Herbie Nichols was a quiet genius. You had to be the kind of listener whose ears reached out. If you were, then his music had an inexorable way of creeping into you. Once this happened, you were hooked. There maybe folks then and now who have been impacted by Herbie's playing and immediately dispatched to paradise by it, but on me, he grew gradually and only after a while became a permanent resident of my mind's ear.
Herbie Nichols had his own way, his own space. One can only remark, even about the earliest pieces here, about the unusual chord progressions, turns of melody, dissonances - modern?...primitive? And yet there is enough that is familiar and even more that is so very soulful that you can connect with these pieces. Herbie's music has served as a constant source of inspiration, information and performance pleasure. Over the almost 40 years that I have had these lead sheets in my possession, I have come back to them time and again up to this day and still find new places in them and new ways to elaborate on them. May the richness of Herbie's musicality color your experience of playing from this book.
Roswell Rudd September, 1999 Kerhonkson, N. Y.
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