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The Impulse! Box Has a Track List (UPDATED 3/22)

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UPDATE 3/22: You can now order this box set through Hip-o Select here.

We have some more info on the aforementioned Impulse! Records box set coming from Universal in April, thanks to our friends at Record Racks.

As previously mentioned, First Impulse: The Creed Taylor Collection 50th Anniversary box is going to compile the label’s first six LPs by the likes of Kai Winding, Gil Evans, Ray Charles and John Coltrane, all of which were produced by label founder Taylor, along with rare and unreleased material across four discs. We now have the track list for your perusal.

The set is in mostly chronological order across the first three discs; the Kai Winding LPs, the first and third for the label, are combined onto one disc, with the rest following chronologically. The fourth disc collects the mono single version of Ray Charles’ “One Mint Julep,” a Gil Evans bonus track, all of the alternate takes from Coltrane’s Africa/Brass sessions (previously released as a 1974 LP and a 1995 deluxe set) and three previously unreleased rehearsal takes of Coltrane’s. All in all, not a bad set for jazz fans.

The box is set for release April 19. Hit the jump for the full rundown! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 22, 2011 at 12:10

Ray Charles “Live in Concert” to Be Expanded

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Ray Charles took the Shrine Auditorium by storm in 1964, following a tour of Japan. That fiery show was recorded (unbeknownst to the Genius himself) and released as Live in Concert in 1965. Now, Concord is prepping an expanded edition of the concert with several unreleased bonus tracks from the same show.

Though the original 12-track LP touched on some great hits and standards as only Ray could sing them – “What’d I Say,” “I Got a Woman” and “Hallelujah, I Love Her So” chief among them – the expanded set list includes several more of Charles’ most famous cuts as played at the show, including “One Mint Julep” and “Georgia on My Mind.” The set includes new liner notes by Bill Dahl on the show (and the man in concert), and is presented in a new 24-bit digital remaster.

This new package will be out April 5; order it here and hit the jump for the track list.

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Written by Mike Duquette

March 2, 2011 at 11:12

Posted in News, Ray Charles, Reissues

UMe Gets Impulsive with Forthcoming Box Set

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Universal Music Group has an impressive array of jazz titles in their library. Defining labels of the genre like Verve and Mercury are jewels in UMe’s crown, while the catalogues of Concord and Fantasy are distributed domestically by Universal as well.

One of the more arguably underrated vintage labels in Universal’s family, though, is Impulse! Records. The label, founded by Creed Taylor in 1960 as a label in the ABC-Paramount group, may not be as long-running as the others in Universal’s catalogue, but it was incredibly notable in its time, offering a hip, fresh take on jazz in terms of content and packaging. (The orange, black and white logo and label design remains one of the greatest logos in music history.) Early artists on the label included trombonist Kai Winding, Gil Evans, Count Basie and Ray Charles, fresh off his tenure with Atlantic Records. But the most notable would have to be John Coltrane, whose saxophone skills and pioneering work in the hard bop and free jazz styles cemented his legacy far beyond his too-early death in 1967 at the age of 40.

Last year marked the 50th anniversary of Impulse! and this one would have been Coltrane’s 85th year. Thus, a celebration is inevitable, and it will kick off this spring with the release of First Impulse! The Creed Taylor Collection. This four-disc collection looks to represent the first half-dozen or so titles for the label as produced by Taylor, before he was hired away by Verve, ironically enough. Those titles would be J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding’s The Great Kai & J.J., Ray Charles’ Genius + Soul = Jazz (itself reissued last year), Winding’s The Incredible Kai Winding Trombones, Gil Evans’ Out of the Cool and Coltrane’s Africa/Brass.

Though a firm track list is not in place, it appears as though all of those records will be replicated across the discs (marking the domestic CD debut for both albums by Winding). It’s also been revealed that rare and unreleased material will be present. Chief among them is an unreleased Coltrane session with trumpeter Cal Massey in the producer’s chair, featuring three demos sessions leading up to the Africa/Brass LP.

An Amazon pre-order link exists for this set (which lacks a firm release date, although we’ve been told the box is due in April); from the looks of that link, we should expect an order page from Hip-o Select before long. As always, keep it here for news on the set as it happens.

Written by Mike Duquette

February 21, 2011 at 15:16

The Year in Reissues, Part III: The Gold Bonus Disc Awards

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Well, another New Year is in sight, the CD still isn’t dead (told you so!) and celebration is in the air at The Second Disc. Back on December 23, Mike shared The Year in Reissues both here and over with our pals at Popdose. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 bucks until you read these indispensable columns!

Are you back with me? Good. Now, I’d like to take this opportunity to take a fun look back at a few of my favorite things via Joe’s Gold Bonus Disc Awards! I’m awarding these to the reissues that have raised the bar over the past 12 months. You’ll notice a number of titles that have already been praised by Mike, as well as new entries, but overall, I’ve simply tried to recognize as many diverse, worthy releases as possible. It’s my sincere hope, though, that you’ll take a chance on a title previously unknown to you; all of the artists, producers, and labels mentioned here have kept great music alive in 2010.

Friends, as always, please share your thoughts and comments below. Without further ado, let’s celebrate 2010’s best of the best. Welcome to the Gold Bonus Disc Awards!

Which releases take home the gold?  Hit the jump to find out! Read the rest of this entry »

More Catalogue Gold from the Grammys

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Just as we noted the box sets and other catalogue sets that were nominated for Grammys this year, we would also like to tip the hat to the recordings that were put into the Grammy Hall of Fame, as announced Monday.

Thirty recordings, including nine LPs, have been added to a group that now includes 881 classic pieces of music. The oldest recordings on the list are two singles, “Dark Was the Night – Cold Was the Ground” by Blind Willie Johnson and “My Mammy” by Al Jolson (both released in 1927); the newest is Prince and The Revolution’s Purple Rain, released in 1984.

Rest assured we’ll be covering some of these recordings in future Reissue Theory posts!

Read the press release here; the complete list is after the jump.

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Taylor, King, Vaughan, Joel, More Due from MoFi in 2011

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Start saving your pennies now. In an eye-opening move, audiophile specialty label Mobile Fidelity has announced a massive slate of releases across the CD, SACD and LP formats scheduled for 2011.  Longtime collectors of audiophile masterings may get a thrill at seeing the “Original Master Recording” banner above the works of classic artists ranging from Tony Bennett and Ray Charles to Carole King and James Taylor.

While this writer has some quibbles (why no CDs or SACDs for Bennett, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Costello’s releases?) and some questions (will the reissue of Billy Joel’s Turnstiles include the unaltered “New York State of Mind,” for one thing?) the lineup offers something for everyone. Among the most exciting releases are SACDs for Carole King, James Taylor and Joel, all of whom had titles released when Sony was releasing titles regularly in the format. The MoFi campaigns for artists such as The Band, The Pretenders and Ray Charles also continue, and the legendary Stevie Ray Vaughan is the recipient of no fewer than five reissues. Joel, the recipient of a major reissue campaign from Legacy in 2011, interestingly sees his audiophile catalogue make a jump from Audio Fidelity to Mobile Fidelity with Piano Man and Turnstiles, joining The Pretenders and The Band among the artists in this batch with audiophile discs from both specialist labels.

All titles are mastered from the original tapes, and the SACD versions present the original stereo mixes only. Hit the jump for the full list of titles with track listings, and thanks to our friends at MusicTAP for the heads-up on this exciting roll-out. All titles can be pre-ordered here. Read the rest of this entry »

Reissue Theory: Quincy Jones, “Back on the Block”

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Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we reflect on well-known albums of the past and the reissues they could someday see. This week, Quincy Jones’ latest mingling with a new generation of artists leads to a recollection of the first (and best) time he did it.

Last week saw the release of Q: Soul Bossa Nostra, the first full-fledged studio album by Quincy Jones since Basie and Beyond back in 2000. Now, Q is one of the greatest figures in pop and soul music alive today. He’s been nominated for more Grammys than anyone (79 nods, 27 wins), produced the highest-selling album of all time (Thriller, naturally) and maintains a healthy role as musical elder statesman and social activist, even at 77 years old.

Naturally, the album is exactly what you’d expect it to be: part victory lap, part reach across the aisle to a new generation of artists and almost entirely unnecessary on a Santana post-millenial level. “Ironside,” “The Streetbeater (Sanford & Son),” “Strawberry Letter 23” and “Pretty Young Thing” aren’t screaming out for guest appearances by Akon, Ludacris, John Legend, T-Pain, but they’re all bizarrely recast here. And that list doesn’t even mention the truly insane cover of “The Secret Garden (Sweet Seduction Suite),” a 1989 quiet-storm jam that originally featured Al B. Sure!, James Ingram, El DeBarge and Barry White but now features Usher, Tyrese, Robin Thicke, LL Cool J, Tevin Campbell and the vocal track of Maestro White echoing from beyond the grave.

It’s not that the all-star/new-generation formula is alien to Jones; hell, he practically pioneered it two decades ago with Back on the Block, the album from which “Secret Garden” came from. That disc also featured appearances by Ray Charles, Chaka Khan, Siedah Garrett, Tevin Campbell (one of his first appearances on record), Ice-T and, in their last recorded appearances, blues/soul legends Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan.

Call it ridiculous if you want, but Back on the Block easily predicted the success of Santana’s Supernatural and the like by peaking within Billboard‘s Top 10 and winning seven Grammys including Album of the Year. Unlike Santana, though, this isn’t your contemporary cash grab; there’s a lot of stuff here for everyone, from traditional soul and blues to rap and even some jazz fusion. The formula may be played out (and the artists of today nowhere near as laudable as prior generations had been), but Back on the Block proves, in a roundabout way, Jones’ ability and desire to unite audiences of all walks of life with his music.

After the jump, take a look at our idea of what a slightly expanded Back on the Block could look like, featuring five of the many remixes commissioned in support of the album, including a head-turning cameo by British electronic act 808 State! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

November 18, 2010 at 15:28

Release Round-Up: Week of October 26

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And now, here it is: the catalogue titles coming to your local stores this week.

Various Artists including James Taylor, Billy Preston and Badfinger, The Apple Records remasters (Apple/EMI)

This year’s Beatles remasters are remasters of albums on The Beatles’ short-lived Apple label. There’s a lot of great, varied stuff to be hand across many genres. There’s 14 individual remasters plus a new compilation with some other hard-to-find tunes (Come and Get It: The Best of Apple Records), not to mention an indie sampler (10 Green Apples) and a 17-disc box set compiling all those discs alongside two more CDs of extra tracks only otherwise available through digital providers (those digital bonus cuts – as of this writing, which was penned several hours before it was posted – seem to have not been made available through online retailers). (Official site)

Miles Davis, The Genius of Miles Davis (Columbia/Legacy)

Did you miss all the out-of-print Miles Davis session box sets? Do you have $750 to spare? Do you like box sets packed with extra swag inside a trumpet case? Then this is the best day of your life. The Genius of Miles Davis is 43 discs of the trumpet legend, packed in 21 pounds of material possession. (Sony Music Digital)

The Monkees, Head: Deluxe Edition (Rhino Handmade)

The Pre-Fab Four’s most bizarre project is extensively expanded to three discs of psychedelia, live cuts, outtakes, alternate mixes and vintage interviews with Davy Jones. If you’ve a Monkees fan in your inner circle, this is the holiday gift they’ll thank you for. (Rhino)

Crowded House, The Very Very Best Of Crowded House (EMI/Capitol)

A new best-of from the Aussie pop masters takes the best of their career save this year’s excellent Intriguer. A digital edition features an expanded track list and a live B-side. (Amazon, iTunes)

There’s more after the jump, of course.

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Short Takes: Ray Charles Unearthed, Steve Miller Band Reissued

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A couple short announcements to kick off your Friday morning – one regarding a Ray Charles compilation we’ve been waiting to learn more about, the other regarding a reissue of a classic ’70s rock album.

First, our gratitude to Vintage Vinyl News for lifting the curtain on Ray Charles’ Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters, coming October 26 from Concord. This ten-track set includes entirely unreleased material from several phases of The Genius’ career, from the ’70s to the ’90s. The first single will be a duet with another dearly departed musician, the Man in Black himself, Johnny Cash. Bill Dahl has penned the liner notes to this set, which looks to shed some light on where each track came from.

Then we turn to Classic Rock magazine for this neat tidbit: Demon Music Group is releasing an expanded edition of The Steve Miller Band’s Fly Like an Eagle. Apparently, though, it looks like the content will be identical to the 30th anniversary edition released Stateside by Capitol in 2006 – three bonus demos and a DVD including a 5.1 surround mix and live material recorded at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in California the previous year. Still, if you’ve missed it, perhaps now’s as good a time as any to pick it up.

Check the track lists for both after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 10, 2010 at 11:27

Genius + Soul + Reissue = Lots of Jazz

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The previously-reported reissue of Ray Charles’ Genius + Soul = Jazz has finally been given a track list by its distributor, Concord Records. Not much in the way of previously unreleased content (one vault cut), but this two-disc set will pull four Ray LPs back into print.

The package, due April 6, will feature Genius + Soul = Jazz as well as My Kind of Jazz (1970), Jazz Number II (1973) and My Kind of Jazz Part III (1975). (My Kind of Jazz was paired up with Genius + Soul = Jazz for a Rhino reissue in 1997.) It will also feature new liner notes by Wall Street Journal jazz critic Will Friedwald as well as the original liner notes for each record.

The full track list can be found below the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 10, 2010 at 10:26

Posted in News, Ray Charles, Reissues