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.

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