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Release Round-Up: Week of September 2

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Real Gone - September 2014

Willie Hutch, In Tune (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) / Willie Hutch, Midnight Dancer (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) / Esther Phillips, Alone Again, Naturally (Expanded Edition) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. ) /Ullanda McCullough, Ullanda McCullough/Watching You, Watching Me (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) / Ray Griff, The Entertainer – Greatest U.S. & Canadian Hits (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) / Rick Wakeman, Rick Wakeman’s Criminal Record (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) / The Ides of March, Vehicle (Expanded Edition) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) / Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 16 – Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA 11/8/69 (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. ) (all Real Gone Music)

Real Gone Music is kicking off September with classic soul, disco, country, prog rock, jazz-rock and more on this packed slate of eight titles!

George Benson - Breezin SACD

George Benson, Breezin’ SACD (Audio Fidelity) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Audio Fidelity makes a splash in the multi-channel audio arena with this hybrid SACD release featuring stereo and surround mixes of the guitar great’s pop breakthrough!


Big Star, # 1 Record and Radio City (Stax)

# 1 Record : Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Radio City: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Concord has a pair of standalone reissues of Big Star’s first two albums with new liner notes from R.E.M.’s Mike Mills!

Jackie DeShannon - She Did It

Jackie DeShannon, She Did It! The Songs of Jackie DeShannon, Volume 2 (Ace) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Ace has a second volume filled with hits and rarities from the pen of the great Jackie DeShannon – including tracks from Olivia Newton-John, The Ronettes, The Righteous Brothers, Peter and Gordon, Rita Coolidge, Tammy Grimes, The Carpenters, Randy Edelman, and of course, Kim Carnes with the smash hit “Bette Davis Eyes” – plus an exclusive demo from Jackie herself!  Look for Joe’s review coming soon!

Game Theory - Blaze of Glory

Game Theory, Blaze of Glory (Omnivore) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Omnivore has CD and vinyl reissues of the 1982 debut album from power pop/new wave band Game Theory, generously expanding the CD edition with fifteen bonus tracks – eleven of which are previously unissued!  The label promises this will be the first in a series, so don’t miss out – this is the ground floor!

10cc - Ten Out of 10

10cc, Ten Out of 10 and Windows in the Jungle (UMC)

10cc’s eighth and ninth albums get the deluxe treatment in the U.K.!  The expanded  Ten Out Of 10  features 7 bonus tracks including B-sides and live versions; Windows, 10cc’s first collaboration with Andrew Gold, adds seven bonuses including B-sides and tracks from the U.S. version of the album.

Ten Out of 10: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Windows: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Other Side of Midnight

Michel Legrand, The Other Side of Midnight: Original Music from the Motion Picture (Intrada)

Intrada is now shipping the CD premiere of composer Michel Legrand’s (The Thomas Crown Affair, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) lush, atmospheric score to director Charles Jarrott’s (Lost Horizon) 1977 film based on Sidney Sheldon’s novel.

Gorky Park OST

James Horner, Gorky Park: Original MGM Motion Picture Soundtrack (Intrada)

Also newly-available from Intrada: a newly expanded presentation of James Horner’s (Titanic, Braveheart) score to Michael Apted’s 1983 crime thriller.  This edition features the complete score in true stereo for the first time, and a brace of bonus tracks!

Written by Joe Marchese

September 2, 2014 at 08:39

Audio Fidelity In Surround: Label Premieres Kooper’s Multichannel “Super Session,” Reissues Benson’s “Breezin'” In 5.1

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Super Session SACDThanks to the dedication of audiophile specialty labels like Audio Fidelity, Analogue Productions, and Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, the high-resolution Super Audio CD (SACD) format remains alive and well.   Yet most of these labels’ recent releases have featured stereo mixes only.  Audio Fidelity is finally making its first major leap into the world of 5.1 multi-channel surround sound with two upcoming reissues of classic albums including one long-coveted title.  On August 5, the label will premiere Al Kooper’s never-before-issued surround mix of his seminal 1968 Super Session album, a collaborative effort with Michael Bloomfield and Stephen Stills.  The label also restores to print the surround mix of George Benson’s 1976 commercial breakthrough Breezin’, which topped the U.S. Pop, Jazz and R&B Albums charts.  In addition, both of these hybrid CD releases will also happily feature the albums’ original stereo mixes as newly remastered by Steve Hoffman.  (The stereo mixes will be playable on both the SACD and standard CD layers whereas the surround mixes, of course, can only be played on SACD-compatible players.)

Having departed his group Blood, Sweat and Tears, Al Kooper was working in A&R (Artists and Repertoire) for the band’s label Columbia Records when he conceived of a blues-rock jam session record with Mike Bloomfield of The Electric Flag and Paul Butterfield Blues Band fame.  Enlisting Barry Goldberg and Harvey Brooks (both of The Electric Flag) and “Fast” Eddie Hoh for support, producer-keyboardist Kooper booked two days of studio time in Los Angeles in May 1968.  The group jammed on a number of songs the first day, including Kooper/Bloomfield originals “Albert’s Shuffle,” “Really” and the John Coltrane tribute “His Holy Modal Majesty.”  When Bloomfield failed to show up for the second day of the session, however, Kooper called in young gun Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield.  The guitar slinger joined Kooper for songs by Bob Dylan (“It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry”), Donovan (“Season of the Witch”), bluesman Willie Cobb and bassist Brooks.  With both Bloomfield and Stills firing on all cylinders, Kooper’s Super Session, issued in July 1968, went on to a Gold certification.

Kooper revisited Super Session early in the 2000s for a 5.1 surround mix to be issued by Legacy Recordings alongside a new surround mix of BS&T’s Child is Father of the Man.  Unfortunately with the label abandoning the SACD format, both titles were relegated to the vaults.  Kooper confirmed this in 2004: “They both came out incredible and so I mastered them with Bob Ludwig. Now it seems they will languish on the shelves…”  Audio Fidelity has belatedly come to the rescue.  The label’s deluxe Super Session reissue will feature new liner notes by the great raconteur Kooper chronicling both the making of the album and the 5.1 mix.  Kooper’s mix, mastered by Ludwig, will be joined by a new mastering of the stereo tracks for SACD Stereo and CD Stereo by engineer Steve Hoffman.

After the jump: details on the new edition of George Benson’s Breezin’, and more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 27, 2014 at 10:16

Starbucks Goes Hip and Jazzy On Venti Release Slate

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Music for Little HipstersIf you’re looking for a little music to go with your grande toffee nut latte, Starbucks has recently unveiled a number of new audio offerings to kick off 2014.  In addition to its annual Sweetheart disc – an anthology of new(ish) artists playing old(ish) love songs including, this year, songs by John Lennon, Bob Dylan and Harry Nilsson – the coffee giant has curated a selection of Music for Little Hipsters, sets dedicated to Women of Jazz and When Jazz Meets Guitar, and an Opus Collection volume for the one and only Dusty Springfield.  Here, you’ll find the scoop on the first three of those releases; watch this space for our all-Dusty special coming soon touching on four new releases from the late soul queen!

Music for Little Hipsters is one set that’s as intriguing as its title.  Its sixteen tracks share in common a childlike sensibility that crosses generational and genre divides; hence, Devo’s upbeat if ironic “Beautiful World” sits alongside The Free Design’s sunshine pop confection “Kites are Fun.”  The Beach Boys’ “Vegetables” (in its Smiley Smile recording) comes a few tracks after Booker T. and the MG’s “Soul Limbo,” appropriate for both adults and children on the dancefloor!  The compilation also showcases lesser-known “hipsters” from France (Franck Monnet’s tasty “Goutez-Les”), The Netherlands (Arling and Cameron’s ode to the “W.E.E.K.E.N.D.”), Florida (The Postmarks’ “Balloons”) and Seattle (Caspar Babypants’ “Stomp the Bear”).  A couple of tracks here have found a following on Nickelodeon’s offbeat Yo Gabba Gabba, including “Balloons” and I’m From Barcelona’s “Just Because It’s Different Doesn’t Mean Scary.”  The loopy, eclectic Music for Little Hipsters isn’t the usual coffeehouse fare.  On the reverse of its track-by-track liner notes you’ll find puzzles and word finds; a set of stickers is also included in the digipak.

When Jazz Meets GuitarWhen Jazz Meets Guitar is a more straightforward set, with thirteen tracks representing undisputed guitar greats such as Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery, John McLaughlin and Pat Metheny.  As each of these gentleman’s styles is singular, the disc serves as a Jazz Guitar 101-style primer.  Christian, Reinhardt and Les Paul represent the early practitioners of the art form, with “Solo Flight,” “Anniversary Song” and “Somebody Loves Me,” respectively.  Barney Kessel, a versatile member of the famed L.A. studio “Wrecking Crew,” offers up Henry Mancini’s “Something for Cat” from the score to Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  Grant Green and Kenny Burrell also represent the swinging sixties with selections from Blue Note Records outings.  Two of producer Creed Taylor’s trademark pop-jazz amalgams appear via the legendary Wes Montgomery’s “Bumpin’ on Sunset” and Montgomery disciple George Benson’s reinvention of The Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreamin’.”  The underrated Joe Pass is heard on “How High the Moon” – popularized by Les Paul and Mary Ford – and tracks by modern masters including Pat Metheny and John McLaughlin show how the art form has developed while still building on the foundation laid by heroes of the past.  Steven Stolder provides informative track-by-track notes.

After the jump, we’ll take a peek at Women of Jazz!  Plus, we have track listings and order links for all three titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 17, 2014 at 14:28

Review: Paul Anka, “Duets”

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Paul Anka - DuetsWhether you prefer your “My Way” by Sinatra or Sid (Vicious, that is), you have Paul Anka to thank.  It was Anka who took the melody to the chanson “Comme d’habitude” and crafted the ultimate anthem of survival and tenacity with his English-language lyrics.  When Sinatra recorded the song, a gift to him from Anka, he was just 53 years of age yet could still ring true when singing of that “final curtain.”  Today, Paul Anka is 71, and his new memoir is entitled, what else, My Way.  Thankfully, the end seems far from near for the entertainer, who has kept busy not only with the book, but with an album from Legacy Recordings.  Duets (88765 48489 2) is a blend of new and old tracks with one thing in common: the unmistakable voice of Paul Anka.  (He also wrote or co-wrote all but two of its songs.)

The Ottawa-born pop star scored his first hit at the ripe old age of 15 with 1957’s “Diana.”  It earned him a No. 1 in the U.S. Best Sellers in Stores and R&B charts, as well as No. 1 in the U.K., Canada and Australia. But overnight sensation Anka was a teen idol with a difference: he was a true singer/songwriter, writing both music and lyrics for his own songs. By the age of 20, Anka was reportedly raking in $1.5 million a year and selling some 20 million records, but he knew that he had to take himself to the next level. The singer poised himself for a reinvention for the adult market with more mature material aimed at the supper club crowd.  Throughout his chart career, Anka has successfully balanced contemporary pop with timeless showbiz tradition.

To its credit, Duets isn’t a rehash of the formula enjoyed by so many superstars, from Frank Sinatra to Tony Bennett, of remaking “greatest hits” with familiar partners.  There’s no “Puppy Love,” no “Times of Your Life” or “One Woman Man/One Man Woman.”  Nor is Duets a career retrospective, per se, as the only vintage tracks are drawn from 1998’s A Body of Work.  In many ways, Duets is an update of that Epic release.  A Body of Work included seven duets among its eleven tracks, and four of those have been reprised on Duets.  (That album also included a posthumous duet with Sinatra on “My Way.”  Frank and the song are here, too, but in a newly-created recording.)  None of Anka’s hit seventies duets with Odia Coates like “One Woman Man” or “You’re Having My Baby” are heard here.  Though Jay-Z reportedly denied Anka’s invitation to participate, a number of top talents did show up to celebrate Anka’s 55 years in entertainment, including Dolly Parton, Leon Russell, Willie Nelson and Michael Bublé.

Come join us after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Get Together: The Youngbloods Reissued, Mick Fleetwood Visited By George Harrison, Peter Green On Wounded Bird

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Wounded Bird may fly a bit under the radar, but over the past couple of months, the no-frills reissue specialists have recently restored to catalogue well over 30 titles of interest across multiple genres!  For jazz fans, Wounded Bird has offerings from George Benson (1976’s compilation Benson Burner), Airto Moreira (1978’s Touching You…Touching Me, which alas, doesn’t have a Neil Diamond cover on it!), Ramsey Lewis (1974’s Solar Wind) and Maynard Ferguson (1981 compilation Maynard).  If you’re in the mood for some country, eight of Willie Nelson’s classic RCA albums have been reissued on four two-fers: Country Music Concert/The Willie Way, My Own Way/Minstrel Man, Before His Time/Angel Eyes and Make Way for Willie Nelson/My Own Peculiar Way.  If edgy political satire is the order of the day, you could hardly do better than this quartet of releases from The Fugs:  1967’s Tenderness Junction, 1968’s It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest, and 1969’s Golden Filth and The Belle of Avenue A.  The releases truly are an eclectic lot, with more titles from Redbone, The Bay City Rollers, David Essex and Mary Kay Place.  Among this batch are many releases from the RCA vaults, including Mick Fleetwood’s guest-packed 1981 effort The Visitor, and This is The Youngbloods, the 1972 two-album set from the band best known for “Let’s Get Together.”

During 1981, drummer and band namesake Mick Fleetwood became the third member of Fleetwood Mac to release a solo album, following both Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.  For The Visitor, however, Fleetwood would travel far beyond the confines of Los Angeles.  Fleetwood journeyed to Ghana in the early months of the year, setting up camp at the Ghana Film Industries Studio.   Despite the locale, though, Fleetwood brought his background in rock and blues to the album.  Fleetwood, bassist George Hawkins and guitarist Todd Sharp were joined there by musicians including percussionist Lord Tiki and vocalist Ebaali Gbiko, as well as two groups.  Vocals and percussion were contributed by the Adjo Group and The Ghana Folklore Group. Also on hand were guitarists Todd Sharp and bassist George Hawkins.

The Visitor may be most notable today, however, for its guest appearances.  Founding member of Fleetwood Mac Peter Green emerged from the shadows to re-record “Rattlesnake Shake,” a song which originated in 1969 on the Mac’s third studio album, Then Play On.  Even more attention-grabbing might have been the presence of George Harrison, armed with his usual slide guitar as well as a 12-string.  Harrison contributed guitars and backing vocals to “Walk a Thin Line,” the Lindsey Buckingham song which had just appeared on 1979’s Fleetwood Mac epic Tusk.  The Visitor, released on RCA Records, scored a respectable No. 43 placement on the Billboard chart.

C’mon, people now, hit the jump for a look at the Youngbloods, plus track listings for both titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 16, 2011 at 10:49

Different Drums: Music Club Compiles Linda Ronstadt and George Benson

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The U.K.-based Music Club Deluxe label continues to raid the Warner Music Group archives with two new collections following similar sets for Dionne Warwick and ChicagoLinda Ronstadt: The Collection and George Benson: The Collection are both due next Monday, September 5, and these 2-CD sets celebrate the long careers of two music legends.

Ronstadt’s fans will be glad to know that Music Club Deluxe has licensed tracks from Capitol Records to create a fairly comprehensive overview of the artist’s career.  At 46 tracks, it’s quite generous, eclipsing the 2-CD edition of The Very Best of Linda Ronstadt issued by Time-Life in 2003 (Warner Special Products/Time Life R162-26) which itself expanded the 21-track collection of the same title (Rhino R2 76109, 2002).  (This set bears the same striking cover portrait as those releases.)  Despite having placed 38 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, including ten that went Top Ten, and 36 entries on the album chart, including ten that reached the Top Ten there too (her magic number!) and three that hit pole position, Ronstadt is often overlooked by the rock cognoscenti.  The Collection is a reminder of her mastery of many genres, as it goes so far to include not only her most beloved Southern California country-rock hit singles, but also a couple of tracks performed in Spanish and one standard (“What’s New”) recorded with Nelson Riddle and his orchestra.  It’s her definitive interpretations of songs by other artists, though, that dominate: Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, Paul Anka, Mike Nesmith, Warren Zevon, Don Henley and Glenn Frey all saw their royalties accumulate substantially thanks to Ronstadt’s catalogue. 

Gazing at the track list, it’s clear that this California rock legend’s taste in songwriters has always been top-notch; she was an early champion of the works of Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther, Karla Bonoff, Randy Newman, Lowell George, Neil Young, Jimmy Webb and so many others.  The Collection includes a number of lesser-known album tracks alongside the familiar classics, although the non-chronological sequencing might drive a person crazy!  The compilation’s two discs span from 1967’s Stone Poneys LP Evergreen, Volume 2 (“Different Drum”) through 1996’s Dedicated to the One I Love (the title track and “Be My Baby”).

Hit the jump for the full track listing of both titles and pre-order links, plus more on George Benson’s Collection! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 1, 2011 at 10:23

Benson, Hubbard, Turrentine On June Slate From CTI Masterworks

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Earlier this year, Universal and Hip-o Select released a bold orange box set containing the first 6 LPs on the Impulse! label, all of which were produced by Creed Taylor.  The ambitious producer didn’t stay long at Impulse!, however, departing for the greener pastures of Verve, then A&M, where he founded his CTI label.  Following a highly successful series of CTI albums under the A&M imprimatur, Taylor’s mini-kingdom went the independent route and along the way practically defined the sound of seventies jazz.  Sony’s Masterworks Jazz label quietly dropped four more CTI titles in stores on June 14, part of the 40th Anniversary Series that began with the release of the Cool Revolution retrospective box.  (We’ve got details on April’s batch here.)  The titles were released between 1970 and 1974, and all four feature bona fide legends who were integral parts of the CTI family: George Benson (guitar), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet/flugelhorn), Hubert Laws (flute) and Stanley Turrentine (tenor saxophone).

The earliest title in the group, Hubbard’s Straight Life (1970), was his second album for CTI following Red Clay, already released in this series.  Straight Life could be considered a “sequel” to Red Clay, as many of the same personnel returned, including saxophonist Joe Henderson, keyboard player Herbie Hancock and CTI stalwart Ron Carter.  George Benson, naturally on guitar, joined in as well.  On percussion, Richard “Pablo” (Richie) Landrum contributed, while Jack DeJohnette replaced Red Clay’s Lenny White on drums.  Straight Life consists of three lengthy tracks: the 17 minute jam on the title song by Hubbard, “Mr. Clean” by Weldon Irvine (who plays tambourine on the album) and the Johnny Burke/Jimmy Van Heusen standard “Here’s That Rainy Day.”  With only Hubbard, Benson and Carter playing, “Rainy Day” is as beautiful as “Straight Life” is funky.

Benson’s own album, Body Talk, is also released in this wave.  His third for the independent CTI, it’s all-instrumental.  Rather than “house arranger” Don Sebesky, it’s Pee Wee Ellis who arranged and conducted Body Talk, a duty he also performed on CTI albums for Esther Phillips, Johnny Hammond and Hank Crawford.  The only cover in this set of blazing originals is “When Love Has Grown” from Donny Hathaway and Gene McDaniels’ pen.  Ron Carter, of course, played bass, as did Gary Kng, and Earl Klugh joined to contribute second guitar.  As on previous reissues, this remastered Body Talk contains one bonus, an alternate take of the title track.

Hit the jump to meet Mister T. and go back to the Beginning. We’ve also got track listings, order links and discographical info for all four titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 27, 2011 at 14:02

Review: Don Sebesky, “Giant Box”

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Why can’t jazz be populist and pure, both at the same time?  One imagines Creed Taylor asked that question when he launched CTI (Creed Taylor Incorporated) as a solo label back in 1970.  Three years earlier he had decamped from Verve and christened the CTI name as an imprint of Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss’ A&M Records.  At A&M, Taylor produced nearly 30 albums by such jazz greats as Wes Montgomery, Montgomery’s heir apparent George Benson, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Herbie Mann.  Taylor’s maverick plans extended beyond making jazz commercial; each album was a lavish art object, usually adorned with striking (and often provocative) photographs, many by Pete Turner. Thanks to their jacket visuals, CTI albums stood out from the rest.  Don Sebesky was the “house arranger” at the independent CTI, applying lush orchestral settings to most releases which lent them a unified sound.  (Composer and arranger Sebesky has gone on to a second career as a theatrical orchestrator, and his current projects include recreating the pop sound of the 1960s in the new musical Baby, It’s You!)

Though his name adorned countless CTI albums, Taylor also gave Sebesky the opportunity to stretch out on his own…or more accurately, with a little help from his (usual) friends.  Masterworks Jazz has just reissued Sebesky’s 1973 Giant Box (88697 86743 2, 2011) for the first time domestically on CD, and while it’s a Don Sebesky solo album by name, it’s more a meeting of some of the most remarkable names in jazz: Freddie Hubbard, George Benson, Ron Carter, Grover Washington, Jr., Paul Desmond, Jackie Cain, Roy Kral, Bob James, Airto Moreira and Milt Jackson, to name a few.

Sebesky began working with Taylor at Verve in the mid-sixties, where he crafted the orchestral arrangements on the Taylor-produced LPs for guitarist Wes Montgomery, many of which featured current pop covers not typically part of the jazz songbook.  Sebesky related that at CTI, Taylor would “take a given artist, find his commercial potential and draw in a larger audience.  So many listeners who were pop-oriented fans could come in the back door and discover jazz.”  The sprawling, eclectic Giant Box follows this mandate, and it’s a valuable entrée into the identifiable CTI sound and indeed, to jazz and fusion.  Taylor and Sebesky’s style wouldn’t win over every jazz purist, but the music they created together has held up remarkably well.

It was at Verve that Sebesky, who began his career as a trombonist, released his first solo records, both from 1968: Don Sebesky and the Jazz-Rock Syndrome and Distant Galaxy.  Both are a mixture of orchestrated jazz with pronounced pop/rock and soul overtones, and anticipate his work at CTI.  (Both albums are also very much of their time, which is far from intended as an insult.)  On the former, Sebesky tackles “I Dig Rock and Roll Music” and “You’ve Got Your Troubles,” while the latter features familiar titles like “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “I Wish It Would Rain.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 25, 2011 at 13:32

Release Round-Up: Week of April 12

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Bob Dylan, In Concert: Brandeis University, 1963 (Columbia/Legacy)

Did you miss this when it first came to pass as a bonus disc with Amazon orders of the latest Bootleg Series? Here’s your second chance. (Official site)

Danny Elfman, The Tim Burton/Danny Elfman 25th Anniversary Music Box (Warner Bros.)

Can you believe it? These things are finally starting to ship after four months and endless posts of addressing speculation and delays. (Official site)

Jimi Hendrix, South Saturn Delta / Band of Gypsys Live at Fillmore East / Power of Soul: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix (Experience Hendrix/Legacy)

The latest bunch of Hendrix reissues through Legacy are the South Saturn Delta outtakes album, the Band of Gypsys DVD and – perhaps most interesting – a rare tribute compilation featuring Prince, Santana, Sting, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton and more. (Official site)

George Benson, Beyond the Blue Horizon / Freddie Hubbard, First Light / Stanley Turrentine, Salt Song / Don Sebesky, Giant Box (CTI/Masterworks Jazz)

Fresh off the Creed Taylor “cool revolution” as encapsulated in the First Impulse! box set from Hip-O Select, Masterworks reissues four classic records from the CTI roster. Three of them are expanded with alternate and rare material. (Amazon: Benson, Hubbard, Turrentine, Sebesky)

Booker T. & The MG’s, The Best of Booker T. & The MG’s / Journey, Infinity (Vinyl) (Friday Music)

Some new vinyl reissues from Friday Music coming to a store near you. (Friday Music: Booker T. & The MG’s, Journey)

Jeff Buckley, Grace (Vinyl) (Columbia/Legacy)

Another vinyl reissue – 180 grams of Grace. (Amazon)

Jack Johnson, Brushfire Fairytales (Everloving)

A 10th anniversary remaster/reissue for the Hawaiian singer-songwriter’s debut record. (Amazon)

And let’s not forget all the releases for Record Store Day this Saturday!

Masterworks Jazz Continues “Cool Revolution” with a Quartet from CTI

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Chances are, if you think of a jazz artist, it wouldn’t take many degrees of separation to reach Creed Taylor. The esteemed producer began his career at Bethlehem Records overseeing a roster including Herbie Mann, Charles Mingus, Carmen McRae, J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding. In 1956, he departed Bethlehem for ABC-Paramount, where in 1960 he launched the Impulse! label with artists like Johnson, Winding, Ray Charles and John Coltrane. It was at Impulse! that Taylor came into his own, emphasizing that jazz and popular music could indeed co-exist and overlap, and seeing that LP packaging met the high standards of the music within. Taylor didn’t remain at Impulse! long, however. In 1961, he signed with Verve and championed Antonio Carlos Jobim and the bossa nova’s rise in America. By 1967, Taylor was already a legend in the field when he formed CTI Records, first as a label of Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss’ A&M Records, and then as an independent beginning in 1970. CTI went on to define the sound of jazz in the 1970s, and even its look, insisting on lavish gatefold LP covers that stood out from the rest, often adorned with striking photographs, many by Pete Turner. Don Sebesky, who has gone on to a successful second career as a theatrical orchestrator, was the “house arranger,” giving many of the label’s releases a unified musical signature. And while some purists gave Taylor flack for his “crossover” fusion records and pop covers, CTI’s repertoire has stood the test of time.

Late last year, Sony’s Masterworks Jazz Division released the acclaimed four-CD box set CTI Records: The Cool Revolution (88697 76821-2, 2010) documenting CTI’s prime period between 1970 and 1975. On April 19, Universal dips back even further for First Impulse: The Creed Taylor Collection 50th Anniversary box set as reported by Mike earlier this week. One week earlier, however, Masterworks continues its CTI campaign with four more titles, all remastered for CD from the original analog 2-track ¼-inch tapes for the first time. This brings the total number of individual album reissues in this series up to a healthy seventeen…and hopefully more are to come! Hit the jump for full details on this latest batch, featuring albums by George Benson, Freddie Hubbard, Don Sebesky and Stanley Turrentine! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 4, 2011 at 09:39