their instruments and shared a rich, evocatively lyrical playing style that bordered beguilingly on the introspective, Baker and Evans were polar opposites when it came to the discipline of performance.


Though both were heroin addicts, the musically-trained Evans never let it interfere with his meticulously precise flights of invention while the self-taught Baker became increasingly erratic and inconsistent. They ventured into a recording studio together on just three occasions, with largely disappointing results, their potentially combustible collaboration failing to ignite and all too frequently sounding workmanlike and uninspiring.

The Complete Legendary Sessions corrals the 15 tracks that resulted from those sessions – previously issued on two 1959 albums: Chet, and Chet Baker Plays the Best of Lerner and Loewe – together for the first time, with a vocals-free Baker concentrating on his horn playing.


Occupying the first 10 tracks (absent from the LP release, Early Morning Mood appears here as a welcome bookend) Chet turns in satisfyingly laidback but unexciting performances. Sparks of energy are provided by Herbie Mann’s flute, the baritone sax of Pepper Adams, Connie Kay and Philly Joe Jones on percussion, guitarist Kenny Burrell and bass man Paul Chambers, who all go about their business with a winningly insouciant confidence.


Album opener Alone Together continues to cast a shimmering, dark-hued spell half a century later, Baker breathing long, lingering, hypnotic lines that flex and flow with understated panache. The prevailing mood is melancholic and down-tempo, with the virtually somnambulant Baker and overly cautious Evans remaining curiously semi-detached from each other throughout.


The Lerner and Loewe material offers livelier fare, but Baker remains strangely subdued and understatement continues to be Evans’s default even in the love-lit delirium of I Could Have Danced All Night. A bonus cover of Almost Like Being in Love sways rather than swings, with Bob Corwin stepping in for Evans.


As a glimpse of what might have been had these two been on form, this tantalises and frustrates in equal measure. Version 1, edited by VaMpkt on 8 April 2011, 1:24pm · View version history

bill evans sheet music
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Jazz & Blues Music

Dave Brubeck – Bossa Nova USA – 1963 – Full Album

Dave Brubeck – Bossa Nova USA – 1963 – Full Album (sheet music to download from our Library)

dave brubeck free sheet music & scores pdf

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Ahmad Jamal – Poinciana – Olympia Paris – LIVE (sheet music download)

Regarded as an outstanding conceptionalist with a distinctive style, pianist and composer Ahmad Jamal has made a significant impact on the jazz idiom. His lean style, complex use of space, and simple embellishments have served as a model for many other artists, most notably Miles Davis.“I live until he makes another record,” the legendary trumpeter once said of Jamal, as quoted by Down Beats Owen Cordle.

But despite his impact on jazz, Jamal feels uncomfortable with the label“jazz musician.” Instead, he prefers to call himself an “American classical” musician.“I started the phrase ’American classical music, ’” he said to American Visions contributor Eugene Holley.“The term ‘jazz’ is certainly not sufficient; it was used to try and downgrade the music, but the music was so viable and it was so potent, nothing could keep it down.”

Over the course of his professional career, Jamal, who converted to Islam in 1950, led several trios and made some 50 recordings, including the 1958 landmark album Ahmad Jamal at the Pershing. His ensemble peaked in popularity during the 1950s and 1960s, when he performed mostly jazz standards. Since the 1980s, Jamal has focused his attention on his own compositions. While less accepted later in his career by the mainstream, Jamal continued to draw critical accolades.

In recognition of his achievements, he received a $20,000 Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1994. That same year, Yale University named Jamal a Duke Ellington Fellow. In 1996, for his album The Essence Part 1, Jamal won the prestigious Django d’Or award in France. His follow-up projects,The Essence Part 2 and The Essence Part 3, released in 1997 and 1998, respectively, further illustrated Jamal’s ever-evolving musicianship.

sheet music pdf Ahmad Jamal - Poinciana - Olympia Paris - LIVE

Jamal was born Frederick Russell Jones on July 2, 1930, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a city that also produced such jazz talent as Kenny Clarke, Mary Lou Williams, Erroll Garner, and Art Blakey. A child prodigy, Jamal immersed himself in European classical music early in life. At the age of three, he started playing the piano, and at age seven, Jamal’s mother arranged for her son to take formal lessons. A domestic, she walked to work in order to save enough money to pay for Jamal’s training.

By the age of eleven, the pianist was already skilled enough to begin playing professionally at a local club.“I can’t remember the place,” he said in an interview with Boston Globe staff writer Marian Christy.“I only remember that people threw loads of money on the bandstand. Maybe it was only a few dollars total. But it sure seemed like a lot of money then.”

free sheet music & pdf scores download

In high school, Jamal further pursued classical studies with noted concert singer Mary Caldwell and pianist James Miller, completing with his instructors the equivalent of college graduate classes. To this day, Jamal’s classical background remains influential.“There are very few people playing European classical music that also know Art Tatum and Duke Ellington,” said Jamal to Holley.“However, it’s not the same position with the so-called jazz musician, who has to be twice as good as the so-called classical musician and know both worlds in order to get work.”

During his teen years, Jamal also explored his growing interest in jazz and was greatly inspired by Art Tatum, Teddy Williams, and, especially, a local bebop pianist named Erroll Garner.“Erroll was my major inspiration, not one, my major inspiration,” he said, as quoted by Greg Fitzgerald for Nation Public Radio’s Jazz Profiles. In fact, critics would later compare Jamal’s technique to that of Garner, though many cite Jamal as a more intricate player. Because he used the full range of the keyboard in a more simple manner, Jamal was later able to present his trio as a scaled down orchestra of sorts.

Download Ahmad Jamal’s sheet music transcriptions in our Library

At age 14, Jamal joined the musicians union. Upon graduating from Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh in 1948, he joined the George Hudson Orchestra in Atlantic City and embarked on a national tour. Winning significant critical acclaim for his solos, Jamal nonetheless learned a certain truth about playing before an audience. As he commented to Christy,“Performing is like being the matador in the bullring. You have to be constantly concerned about what you’re doing or you get gored.”