Jazz sheet music collection added to Jazz Room at downtown West Florida Public Library

A collection of approximately 9,000 jazz tunes has been added to the Jazz Room at the main branch of the West Florida Public Library. The Charles Anderson Fakebook series has jazz tunes, some of which have never before been printed as sheet music. Mr. Anderson, a retired musician himself started this as a service to jazz musicians searching for jazz tunes, some popular and some obscure. Some of the tunes had to be transcribed from the recordings, having never been in print form.

A fakebook is a lead sheet of music showing only the melody and accompanying chord symbols. So the performer playing rhythm instrument, such as piano or guitar, can improvise using the chord symbols for a pattern. Hence the term, “faking,” since the performer might not play the accompaniment exactly as written on the sheet music.

Norman Vickers, a member of the Jazz Society of Pensacola, visited Anderson at his home in the 1990s. Anderson said he had done this as a service to jazz musicians, especially ones interested in early jazz, who were searching for tunes, some of which were obscure. He related that his network of friends would send him tunes as they uncovered them. He would pay a person to transcribe the music—just the melody line—and then add the chord symbols. When he got enough sheets, he would assemble these in a loose-leaf binder for sale. The approximately 9,000 jazz tunes, and accompanying lyrics if there were any, were assembled in 17 volumes.

Charles Anderson has subsequently died and, since the major task of assembling these early jazz tunes is essentially complete, there is no great need to continue the effort. However, the volumes are still for sale, having been passed on to Jim Jones, a concert banjoist in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. Additional information can be found at www.andersonfakeook.com.

Todd J. Humble, director of West Florida Public Libraries, said, “We are pleased to have the Anderson series for the Jazz Room. We have searched availability through public library systems and found that the nearest library having such a service is in Chicago.”

The Jazz Room is located on the second floor of the main branch of the West Florida Library at 239 N. Spring Street in downtown Pensacola. It is supported by contributions of the Jazz Society of Pensacola and Friends of the West Florida Public Library. The collection of jazz books, CDs and DVDs is currently valued at approximately $19,000.

CD Review: Sunday Night at the Vanguard, The Fred Hersch Trio

The Fred Hersch Trio;
Sunday Night at the Vanguard
Palmetto Records © 20126

This live recording was made at the famed Village Vanguard. Hersh plays piano accompanied by bassist John Hebert and drummer Eric McPherson. Of the ten selections on this album, five are originals. The technical aspects of the recording are excellent. Although this was recorded live, there is no extraneous sound and, listening without this information, one would assume it’s a studio recording.

Of the other five compositions, the group plays a lesser-known Richard Rodgers tune, A Cockeyed Optimist, Kenny Wheeler’s Everybody’s Song but My Own, Paul McCartney’s For No One, Thelonious Monk’s We See, and Jimmy Rowles’ The Peacocks.

Let me acknowledge that I am a great admirer of Fred Hersch. His 1993 CD on Angel label Red Square Blue; Jazz Impressions of Russian Masters is one of my all-time favorites. I had opportunity to hear him in person in Atlanta in the early ‘90s during a convention of the International Association of Jazz Educators. His slot on that varied program was mid-morning. I was surprised to see how many world-famous musicians, most of whom were scheduled to perform during the convention, were up that time of day to hear him.

Accompanying information with the CD for review indicated that Rowles had given a hand-written copy of The Peacocks directly to Hersch. My LP of Rowles’ performance of that tune has been played many times over. Rowles rendition is just shy of four minutes. Hersch’s interpretation of that tune is ten minutes, fifteen seconds.

One draw-back, at least for me, was the absence of liner notes. But the recording speaks for itself. I heard musical lines suggestive of Satie and Bartok. Recommended for the serious listener.

This CD will be deposited at the Jazz Society’s collection in the Jazz Room at the downtown West Florida Public Library and be available for check-out by library patrons. The collection contains other CDs by Hersch as well as his DVD entitled Coma Dreams.