Friday, April 22, 2016

Major new book published "The Digital Standards Songbook"!

About a year and a half ago, the opportunity was given to Sher Music Co. to publish, in digital form only, a book of standards tunes by all the great Tin Pan Alley composers. So we jumped at the chance and our latest labor of love is finally out and in the world with all its fingers and toes. The book features 176 tunes (by Gershwin, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, Rodgers & Hart, etc.) in the following formats:
- Single-song downloads in any key (for vocalists)
- Also for vocalists, High Voice and Low Voice complete books
- For instrumentalists, the complete 354-page book comes in C, Bb and Eb editions.

These charts were originally in The Standards Real Book and also The New Real Book, Vol.1-3, so they have Sher Music's gold standard quality on every page. All tunes include the lyric and also the introductory verses, whenever they exist. The initial feedback from vocalists has been overwhelmingly positive, for which we are very grateful. But don't take my word for it, go see for yourself at

I can't let this opportunity go by without thanking some of the main people who were instrumental in making this a dream a reality---James Grupenhoff, Matt Smith, John Hinchey, Larry Dunlap, Tim Allwein, Ron Bilodeau, Linda McLaughlin, and first and foremost, my webmaster Bob Afifi, who gets the award for MVP here at Sher Music Co. this year, as he has for many years now. Thanks one and all!! - Chuck

Saturday, January 23, 2016

New Sher Music books for 2016

We're very happy to add four new books to our catalog as of the beginning of this year.
In no particular order, they are:

a) "Wisdom of the Hand: A Guide to the Jazz Pentatonic Scales" by Seattle pianist, educator and composer, Marius "Butch" Nordal. This is, dare I say, a revolutionary approach to fingering the pentatonic scales on piano. The wider intervals of the pentatonic and blues scales calls for a different approach than the traditional, Western "thumb under"  approach. This book opens up a new and better approach to this condundrum all pianists face. But don't take my word for it - check out the sample pages at and see for yourself.

b) Also for pianists is Jeb Patton second book for Sher Music, "An Approach to Comping, Vol.2: Advanced Concepts and Techniques." Endorsed by Kenny Barron, David Hazeltine, Harold Mabern, etc., Jeb's second book is a masterful and thorough look at the comping of Bud Powell, Bill Evans, Hank Jones, Barry Harris, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner and others. As a bassist, I know that the pianist's comping is one of the most crucial elements in creating forward motion in a band and Jeb's books are the definitive word on the subject. Webpage is

c) "Rhythm First!: A Beginner's Guide to Jazz Improvisation" by Tom Kamp is designed for K-12 music students and their teachers. His basic stance is that kids can easily be turned off to music by having to learn and practice a bunch of scales and chords before they can even start to make music. But in this book, Tom has them enjoying the feeling of playing jazz right away by getting them to play rhythms first, before concerning them selves with note choices. "Rhythm First!" then provides a systematic way to learn all the basic rhythmic figures they are likely to need for years, while slowly introducing the notes of the Blues Scale. This is also a revolutionary and long-overdue approach to teaching jazz that we hope will be widely utilized by elementary, middle school and high school teachers. Sample pages and the Table of Contents can be found at

d) Lastly, Randy Vincent has turned his last guitar book ("The Cellular Approach") into a method book for any instrument, entitled "Building Solo Lines from Cells." This book came into being because Jamey Aebersold found himself practicing out of "The Cellular Approach" one day soon after its release last year and wrote us the following: "This book is good for ALL instruments. The patterns and exercises are excellent! There is much food for thought in here." So, of course, we decided that Jamey had a point and that was the genesis of "Building Solo Lines from Cells." Again, take a look at and see for yourself.

 Also, stay tuned for two unique books for drummers (by George Marsh) and percussionists (by Michael Spiro) that we will release in March of this year (I hope!), as well as a "Digital Standards Songbook," featuring 170+ individual songs, downloadable in any key, from the best of Cole Porter, Gershwin, Rodgers & Hart, Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer, Henry Mancini, etc. etc. All are pristine Sher Music lead sheets---the gold standard in jazz charts. Thanks for supporting our labors of love, and keep swinging! - Chuck Sher

Monday, September 28, 2015

Mark Levine's "Jazz Theory Book" now available in Spanish

Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" has been translated into 7 or 8 languages besides English (those editions are published by overseas publishers), but we are happy to now offer it in Spanish right on our own website at So if you or someone you know would find this a valuable resource, please do spread the word. Thanks for being a supporter of our world-class books! Much appreciated! - Chuck Sher

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Chuck Sher's "Poetry+Jazz: A Magical Marriage" audiobook CD released!

I've been a jazz musician and jazz book publisher most of my adult life, and about two years ago I also started writing poems. Then one day some real magic happened - I started reading something I'd written along with a jazz recording that had a similar emotional tone. And, seemingly all by itself, the music started wrapping itself around the words, as if it had been created specifically for that purpose, sometimes changing along with the words line by line! The feeling I got was almost spooky it was so beautiful. This turned out not to be a fluke, but happened over and over with other poems and music - like magic, like their being together was "meant to be." I felt then, and continue to feel, blessed and honored to be the conduit for these 'marriages made in heaven.'
I then started putting music with the poems of my teacher at the time, Alison Luterman, and then Rumi and Rainer Maria Rilke, Philip Levine, Mark Strand, Kenneth Rexroth and all the rest of the poets included on this CD. Again, it has been a great honor to have these profound artists be part of this project.
Then one more piece of synchronicity happened. A long-time tennis buddy of mine, Cory Bihr, gave me a Christmas present a few years ago of him reciting Dylan Thomas' "A Child's Christmas in Wales." Cory's immense talent completely floored me and so I played him the iphone recordings I had made of the rough drafts of poetry+jazz. The rest, as they say, is history, because Cory is the now the main voice on the CD, with other tracks being performed by Coleman Barks, Rumi's most-loved translator, and Rene Marie, a great jazz singer and actress, among others.

This project took about two years to complete, largely because of the business end of things. All the living poets (or the estates of recently deceased ones) are being paid for the use of their work, all the publishers of the songs are will be getting regular royalties, all the record companies are being paid royalties for the use of their master recordings, all the readers have been paid, of course, and the studios the tracks were recorded in, etc. etc. An expensive proposition, but well worth it to me because to my ears these are uniquely beautiful, new artistic creations. I'm thrilled to have this project out and available to people who might also find great beauty in it.

Sample tracks are available at Don't miss it!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Digital editions of all Sher Music method books now available!

In addition to the Digital Edition of "The New Real Book, Vol.1," we are happy to report that PDF downloads of all of our jazz and Latin music method books, including Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and "The Jazz Piano Book" are currently available at

Again, my webmaster, Bob Afifi, was instrumental in bringing these books to you in digital form and my great thanks to him for that.

We are working on other digital products, and will let you know as they become available. Thanks for supporting our labors of love here at Sher Music Co.! - Peace - Chuck Sher

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Digital Edition of "The New Real Book, Vol.1" released!

For about 15 years now, we have been getting repeated requests to offer our fake books in digital form, as musicians increasingly use iPads, Kindles, computers, etc. to practice, rehearse and gig with. Since the print licenses already obtained for the hard copy of these books did not extend to digital use, each song had to be re-licensed and this was simply not possible until last year. At that point, the major copyright holders decided to allow digital use of the songs they controlled in The New Real Book - Vol.1 and that started the ball rolling. Many months and endless hours of work later, and The New Real Book, Vol.1 - Digital Edition is now available for download!

The book is beautifully crafted from the highest quality scans we could produce. (The original book was hand-copied and so no digital source files exist.) Many thanks to Sunil Sharma for a careful and professional job in that department.

The book features an interactive Table of Contents where you can click on any tune and be immediately transported there - an invaluable feature on gigs. Every effort was made to retain the look and feel of the original edition and we are happy with how close we were able to come, even with the photographs.

All musicians who will be using this digital edition owe a debt of gratitude to my webmaster, Bob Afifi, for single-handedly pushing for this project to come to fruition, and for his invaluable aid and advice in creating the highest quality finished product possible. It simply wouldn't have happened without him. Thanks, Bob!

By giving musicians a legal, high-class alternative to the poorly-done, illegal scans of our New Real Books, we hope to make everyone's job of creating great music just a bit easier. Anyway, 'nuff said  - enjoy our labor of love! - Chuck Sher

Friday, January 30, 2015

Three-Horn edition of "The Real Easy Book, Vol. 1" released!

Never let it be said that we don't value feedback from people who use our books. At the Jazz Education Network conference last year, several band directors told us that it would be great to have a version of "The Real Easy Book, Vol.1" (our most popular fake book) with harmony parts added, instead of just a melody and chord symbols. Voila! As of January 1st, the new three-horn, expanded edition has replaced the original version.

Included in this three-horn edition are:
- separate pages for each harmony part for every song
- background horn lines underneath soloists
- often "shout choruses" at the end of solos
- background lines and shout choruses include parts for the melody player too

These beautiful arrangements by pianist/arranger Larry Dunlap create a fuller, more professional sound, yet each part is simple enough for beginning improvisers to play, and each part could be played by a number of different instruments. The book is now 172 pages, is available in C, Bb, Eb and Bass Clef, and lists for $28. Enjoy! - Chuck Sher

Saturday, December 6, 2014

New books from Mark Levine and Randy Vincent!

Jazz fans - the Sher Music Co. team has been working like little elves and we now finally have pdf downloads of two new books---one by Mark Levine and one by Randy Vincent! The printed versions will be released January 1st, 2015 (only a few weeks away). We are very proud and pleased to offer these labors of love to all jazz players. Chuck says, 'Check them out!'

"How to Voice Standards at the Piano: The Menu" by Mark Levine is a succinct guide to harmonizing songs, using voicings that the masters of jazz piano use every time they play. Mark has created a one-page 'Menu' of these voicings that (once internalized) will allow you to create spontaneous arrangements of standard songs on the spot. This will be an invaluable resource for generations of jazz pianists---and it wouldn't hurt us non-pianists to learn this material too! Please see details at

"Jazz Guitar Soloing: The Cellular Approach" by Randy Vincent is a thorough, detailed look at how to create long, flowing solo lines based on short, 4-note 'cells' derived from solo phrases by jazz masters like Joe Pass, Pat Metheny, Michael Brecker, etc. Randy gives the reader hundreds and hundreds of exercises to incorporate this process into your subconscious so that they will appear on their own as you perform. Fingerings and string choices are often given too, making it particularly valuable to guitarists who want to actually master their instrument. Again, details at

(If you have a minute, please also check out the sample tracks of our forthcoming CD "Poetry+Jazz: A Magical Marriage" at

Friday, July 25, 2014

Chuck Gee memorial

For those of you in the Bay Area:

The long-delayed memorial for our great good friend, Chuck Gee, will take place at Yoshi's San Francisco, 1330 Fillmore St., SF. The gathering will be held on Tuesday, August 12th in the upstairs lounge from 8 pm to 11 pm or so. It will start with an open mic memorial where people can share their memories of, and stories about Chuck. Following that will be an open jam session led by Larry Dunlap - something Chuck would have relished himself - so bring your instruments. Yoshis-catered refreshments will be served.

We are very sorry for the long delay, but arrangements kept being postponed and the venue moved around until Chuck's former employer at Yoshis came to the rescue. All of us who knew and loved him miss him tremendously, but we are at least glad that we will finally get to honor his memory. Feel free to pass this message along to others who knew him too. Hope to see you there - Chuck Sher and Larry Dunlap

Monday, March 31, 2014


It is with great sadness that I have to announce that our world-class music engraver, Chuck Gee, has departed this world. Chuck was perhaps the greatest music engraver in the world, but more importantly, a superb human being---always looking on the positive side of things, always ready to be of service to the world and the music he loved so much. There will be a Celebration of his Life later this spring and we'll keep you informed about that so those of you in the Bay Area can attend if you wish. Meanwhile, let's take a page from Chuck's book and greet each day with fresh and sparkling eyes. Rest in peace, our brother - Chuck Sher

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Four new jazz books to start 2014 with!

We've been busy here at Sher Music Co. - four new titles just released as follows:

1. "THE JAZZ HARMONY BOOK" by NY pianist David Berkman. An instant classic, The Jazz Harmony Book is a course in how to add chords to melodies, showing how a single melody can give rise to rich harmonic variations. Endorsed by Kenny Werner, Fred Hersch, Mark Levine, and others, this book fills a big gap in the jazz literature and will be used by generations of jazz musicians to learn both the basics and subtleties of Jazz Harmony. $32 list price - 206 pages, including two CDs.

2. "AN APPROACH TO COMPING: The Essentials" by NY pianist Jeb Patton. The most comprehensive book ever publishing on how to accompany jazz soloists with supportive, propulsive 'comping.' Written by the long-time pianist for The Heath Brothers, An Approach to Comping starts with basic comping patterns and then uses transcriptions of the masters—Horace Silver, Barry Harris, Bud Powell, etc.—to dig deeply into how jazz pianists make the rhythm section cook. Endorsed by Benny Green, Renee Rosnes, Monty Alexander, etc., 272 pages, plus 2 CDs, $34 list price.

3. "MINOR IS MAJOR!" by Dan Greenblatt is the most comprehensive book ever written on minor key harmony. Minor is Major! gives the reader hundreds of ways to negotiate through chord progressions in minor keys, including scale choices, 'hidden chords' within those scales, melodic patterns, intervals studies and more. Includes numerous transcriptions of great jazz improvisers such as Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Clifford Brown, McCoy Tyner, and Joe Henderson showing how they make use of the harmonic and melodic minor scales. Endorsed by George Cables, Jerry Bergonzi, etc. 150 pages, $28 list price.

4. "PLAYING FOR SINGERS" by Mike Greensill. Playing For Singers explores, in depth, the art of accompaniment for the jazz and cabaret pianist. It covers all the fundamentals of playing for vocalists, as it applies to the performance of the “Great American Songbook.” Topics covered include how to accompany singers as a solo pianist, what changes when bass and drums are added, the art of 'out of tempo' accompaniment, the accompanist as arranger/composer, copyist and musical director, and more. Endorsed by Michael Feinstein, Lee Musiker (Tony Bennett's pianist), Larry Dunlap, etc. 121 pages, including numerous musical examples. $25 list price.

I hope you find these as fun to go through as it was to create them. Enjoy! - Chuck Sher

Saturday, August 17, 2013

"Line Games" for iPad and Kindle released!

Good news for all tablet users - our webmaster here at Sher Music Co., Bob Afifi, has converted Randy Vincent's brilliant look at solo line construction, "Line Games," into Epub and Mobi formats, used for iPad and Kindle devices respectively. Featuring instant re-formatting for any size device, and and an interactive Table of Contents that takes you right to the page you want, the e-formatted versions of Randy's third book for Sher Music Co. will be very welcome for musicians who want all their books to travel with them. I can just see all you jazz guitarists sitting by a picturesque lake somewhere practicing your Joe Pass and Jim Hall licks to your heart's content. In any case, all you have to do is go to and you can download the Epub, Mobi or PDF versions of "Line Games" via the easy-to-use Paypal payment system for only $24. It's the wave of the future. Enjoy! - Chuck Sher

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Chuck's latest offering

Lately, I have been writing poetry, or more accurately, some poems have come into the world through me, from realms unknown. Quite an experience! I have never written a poem before in my life, yet they have just been showing up, one after another, and for that I am most grateful. I hope you find them half as enjoyable to read as I have found them soul-satisfying to write. They exist here - More are being posted as time goes on, so check back periodically if you wish. Enjoy! - Chuck

Saturday, January 19, 2013

"Line Games" goes digital!

I got my wife an iPad for Christmas a year ago and now am looking for an iWrench to be able pry her off of it! So I know the attraction of said device and related technology, and am happy to report that Randy Vincent's third book for Sher Music Co., "Line Games," is now available for digital download, exclusively (at this point in time) at Enjoy! - Chuck Sher

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Our landmark publication, "The Real 'Cool' Book" now available

I discovered jazz in the 1950s by putting my ear to my brother Norm's room as he and my uncle Ben practiced Chet Baker/Gerry Mulligan duets. So when I joined the Neal Buckley Octet a couple years ago, it lit up a part of my musical subconscious that had long been dormant. What I found was that the West Coast, "cool jazz" charts we played sounded even better than I remembered them. So when someone said I should put out "The Real 'Cool' Book" this project just popped into being---first as a conception and now as a reality. My heartfelt thanks goes out to my musical editor/transcriber Larry Dunlap and our music engraver Chuck Gee for dedication to excellence beyond the call of duty. A world-class job!

What we have done is to take 14 of the best octet songs from that era and transcribe them from the recordings so that this happy, swinging version of jazz could be played by any college-level, or even good high school ensemble. There are separate books for each player, all in one big binder. And on our website there will soon be transposed versions of each of the horn parts so that groups with different instrumentation can still play these songs.

Jazz used to be "the music of the people." Without cowtowing to blatant commercialism, I feel that this book can bring back some of that connection with audiences that jazz has lost over the years. Why? Because the music is upbeat and unapologetically tonal, with great melodies, wonderful counterpoint writing and arranging, and a swinging forward motion that won't quit. And the sheer beauty of five horns blending with other is unbeatable, in my experience.

My hope is that schools, jazz camps and just groups of jazz players will find "The Real 'Cool' Book" to be as advertised, "The most fun you can have for $11 apiece!" - Chuck Sher

Randy Vincent's LINE GAMES just released

I have been very fortunate to play music with guitarist Randy Vincent in several different settings over the last half dozen years or so. My observations are that he is talented, no question; great ears, no question; completely conversant with the jazz tradition to the point of being able to tell you which chord substitutions were played by which artist for innumerable tunes, etc. etc. But Randy's unique gift is an insatiable curiosity with how music works, what the underpinnings are of the music played by the jazz masters. This is what makes him a great teacher and, at this point in time, the greatest living author of jazz guitar books.

His third book, LINE GAMES, is further proof of that claim. I won't go into a description of what he covers here - that is spelled out clearly on our website. But I do believe that, among others things, Randy (like Sher Music Co. itself) was put on this earth to accomplish the goal of creating the best jazz books possible. It is a real honor to work with him.

One further source of pride for me with this book is that the mosaic guitar on the cover was created by my wonderful wife and soulmate, Sueann Bettison Sher. If they gave Grammys for the best music book cover of the year, Sueann and our graphic artist, Attila Nagy, should win first prize. I hope you all enjoy this labor of love - Chuck Sher

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Two new Sher Music books!

Things are popping here at Sher Music. Today we released two very well-done books. If the subjects interest you, you can't do better.
1) Method for Chromatic Harmonica by Max De Aloe is the first book on the big harmonica to treat it as a legitimate instrument. Endorsed by Toots Thielemans, Hendrik Meurkens, Olivier Ker Ourio and others, the book is designed for all levels of players and any style of music. Like classical method books, Max takes the reader through all the keys and makes sure that you learn to have facility all over the instrument. Scale studies, arpeggio studies, rhythmic training, ear training, special harmonica techniques like bending and vibrato, and more. Plus a very well-done play-along CD with a good Italian rhythm section.

2) Afro-Peruvian Percussion Ensemble: From The Cajon to the Drum Set by Hector Morales. Berklee professor and drummer with Paquito d'Rivera says: "This book/DVD package is a goldmine of information on Peruvian music and percussion." The book itself contains charts written out for all the various instruments - cajon, congas, bongos, cowbell, etc. for all the main styles of Afro-Peruvian music, photos showing how to play them, and good historical background on the music. There are also charts for bass and guitar parts and for the drum set too. The best part of the package, to me, is the DVD. The instructional sections are beautifully filmed, and many of them slowed down to half time, as well as normal speed, to facilitate easy learning. And the ensemble tunes on the DVD are quite fun to watch and listen to. The band includes one of the world's greatest Latin bass players, Oscar Stagnaro, along with the author, Hector "Jereto" Ferreyra, Eric Kurimski and others.

We have two more new books slated for release by the end of the month, "The Real 'Cool' Book" and "Line Games" by Randy Vincent. Stay tuned! - Chuck Sher

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Digital Age

Thanks to my webmaster & buddy Bob Afifi, I am being dragged kicking and screaming into the Digital Age. Which is good news to all of you iPad and Kindle owners. In addition to the Digital Real Book and the 16 Sher Music books released in digital form last year, we now have the following items ready for downloading:
1. "Three-note Voicings and Beyond"
by Randy Vincent

2. "Introduction to the Conga Drum" - DVD
by Michael Spiro

3. Play-Along CDs for The New Real Book: Vol. 1
in downloadable format

Enjoy! - Chuck Sher

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"The Latin Real Easy Book" just released!

After about two years of work, we have finally finished a great new fake book - "The Latin Real Easy Book." This is the fourth in our "Real Easy" series of fake books designed for classroom use, with educational material tailored for each tune as part of the chart. But this volume features exclusively great Latin jazz, salsa classics and Brazilian music. A wonderful feature is that we have audio files for every tune in the book on "The Latin Real Easy Book" page at so you can hear the songs. Some gorgeous music is there and I hope all you jazz fans out there will take the time to explore the songs we've presented.

It's hard to know what is more beautiful - Ivan Lins' scrumptious melodies, Tito Puente's slamming version of Chucho Valdes' "Triton," or Tito Rodriguez' soulful rendition of "Si Te Contara," just to name a few. All of the composers have contributed to making the world a better place because of their artistic creations--- and we hope that you will enjoy the book and pass along their message of positive energy by adding these tunes to your band's repertoire. Have fun! - Chuck Sher

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sher Music ebooks released!

Sher Music Co. has just released digital, ebook versions of 16 of our best-selling books, for use with the iPad, Kindle and other digital readers. Books released include Mark Levine's classic works, "The Jazz Piano Book" and "The Jazz Theory Book", as well as "The Salsa Guidebook" by Rebeca Mauleon, "The Brazilian Guitar Book" by Nelson Faria, "The Serious Jazz Practice Book" by Barry Finnerty, and many more. For a complete list of titles and outlets where they can be purchased, please see

The iPad versions feature some cool capabilities, like being able to click on a chapter in the Table Of Contents and be instantaneously taken there, or being able to search for a word and have a list of all the pages in the book including that term appear for you to check out, etc.

The Digital Real Book itself, including about 650 songs from all our fake books, is now downloadable to your iPad as well. Keep an eye out for more digital releases later in the year. Enjoy! - Chuck Sher

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2 New Sher Music Co. books

We are happy to release two new books at the beginning of 2011 and hope you find them to be useful in your pursuit of beauty.

The first one is "Essential Grooves For Writing, Performing and Producing Contemporary Music." This was written by three Berklee College of Music professors, Dan Moretti, Matthew Nicholl and Oscar Stagnaro and is a very useful document if you have the need for templates of a bunch of different styles of music—from soul to jazz to hip hop to Afro-Cuban to reggae, and more. Each groove has all the rhythm section parts written out for a sample of the style, as well as some cogent historical background. Then there is an audio CD so you can hear what the groove sounds like and a multi-track DVD with each member of the rhythm section isolated so you can loop the bass part, create your own play-alongs, etc. Lots of uses, especially for arrangers, producers and writers of contemporary music. All for only $24.

The second one is "Three-Note Voicings and Beyond" by veteran guitarist Randy Vincent. This book has the best endorsements of any book we have ever published—from Pat Metheny, Jim Hall, Mike Stern, Ben Monder, etc. And their praises are certainly well-deserved. This is the second book Randy has written for Sher Music Co. and he is already deep into the third one. This series of books will become the new standard reference books for guitarists for a long time to come. Randy is one of those rare birds (like Mark Levine) who is not only a great player, but also has the ability to clearly and thoroughly explain the nuts and bolts of how jazz players do what they do.

Lots cooking in the Sher Music world for release later this year: legal downloads of 16 of our best-selling instructional books, an amazing selection of tunes in The Latin Real Easy Book, a new jazz harmony book from David Berkman, and more. Just send your email address to and we'll put you on our mailing list for notice of new releases as they happen. Thanks for supporting our high quality books and for letting people know that illegal, free downloads of our books is theft, plain and simple. Peace - Chuck Sher

Friday, January 15, 2010

"Jazz Inside" interview with Chuck Sher

I'm a bass player, so I don't generally indulge in "tooting my own horn," but I thought that fans of Sher Music Co. might be interested in an interview that Jazz Inside magazine did with me in their latest issue. The link to it on my website is Hope you enjoy it! - Chuck

Friday, October 16, 2009

Jazz Guitar Voicings, Vol. 1 - The Drop 2 Book just released!

Over the last few years I have been very fortunate to play music on a pretty regular basis with one of the most advanced guitar players I've ever heard - Randy Vincent (who has recorded &/or toured with Dizzy Gillespie, Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Henderson, etc.). I've been amazed sometimes just watching chorus after chorus of brilliant, spontaneous music come out of him, and have asked him more than once if he'd be interested in writing a book for Sher Music Co. Finally, given the task of applying Mark Levine's Drop 2 Book to guitar, Randy agreed to share his many decades of musical knowledge with the world, and the results have been well worth waiting for! I will let its web page describe the contents, but I was not surprised when glowing endorsements by Vic Juris, Steve Maskowski, Larry Koonse, John Stowell and others started coming in. And before the ink was even dry at the printer's on this book, Randy sent me the beginning of Volume 2! Randy is a very dedicated musician and his love of exploring the way music works comes through in this book, just as much as the practical information itself. If you are a jazz guitar player (or have one on your Holiday gift list), don't miss Jazz Guitar Voicings, Vol.1: The Drop 2 Book!

Foundation Exercises For Bass released!

After pouring over the text a thousand times, adding new exercises after every bass lesson I gave for months, getting very useful feedback from dozens of musicians, and putting all the conscious energy I could muster into making my new book as good as possible---Foundation Exercises For Bass, by yours truly, is finally out! As far as I'm concerned, this is the crowning achievement of my thirty years in music publishing and I hope all you bass players (and bass teachers) out there find it to be most useful, comprehensive and even inspiring!
I'll leave its web page to describe the contents for you, but my general intent was to create a method book that contained all the information anyone would need in order to successfully play bass with others, regardless of the style of music they were interested in, or how long they have been playing. At the same time, my goal was to give people a sense of how to practice so that the process of learning becomes an enjoyable, creative experience in itself. If people have half the fun using it that I had creating it, then it will be a big hit! Music is a beautiful thing and I hope this new book helps people feel what a great gift playing music can be. Enjoy! - Chuck

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sher Music releases "The Jazz Singer's Guidebook" by David Berkman

For those of you not familiar with David Berkman, he is first of all one of the best jazz pianists of the post-Herbie generation. His records are great and he has developed far past them in the last few years. In short, he's the real deal, jazzwise. In addition, he is a very funny guy, a deep thinker and a great teacher, as those of you who have read his first book, "The Jazz Musician's Guide To Creative Practicing" know full well.
So when he told me he wanted to do a second book to help singers learn to become real musicians instead of just entertainers, I was thrilled to hear it. There are some good books for jazz singers already on the market, but nothing with the depth that David's book possesses. Any singer who goes through the program that David lays out here will be as well trained in the language of jazz as nine-tenths of the instrumentalists out there. Let's hope that it is a big success in that regard!
"The Jazz Singer's Guidebook" takes singers from step one, showing them basic jazz harmony on the keyboard, how to voice chords in several different ways, and how to use that knowledge to get inside their songs so that they can hear what changes should be on their lead sheets. It has them practicing singing lines using arpeggios and pieces of scales, practicing scatting using chromatic approach notes, practicing singing hip intervals, etc., etc. David told me that the course laid out in this book is in reality exactly the things every jazz player should know, since being able to sing a solo in your head is the first step to being able to create it on your instrument. A brilliant book from start to finish.
So if you are a jazz singer, or work with one, I highly recommend that you check "The Jazz Singer's Guidebook" out. Another classic from Sher Music Co.!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Spiro DVD released, "Introduction To The Conga Drum"!

We are happy to announce the release of Michael Spiro's new instructional DVD, "Introduction To The Conga Drum". Running almost 2 hours in length, "Introduction To The Conga Drum" is Sher Music Co.'s first venture into producing a DVD, but it will not be the last!
The video is a masterpiece of clear, patient and comprehensive teaching, not surprising since Michael has been teaching conga drums for many decades now, including his current position as an Assistant Professor at Indiana University's percussion department.
The DVD is designed for beginners, or anyone needing a solid foundation in good conga drum technique, and Spiro starts right at the beginning with cogent information on how to hold the drum, the proper bodily posture to maintain while playing, and the correct hand and arm movements needed to produce the 5 or 6 basic sounds on the drum. Interspersed with cool footage of Michael playing solo drums, and also bits of funny, down-home humor ("Don't hold you elbows up in the air. It's not a chicken wing thing"), this DVD kept me riveted to my seat, even though I'll never be a conga drummer myself.
It was shot from three different camera angles and has a warm, inviting atmosphere throughout. Part I gives you all the basic strokes and how to produce them. Part II gives you exercises for combining the basic strokes into usable patterns. And Part III gives you three basic Afro-Cuban rhythms to work on, so that the rudiments learned earlier are applied to the music right away.
At $26, this makes a wonderful Holiday present for your favorite percussionist. Enjoy! - Chuck Sher

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Best Of Sher Music Co. Real Books" just released!

Over the decades since Sher Music Co. first started publishing world-class jazz fake books, one of the few complaints I have received is that there is just too much material in our books to “shlep” all of them to every gig. So my brother Norm had a good idea: to put a bunch of the more widely-known tunes in a single volume that would give a representative sampling of the songs in our books.
Included are standards, classic jazz tunes, and contemporary jazz compositions that are all part of the jazz canon at this point in time. And as a special bonus, we have included a gorgeous song from Michael Brecker’s final CD, Pilgrimage, entitled “Half Moon Lane”, seen here for the first time in print (although it will also be included in our online collection, The Digital Real Book).
It has been a real honor for me to be associated with the high level of musical talent represented in our various fake books, and to do my part in helping jazz and Latin music flourish by providing good lead sheets for bands to work off of. But please remember that only so much information can be conveyed on a piece of paper. There is no substitute for listening deeply to the recordings of these songs, and figuring out how the masters of the music took these structures and created fresh, spontaneous music using these tunes as springboards.
Please see the back of the book for a list of the previous Sher Music Co. books that each one of these songs appeared in. And in the back of each one of those books there are complete discographies of the albums we used in order to create the charts. But these days all you have to do is to ask iTunes or Rhapsody or any other internet music provider to bring up the various recordings available for each song. I have found to be especially valuable since, for a relatively low monthly fee, you get to listen to the entire track of any song on many thousands of CDs, without any additional cost (unless you want to download a particular track, which costs about a dollar each). Happy listening!
My heartfelt thanks goes out to all the publishers of these songs for their cooperation; to Chuck Stewart, Chuck Gee, Jos. L. Knaepen and Patrick Hinely for the use of their beautiful photos; to the Sher Music team—Larry Dunlap (musical editor), Chuck Gee (music engraving), Bob Afifi (proofreading) and Attila Nagy (cover art & graphics)—for another great job accomplished; and to the composers and recording artists for each song, whose talent and genius have enriched all our lives so much.
Needless to say, if you don’t have the complete set of Sher Music Co. Real Books, then we suggest that you add them to your library in the near future. They are all unique collections of songs, and are all done with the same attention to detail, easy-to-read manuscript, and complete accuracy that you will find in this volume. They are available in better music stores world-wide, or online at Please see the Store Locator on our website to find a Sher Music Co. dealer near you. In the meantime, this book should be invaluable to you at gigs, rehearsals and jam sessions. Enjoy, and long live jazz!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Sher Music Co. releases "The Serious Jazz Book II"!

Following on the success of guitar legend Barry Finnerty's first book, "The Serious Jazz Practice Book", Sher Music Co. has released the second volume in this series of woodshed classics.

Like the first volume, "The Serious Jazz Book II" has garnered rave reviews from the jazz community, including endorsements by Joe Lovano, Mark Levine and Hubert Laws. World-renowned jazz educator Jamey Aebersold says, "This is an extremely thorough book. The exercises are concise, challenging and very much worth the effort. Highly recommended!"

In this book, Barry (who recorded with Miles Davis, the Brecker Bros. and the Crusaders, among others) shows how to become a better soloist by melodically mastering the individual chords used in jazz, how they connect with each other, and how they are used in various song forms.

The retail price is $32 for this 200 page book that will keep your chops up for a lifetime. Sample pages and more information is available at Sold at better music stores world-wide or directly from our website.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Real Easy Vol. 3 transposed versions available

Just a note to let you know that "The Real Easy Book - Vol. 3: A Short History Of Jazz" is now available in Bb, Eb and Bass Clef, as well as the original C version. We have had nothing but positive feedback about this book since it came out in January and look forward to many schools adopting it starting in September of this year.

Also, it was my great pleasure to help bring David Berkman and his trio out to the West Coast for their first tour here. I caught them three nights in a row and have rarely enjoyed listening to music as much as I did those nights. David himself (the author of our book, "The Jazz Musician's Guide To Creative Practicing") has gotten several times better than he was even a year ago, and in my mind now stands up there with the very best of modern jazz pianists. His bassist, Joe Martin, is also a very accomplished player, a wonderful soloist and a complete professional, handing everything thrown at him without breaking a sweat. 25-year-old drummer Ted Poor is, to my ears, one of the most creative drummers on the planet, able to take the music to any rhythmic zone imaginable at the drop of the hat. Hopefully they will be recording this trio soon, and if a CD is released, don't miss it! Check David's website for future gigs.

Speaking of great piano players, don't miss Enrico Pieranunzi's new duo CD with Marc Johnson, "Yellow And Blue Suites". Enrico at his best, and that's saying something. Not to mention the fabulous Marc Johnson, co-author of our book, "Concepts For Bass Soloing." So far, this CD is only available at, the hippest music site on the internet that I know of, where for a low monthly fee you can listen to the entire track of songs on hundreds of thousands of CDs.

And to mention one more genius pianist, I was fortunate enough to catch the Keith Jarrett Trio performing at the SF Jazz Festival recently and all I have to say is, catch them while you can. Keith is at the height of his powers, as you can tell from his last CD, "My Foolish Heart."

Finally, do yourself a favor and check out Clare Fischer's CD "After The Rain". Not jazz in any sense, this is, IMHO, one of the most beautiful contemporary classical CDs ever recorded. Like Bartok, but without the angst. Just exquisite, and congratulations to Clare for writing such amazing music!

Keep your ears, and your mind, and your heart open and many beautiful things will come your way, even on this bizarre planet. Peace - Chuck

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Chuck's Cool CDs List - 2/1/08

My wonderful web expert, Bob Afifi, talked me into starting a blog, so I hope all you Sher Music fans out there find it useful. If you have any thoughts on what shows up in this blog, please comment.

One of my jobs as a jazz publisher (not to mention as a musician myself) is to keep my ears open to the latest developments in jazz, or at least those aspects of jazz that I find personally appealing. So below please find a list of some of the coolest music I've heard lately. I'll probably be doing this monthly to correspond with my monthly jazz show on KRCB. You can hear many of these songs on the show by going to and hitting the "Listen" button the first Saturday of each month from 8 pm to 12 am, Pacific time. Or check out, where I found most of these CDs and where, for a relatively low monthly fee, you can listen to the entire track (not just 30 seconds) of songs on many thousands of jazz CDs, and other kinds of music too, of course. Enjoy! - Chuck

1. Chris Minh Doky's "Cinematic", featuring Joey Calderazzo, Tain Watts, and other great players. The first tune, "James Bond" is contemporary jazz at its finest.
2. New York Voices' "A Day Like This". I haven't hear the whole CD but Heads Up put out a promotional sampler with tracks from various CDs including a very beautiful tune from this CD entitled, "The World Keeps You Waiting" - very cool lyric for these stressed-out times.
3. George Colligan's "Desire", and "Como La Vida Puede Ser", featuring alto player Perico Sambeat, has some world-class playing and writing on it. Check out the title tune of the 2nd CD. Perico is one of the most mature saxophone voices on the planet.
4. Julian Arguelles' "Scapes". Not all of this CD is to my personal taste, but some of it is just gorgeous to my ears, and one has to commend Julian for being completely creative in following his musical vision.
5. Marcus Tardelli's "Interpreta Guinga". My man Barry Finnerty hipped me to this great musician, playing state-of-the-art acoustic guitar versions of the great Brazilian composer Guinga's compositions. Uncle Chuck says check it out.
6. Perico Sambeat's "Jindungo". See #3 above for comments on Perico.
7. Ali Akbar Khan's "Raga Chandranandan", from the '60s. To my ears, one of the greatest solos on any instrument, from any country, anytime.
8. Kenny Werner/Roseanna Vitro's: "Serve Or Suffer: The Delirium Blues Project". All I have heard is their very interesting version of Tower of Power's classic, "What Is Hip?", which they totally re-invigorate. CD won't be released until next month, evidently.
9. Kenny Wheeler's "It Takes Two", featuring guitarists John Abercrombie and John Parricelli, and bassist Anders Jormin. Great music from everybody on this CD.
10. Morrie Louden's "Time Piece". One of the best bassists and composers I have heard in many a year, including some of the best Bob Sheppard sax playing on record, which is saying a lot. Very highly recommended.
11. Kasper Villaume's "Hands" - Along with Michael Brecker's "Pilgrimage", this CD is the best overall record I've heard in the last year or so. The rhythm section of pianist Kasper Villaume, bassist Chris Minh Doky and drummer Ali Jackson is simply superb, and they create the perfect setting for some of the greatest Chris Potter solos ever recorded. Don't miss it!