I can’t believe I’ve posted 25 times and haven’t mentioned Joe Henderson. There’s not an album of his I don’t like, and his work as a sideman for Blue Note, Atlantic, CTI et al. is unparalleled. Whether I’m listening to his early quintet work, his 70s electric period, or his later return to swinging standards, Joe’s distinctive style shines through. This one is from his second album, recorded with veteran trumpeter Kenny Dorham and a cast of players just beginning their recording careers: Andrew Hill, Eddie Khan and Pete La Roca, who passed away just months ago.
Here’s a George Cables tune I like to play live.
This song is also an example of how misleading some fake books can be. The first time I heard the tune it was clear to me the head was in 4/4, but in my “JazzLTD” book it’s a daunting mess of time signatures. Just looking at it would probably put me off playing this lovely tune.
Of course my charts aren’t exact transcriptions, but my problem with most fake books is that they charge people money for lead sheets that are barely legible and full of obvious mistakes.
Here’s a basic sketch of Monty Alexander’s “Renewal”. True to its title, I don’t think he ever plays it the same way twice. I’ve heard about half a dozen versions of the tune in different styles and tempos. One of my favorites can be found on the album Threesome, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and Grady Tate. On that record they give the head a long rubato treatment before easing into a swinging reggae feel.
Yesterday I played a fun gig with some amazing South American musicians. Their compositions were challenging and energetic and I got a crash course in samba, baião, choro, joropo and a crazy partido alto in 15/4.
Here is a much simpler 3/4 samba by the great Brazilian bassist Nilson Matta. I transcribed this from Don Pullen’s Ode to Life album, recorded I believe as a tribute to his friend and frequent bandmate, saxophonist George Adams.