The Second Disc

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Archive for October 4th, 2012

Verve Select Celebrates 65 Years of Louis Armstrong’s “Live at Symphony Hall” with Complete Edition

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When Decca Records first released Louis Armstrong and the All-Stars’ 1947 concert recorded at Boston’s Symphony Hall in the summer of 1951, the album became an instant best-seller.  Armstrong was a regular recording and touring presence at that time, but concert recordings were gaining popularity in the LP format.  Home listeners were anxious to bring the beloved entertainer and his troupe into their homes and onto their hi-fis.  Satchmo at Symphony Hall was a deluxe product by the era’s standards, a double-album set containing the great majority of the music played by the All-Stars on November 30, 1947.  However, there were edits necessitated by the constraints of LP length.  Four complete performances were absent.  Some internal solos were also cut, as well as the opening and closing themes, and the on-stage announcements.  Now, 65 years later, fans and collectors will finally be able to hear the complete performances of Armstrong and his band on October 16 when Hip-o/Verve Select releases Satchmo At Symphony Hall / 65th Anniversary: The Complete Performances.

The Symphony Hall concert has been a mainstay of Armstrong’s discography since its initial release.  It finally arrived on CD in 1996, but reissue producer Orrin Keepnews truncated it to one CD, eliminating three tracks altogether (“I Cried for You,” “That’s My Desire” and “How High the Moon”) and re-sequencing the remaining tracks.  That edition is currently out of print, paving the way for this reconstruction of the complete, original concert (two sets) in one deluxe, 2-CD edition.  Satchmo was joined by vocalist/trombonist Jack Teagarden, clarinetist Barney Bigard, pianist Dick Cary, bassist Arvell Shaw, drummer “Big” Sid Catlett and singer Velma Middleton in his rollicking musical revue.

Hit the jump for more details, plus the track listing and pre-order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 4, 2012 at 14:10

WE HAVE A WINNER of The Beatles’ “Magical Mystery Tour” Blu-ray!

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Written by Joe Marchese

October 4, 2012 at 10:29

Relaunched FiveFour Label Offers Rare Jazz Classics from Ornette Coleman, Luis Bonfá, Gary Burton

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FiveFour, the jazz-oriented sister label of Cherry Red’s él imprint, had lain dormant since 2008 following releases by some of the genre’s greatest artists including Bill Evans, Buddy Rich and Milt Jackson. Founder Mike Alway has just reactivated FiveFour, however, and the label has just relaunched with three long out-of-print titles drawn from the Sony Music archives: Ornette Coleman’s Chappaqua Suite (1965), The Gary Burton Quartet’s In Concert (1968) and a two-fer from Luis Bonfá: The New Face of Bonfa (1970) and Introspection (1972).

The most demanding of the three titles, and perhaps the most rewarding for some listeners, is doubtless Coleman’s Chappaqua Suite. Free jazz pioneer Coleman was commissioned by director Conrad Rooks to compose a score to his film Chappaqua, a soon-to-be underground classic exploring Rooks’ drug addiction. The motion picture, released in 1967, featured appearances by Coleman (as the Peyote Eater) alongside other icons like William S. Burroughs (Opium Jones), Allen Ginsberg (Messie) and Ravi Shankar (Dieu de Soleil). But Rooks ultimately decided against using Coleman’s score, fearing it would overpower the film itself. Chappaqua’s music was provided in the end by Shankar and The Fugs; Fugs leader Ed Sanders also appeared in the movie. Columbia Records went ahead and issued Coleman’s intended score as Chappaqua Suite in 1965, before the actual film was completed and released.

Chappaqua Suite consists of four lengthy pieces of music, each one which actually took up one full side of the original double-LP set. Coleman, on alto saxophone and trumpet, is joined by David Izenson on bass and Charles Moffett on drums, plus Pharoah Sanders on tenor saxophone (on the fourth segment) as well as a studio orchestra arranged by Joseph Tekula. (The liner notes credited “eleven studio musicians.”) Taken as a whole, Chappaqua Suite certainly is a rather overpowering composition, typical of Coleman’s free jazz style but with a unique sound thanks to the presence of the orchestra. It can turn on a dime from pastoral to clattering, disturbing to swinging. Though heavily improvised and light on traditional melody and changes, Coleman’s control is never in question. It’s fierce and unrelenting, and if it’s not for everybody, it’s an expression of the saxophonist/composer’s singular, and influential, vision. FiveFour quotes Coleman: “I didn’t need to worry about keys, chords, [or] melody if I had that emotion that brought tears and laughter to people’s hearts.”] The original Columbia album was withdrawn from the catalogue shortly after its release, and has not been widely available since then, making FiveFour’s reissue most worthy, indeed!

After the jump: Bonfa’s bossa nova and Burton’s good, good, good vibes! Plus: track listings, pre-order links and more!

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Written by Joe Marchese

October 4, 2012 at 10:08