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Master of “Time and Space”: Ace Arranger Jimmy Wisner Reissues Early Jazz Recordings

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The list of artists with whom Jimmy “Wiz” Wisner has worked is rather staggering: Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, Neil Sedaka, Iggy Pop, Carly Simon, Al Kooper, Tommy James and the Shondells, The Searchers…the list goes on.  But although everybody knows “Palisades Park” (on which Wisner played organ for Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon) or “Sunday Will Never Be the Same” (which Wisner arranged for Spanky and Our Gang), few know the music he’s created as a solo artist.  ABKCO is seeking to redress this with the recent release of Time and Space.  This 10-track compilation draws on the two albums Wisner recorded for Philadelphia’s Cameo-Parkway Records for C-P’s Wyncote imprint, 1964’s The Girl from Ipanema and 1965’s Cast Your Fate to the Wind.  The former, originally credited to “Jimmy Davis” and “Norma Lee,” features Wisner on piano and Norma Mendoza on vocals, while the latter finds Wisner flying solo under his own name.  Unfortunately for Ms. Mendoza, Time and Space is an all-instrumental affair, showcasing Jimmy Wisner’s considerable gifts as a jazz composer and pianist.

The recipient of 36 Gold and 22 Platinum awards, Wisner also co-wrote The Searchers’ hit “Don’t Throw Your Love Away” and has been involved with over 100 hit records as producer, arranger or composer.  But he’s long held a soft spot for these very personal albums recorded for Wyncote, and recently approached ABKCO (the successor to Cameo-Parkway) about their reissue.  The result is Time and Space, which takes five tracks from each of the two albums.  Although credits on the actual album are sparse, it appears that Wisner has remixed and/or overdubbed many of these tracks; ABKCO’s press release indicates that Wisner has “improved the original recordings with a very contemporary approach including enhancements he’d had in mind for more than five decades.”

We’ve got more on “Wiz” Wisner after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 31, 2012 at 10:06