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

Requiem

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 http://www.shermusic.com/9781883217747.php 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 - http://shermusic.com/poetry. 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 http://www.shermusic.com. 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
http://www.shermusic.com/new/9781883217662.shtml

2. "Introduction to the Conga Drum" - DVD
by Michael Spiro
http://www.shermusic.com/new/242169.shtml

3. Play-Along CDs for The New Real Book: Vol. 1
in downloadable format
http://www.shermusic.com/new/0961470143-cd.shtml

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 shermusic.com 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 http://www.shermusic.com/new/digital_books.shtml.

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 shermuse@sonic.net 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
http://www.shermusic.com/chuck_sher_interview.html. 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 www.rhapsody.com 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 www.shermusic.com. 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 www.shermusic.com. 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 www.davidberkman.com 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 www.rhapsody.com, 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 http://www.krcb.org and hitting the "Listen" button the first Saturday of each month from 8 pm to 12 am, Pacific time. Or check out rhapsody.com, 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!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

On Piracy by Chuck Sher

As you might be aware, in recent years many music books, including all of Sher Music books, have been uploaded onto file-sharing, "torrent" sites, all over the internet. This was done without our permission and is illegal as well as just plain wrong. We understand that the temptation to get "something for nothing" might be hard to resist in these economic times, but here's why we believe you should boycott these pirated versions of our books.

Sher Music Co. remains what it was when it started in 1979---a small business by musicians, for musicians. Putting together a legal, accurate, high-quality fake book (such as The New Real Books) takes us about two years of intense effort and expense: countless hours of finding and listening to records to discover the best tunes to include, then tracking down the publishers, doing all the business negotiations, meticulously transcribing the tunes, and re-working each chart until it is the most complete and useful version of the tune possible. Then we painstakingly copy them, proofread them, and road-test them with our musician friends at jam sessions and rehearsals. We often consult with the composers to get any feedback they might have, then revise them, re-copy them, paste them up in book form, and proofread them over and over until they are perfect. And that doesn't include producing book covers, promoting the books after they are out, and the daily hassles and expenses of running a business. There are blood, sweat and tears on every page. (And great joy too, of course. We love what we do!)

If you produce, copy or download a pirated version of our fakebooks, you are stealing the fruits of years of effort that went into creating them. You are also stealing money from your favorite jazz artists. Every six months we faithfully send fair royalty payments to all the publishers and composers of the tunes in our books. By downloading these pirated copies, you are stealing from Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Richie Beirach, McCoy Tyner and hundreds of other less-well-known composers who count on these royalties to pay their bills. You wouldn't walk into Wayne's living room and take his stereo, even if you knew you could get away with it, right? Well, these illegal downloads are just as much an act of theft as any street crime.

The same is true for our educational books. Mark Levine, for example, has written the most important jazz theory book ever published. It took him years to put it all down on paper (not to mention the decades of studying, transcribing, practicing and gigging that the book is based on) and he deserves to reap some reward for that effort. Downloading illegal, free versions of his books is nothing more or less than stealing.

The effect of this is not hard to imagine. Our ability to produce new publications has been seriously compromised by the thousands and thousands of our books that have been downloaded for free. Among other things that means that we cannot afford to produce any more big fake books, since the odds of our being able to recoup our expenses is now slim to none. So it is not only Sher Music Co. that is losing, but also every musician who is now missing out on what could have been published if people had simply boycotted illegal downloads.

How can you tell if a book on the internet is illegal? Simple---if the download is free, it is by definition illegal since we obviously aren't going to get paid for it. We do now have digital versions of 16 of our books available for sale through Amazon, the iTunes bookstore, etc. but any free downloads are simply theft. (See the ebook page at www.shermusic.com for details.)

Piracy of musicians' recorded efforts are, of course, also widespread on the internet. But here too, you have legal, moral alternatives. For example, for about $13 a month, you can be a subscriber to Rhapsody, an online music service, where you will be able to listen to thousands of CDs at the push of a button. Rhapsody, of course, pays royalties for every use of every tune, eliminating the moral dilemma of using illegal download sites. (See www.listen.com for details.)

These are perilous times on our beautiful planet. The forces of greed and indifference to human suffering are increasingly powerful, and the only countervailing force is the basic goodness inherent in each of us. So we would encourage you to exercise your better nature: work for a more just and peaceful world, be kind in all your dealings with people, and use your purchasing power to support honest, life-affirming products, like the ones produced at Sher Music Co. You'll feel better. (Revised 4/3/11)

Chuck Sher is a jazz bassist, author of several bass instruction books and the owner of Sher Music Co., publisher of high-quality jazz and Latin music books (www.shermusic.com).