Xanadu producer Don Schlitten writes in the opening line of the original liner notes: “This is the first in a series of albums recorded Live in Tokyo, Japan in April of 1976 from the first (of what we hope to be many) Silver Session Tours in that country.” Featuring bassist Sam Jones and drummer Leroy Williams (drums), Barry Harris – Live in Tokyo “finds him in superbly swinging form, spurred on by the hand-in-glove rhythm tandem of Jones and Williams.” (Bill Milkowski). Deluxe CD includes a 16-page book with original liner notes essays by producer Don Schlitten and Japanese jazz critic Shoichi Yui, a new essay by jazz journalist Bill Milkowski, and extra photos and session notes. First US reissue since the original LP release in 1976.
The smoking alto saxophonist Charles McPherson is joined by guitarist Jimmy Raney, pianist Barry Harris, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Leroy Williams live in Japan in 1976. McPherson says about the Japanese audiences, “They were very polite during the performance, but afterwards they’d come backstage like they were about to burst with appreciation, and it was genuine.” Deluxe CD includes a 16-page book with original liner notes essay by author Tom Piazza, restored original artwork, plus extra photos and session notes, and a new essay by jazz journalist Bill Milkowski who notes: “Bird’s music was very much in evidence on this tour, and particularly on McPherson’s set at Nakano Sun Plaza Hall on April 14, in Tokyo.” First US reissue since the original 1976 LP release.
On the 1976 Silver Session Tour of Japan, Barry Harris played the first set with Sam Jones (bass) and Leroy Williams (drums), then “the world’s greatest Jazz guitarist” (according to Don Schlitten) Jimmy Raney took Harris’s spot and played a stellar trio set of his own with Jones and Williams. This deluxe CD includes a 16-page book with original liner notes essay by producer Don Schlitten plus extra photos and session notes, and a new essay by jazz journalist Bill Milkowski who notes: “His obituary in the New York Times called him ‘one of the most gifted and influential postwar jazz guitarists in the world.’ Those gifts are on full display on Live in Tokyo.” First US reissue since the original 1976 LP release.
“BROOKLYN BROTHERS is truly a meeting of kindred spirits in perfect harmony. CECIL PAYNE and DUKE JORDAN are self-effacing people, but their music is strong and it takes on an extra richness when they are together. This is perhaps the most wholly satisfying session they have put down in an association which spans four decades.” – Mark Gardner, from the original LP liner notes.
This 1973 recording was Payne and Jordan’s seventh together, and was the first in the previous 11 years. Deluxe CD includes 16-page book with original liner notes essay by Mark Gardner and new essay by jazz journalist Ted Panken, plus extra photos and session notes. Original session Produced & Directed by Don Schlitten. Album design & cover photo by Don Schlitten. The first US reissue in 10 years!
Bassist SAM JONES’ second Xanadu release as a leader, CHANGES & THINGS, features an all-star sextet with Blue Mitchell, Slide Hampton, Bob Berg, Barry Harris & Louis Hayes. This is a swinging, feel good session with burning solos all along the way. Deluxe CD includes 16-page book with original liner notes essay by Chris Sheridan and new essay by jazz journalist Bill Milkowski, plus extra photos and session notes. Original session Produced & Directed by Don Schlitten. Album design & cover photo by Don Schlitten. First US reissue on CD since the original LP release in 1978.
“Sam adds something to a session which is subtle and difficult to put your finger on. You’d miss it if he wasn’t there because he’s one of the great bassists.”– Sonny Rollins
THE INIMITABLE TEDDY EDWARDS with Duke Jordan, Larry Ridley and Freddie Waits is a stellar outing by one of the most individual and resourceful tenor saxophonists in jazz, Teddy Edwards. His second release on Xanadu Records, The Inimitable was only his second release over the previous nine years and a rare New York recording for the Los Angeles-based saxophonist. Deluxe CD includes 16-page book with original liner notes essay by Mark Gardner and new essay by jazz journalist Ted Panken, plus extra photos and session notes. Original session Produced & Directed by Don Schlitten. Album design & cover photo by Don Schlitten. First US reissue since the original LP release in 1976.
BEAUTIFUL! is alto saxophonist CHARLES McPHERSON’s tenth album as a leader, and the first dedicated entirely to popular songs. Featuring Duke Jordan on piano, Sam Jones on bass, and Leroy Williams on drums, this 1975 session is classic, straight-ahead bebop at its finest. Deluxe CD includes 16-page book with essays by jazz writer Ted Panken and producer Zev Feldman, plus extra photos and session notes. Original session Produced & Directed by Don Schlitten. Album design & cover photo by Don Schlitten. First CD reissue in over 20 years.
HOME IS WHERE THE SOUL IS is one of only two albums bop pianist KENNY DREW recorded in the states after moving permanently to Copenhagen in 1961. Producer Don Schlitten says in the liner notes, “The concept was to bring Kenny home to ‘the cats’ and home to that ‘hip’ style of comping that only a bassist like Leroy Vinnegar can set you up for. And for some of that real Bebop time, who could ask for a better drummer than Frank Butler. Deluxe CD includes 16-page book with essays by jazz writer Ted Panken and producer Zev Feldman, plus extra photos and session notes. Original session Produced & Directed by Don Schlitten. Album design & cover photo by Don Schlitten. First CD reissue in over 20 years.
Alto saxophonist SONNY CRISS emerged in the late 1960s from a six-year period of soul-searching and self-examination and recorded 7 albums over 3 years with producer Don Schlitten for Prestige Records. SATURDAY MORNING was his first album released under his own name in the 1970s, and features pianist Barry Harris, bassist Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Lenny McBrowne. “When you hear Sonny Criss play you hear a tone like no other –a piercing, passionate sound from the heart. It sears the listener. Catch just a couple of bars of his playing and you know right away who is handling that saxophone with such consummate skill.” – Mark Gardner, from the original liner notes. This deluxe CD contains the original liner notes by Mark Gardner, and new essays by Ted Panken and producer Zev Feldman, plus extra photos and session notes. Original session Produced & Directed by Don Schlitten. Album design & cover photo by Don Schlitten. First CD reissue in over 10 years
“Sonny Criss was like the Shadow. He was a master saxophonist. He played very, very beautifully.” — Ornette Coleman
BOB BERG, the young tenor burner from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, blew with the kind of Coltrane-like urgency and technique that his Philadelphia born colleague Michael Brecker also possessed. Along with former Horace Silver Quintet bandmates Tom Harrell on trumpet and Mike Richmond on bass, Berg is joined by his mentor Cedar Walton on piano, veteran drummer Al Foster and percussionist Sammy Figueroa on NEW BIRTH, his debut as a leader. Together they cut a wide stylistic swath on four originals and two well-chosen cover tunes. The first US reissue since the original LP release, this deluxe CD contains the original liner notes with words by Bob Berg himself, and new essays by Bill Milkowski and producer Zev Feldman, plus extra photos and session notes. Original session Produced & Directed by Don Schlitten. Album design & cover photo by Don Schlitten. First US reissue since the original LP release in 1978
“Tenor saxophonist Bob Berg channeled the bold dynamics of hard bop to emerge as one of contemporary jazz’s most expressive and resourceful improvisers, honing a richly articulated sound bolstered by flawless technical command.” – Jason Ankeny, AllMusic.com
Following a long sabbatical after battling addiction, Xanadu Records producer Don Schlittlen welcomed FRANK BUTLER back to the scene by offering the veteran drummer his long-overdue debut as a leader, which resulted in 1977’s THE STEPPER. This stellar session, featuring Xanadu house pianist Dolo Coker, bassist Monty Budwig and tenor saxophonist Jack Montrose (the West Coast Montrose, not to be confused with the East Coast tenor player J.R. Montrose), reestablished Butler’s reputation and added immeasurably to his recorded legacy. The first reissue since the original LP release, this deluxe CD contains original liner notes by Pete Welding with new essays by Bill Milkowski and producer Zev Feldman, plus extra photos and session notes. Original session Produced & Directed by Don Schlitten. Album design & cover photo by Don Schlitten. Papa Jo Jones once called Butler “the greatest drummer in the world!” First US reissue since the original LP release in 1977.
A solidly swinging 1976 quartet date, CUBER LIBRE is baritone saxophonist RONNIE CUBER‘s debut release as a leader. Although he’s mostly known for playing with soul jazz greats like George Benson, Mongo Santamaria and Lonnie Smith (as well as many Steely Dan cuts), this session finds him among a top-notch bop trio of Barry Harris (piano), Sam Jones (bass), and Albert “Tootie” Heath (drums). The first reissue since the original LP release, this deluxe CD contains original liner notes by Ira Gitler with new essays by Bill Milkowski and producer Zev Feldman, plus extra photos. Original session Produced & Directed by Don Schlitten. Album design & cover photo by Don Schlitten.
“Throughout this bop-oriented date, Cuber shows why he has been considered one of the top masters of the baritone during the past 20 years.” – Scott Yanow, AllMusic
The definitive reissue of the classic 1976 Xanadu albums TRUE BLUE and SILVER BLUE featuring DEXTER GORDON/AL COHN (tenor sax) with Blue Mitchell/Sam Noto (trumpet), Barry Harris (piano), Sam Jones (bass) & Louis Hayes (drums). This specially-priced 2-CD set comes with a 14-page booklet with original liner notes by Tom Piazza plus new essays by Ted Panken and producer Zev Feldman. Original session Produced & Directed by Don Schlittlen. Album photo and design by Don Schlitten. Reissue supervised by Don Schlitten.
“Producer Don Schlitten conceived of this session as a welcome-home for Dexter Gordon, a longtime friend and associate. Dexter has made his home in Copenhagen for 14 years, making several trips back to the States. He visited the West Coast in 1975 and Chicago in 1974, but Dexter hadn’t appeared in New York since the Newport/New York Jazz Festival of 1972, where he was not featured to advantage.” – Tom Piazza
From the original liner notes of the album by Tom Piazza: This date was a jam session in the true sense of the word. The personnel was a closely-guarded secret and, as one member after another strolled in, the air warmed with excitement and anticipation. With each new arrival came laughter and greetings; some were meeting for the first time, others were old friends.
The second of four releases on Xanadu in the 1970s, CALIFORNIA HARD was pianist DOLO COKER’s response to the notion that West Coast jazz musicians only played “cool jazz.” Featuring an all-star group including the iconic Art Pepper, in a rare sideman appearance, on alto and tenor saxophone, trumpeter Blue Mitchell, bassist Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Frank Butler. 16-page booklet contains original liner notes by Kent Hazen with new essays by Bill Milkowski and producer Zev Feldman, plus extra photos. Original session Produced & Directed by Don Schlitten. Album design & cover photo by Don Schlitten.
“The well-rounded set has originals by Coker, Pepper (‘Mr Yohe’) and Mitchell (a drum feature for Butler on ‘Roots 4fb’) along with a showcase for the trio (‘Gone Again’) and a vintage standard (‘Gone with the Wind’). A strong effort.” – Scott Yanow, AllMusic
His first entire album of solo piano pieces, recorded in 1982, KENNY BARRON‘s At The Piano is a must-have album for jazz piano lovers. The album is comprised of four Barron originals, and four standards, two of which were at the time of the release the only known solo piano pieces by the inimitable Thelonius Monk – “Misterioso” and “Rhythm-A-Ning.” “Along with the duets he recorded with Stan Getz, this stands as the high-water mark in his stellar recording career.” – Robert Taylor, AllMusic.com
After stretching out into the fusion realm in the early 1970s with Return to Forever and a number of albums on CTI, JOE FARRELL‘s 1979 album Skate Board Park was a return to his straight-ahead roots and features Chick Corea on electric and acoustic piano, Bob Magnusson on bass and Larance Marable on drums. “This valuable and very musical outing is long overdue to be reissued on CD.” – Scott Yanow, AllMusic.com
TEDDY EDWARD‘s 1975 album Feelin’s is a soulful sextet session with Edwards on tenor saxophone, Conte Candoli on trumpet, Dolo Coker on piano, Ray Brown on bass, Frank Butler on drums, and Jerry Steinholz on congas/percussion. “Teddy Edwards had not made a recording as a leader for quite a while at the time of this 1974 studio session . . . though after hearing this recording, one wonders why it took so long for someone to sign him . . . Long out of print, this disc is well worth acquiring.” – Ken Dryden, AllMusic.com
ELEMENTAL MUSIC AND WIDOW’S TASTE MUSIC PRESENT
ART PEPPER LIVE AT FAT TUESDAY’S
Previously unissued, remastered CD by alto sax great Art Pepper from an April, 1981 engagement at New York’s iconic jazz club out November 20, 2015
Detailed booklet includes interviews, essays from Stepháne Ollivier, Steve Getz, Brian Priestly, John Koenig, and Laurie Pepper
Art Pepper Live at Fat Tuesday’sfeatures five extended live performances at the famed New York jazz club from the spring of 1981, Pepper’s most fertile period since his re-emergence onto the music scene in the mid-1970s, after years in prison and rehabilitation from drug addiction. Recorded April 15, 1981, the session featured Pepper flanked by a rhythm section composed of Pepper’s long-time associate, pianist Milcho Leviev, and two all-star guests, bassist George Mraz and drummer Al Foster.
Due out November 20, 2015 on Elemental Music (distributed in the U.S. by INgrooves), the package contains a 40-page booklet that includes: noted jazz historian and author Brian Priestley’s lengthy and probing 1980 interview with Pepper; an essay by French music scholar and journalist Stéphane Ollivier; producer Zev Feldman’s interview with Pepper’s widow, Laurie Pepper, who not only was her husband’s muse and closest collaborator, but who had vivid memories of the Fat Tuesday’s dates; a personal recollection by jazz producer John Koenig; and a first-person account by Fat Tuesday’s general manager, Steve Getz, of Pepper’s engagement at the club, as well as previously unpublished photographs by Laurie Pepper. The set will be available on CD and digital download.
According to producer Zev Feldman, the release of this album is a real stroke of luck; it could easily never have seen the light of day. Feldman explains, “In January of 2015, I received a phone call from Elemental’s CFO, Carlos Augustin, who informed me that label owner Jordi Soley had located a collector’s tape of Art Pepper recorded live at New York’s iconic jazz club, Fat Tuesday’s, in April of 1981.” The discovery of a previously unheard Art Pepper recording was a thrilling prospect for Elemental’s president, Jordi Soley, and for Feldman; Art Pepper is one of their absolute favorite jazz artists. Feldman continues, “I’ve been an Art Pepper fan since my early 20s when I was just starting my career in the music business and I discovered and was awestruck by his late-’70s to early ‘80s recordings.”
When Feldman learned of the existence of the tape and Soley and his team at Elemental had negotiated with Laurie Pepper to make it an official release, he determined to build the best album package possible to celebrate Pepper’s memory.
One of Feldman’s first moves was to bring in jazz producer John Koenig, who had worked with Pepper in the ‘70s, as an executive producer to work with Feldman on the album package and to bring to the project his memories of Art as a musician and as a man. And Feldman and the Elemental team assembled an outstanding array of voices, not only to place Pepper in historical perspective, but also to try to place listeners inside Fat Tuesday’s as the recording was made.
The recordings that make up this set, presented by Elemental Music and Widow’s Taste, represent Art Pepper — in his latest period — at his artistic peak. Having the benefit of a superb and sympathetic rhythm section, and in the intimacy of the leading New York jazz club whose management prided itself on creating a comfortable atmosphere for musicians so they could be at their best, Pepper was able to reach deep and produce some of his finest performances yet to be heard on record.
As Priestley has noted, “As with all of the major jazz soloists, the power of [Art] Pepper’s music outlives the circumstances in which it was created.” Art Pepper was an artist whose music embodied both transcendent beauty and powerful swing. His recorded output is celebrated decades after his death as art of the highest order. And the 1981 live engagement at Fat Tuesday’s in New York City that is presented on this album is among his finest recordings.
Pepper’s regrets regarding his own drug abuse are underscored in a poignant passage from the Priestley interview included in this album, in which Pepper recalled a conversation he had with one of his most important musical heroes, John Coltrane:
[We] [Pepper and Coltrane] became very good friends, and he told me, “You were given a gift by God, and to just ruin it by being a junkie, it’s really a crime. It wasn’t given to you just for your own selfish reason, it was given to you so that you could give it to the other people.” He had went through all those things and stopped, and that’s why he practiced continuously. And he said, “You’re a great player,” and that was the greatest compliment I’ve ever gotten in my life, for John Coltrane to say that. Because he is an idol of mine. So now I’m trying to give it.
Pianist Milcho Leviev, from Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second-largest city, is not only a pianist, but a noted composer and arranger in both jazz and classical music. In the early 1970s, Leviev relocated to Los Angeles. He encountered Art Pepper in the Don Ellis Orchestra, where Leviev served as pianist and arranger. Leviev has also performed and recorded with John Klemmer, Roy Haynes, Dave Holland, Gerald Wilson and Jack Sheldon. In the early ‘80s, he was one of the founders of the band Free Flight.
Virtuoso Czech bassist George Mraz was a member of Oscar Peterson’s group, and has worked with Pepper Adams, Stan Getz, Michel Petrucciani, Stephane Grappelli, Tommy Flanagan, Jimmy Raney, Chet Baker and many other important jazz musicians. Mraz is featured prominently on Pepper’s legendary 1977 Village Vanguard recordings on Contemporary Records featuring Pepper, Mraz, pianist George Cables and drummer Elvin Jones.
Drummer Al Foster has been closely associated with Miles Davis, both during the 1970s and in the early ‘80s, when Davis returned to music after a hiatus of several years. Foster has also worked with a virtual Who’s Who of jazz: from Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson and Cannonball Adderley, to Freddie Hubbard, Thelonious Monk, Horace Silver and many others. This is the only recording on record of Foster with Pepper.
“Rhythm-a-ning,” by Thelonious Monk, first appeared on the 1957 Riverside album Mulligan Meets Monk. It’s an angular yet rollicking, up-tempo groove based on so-called rhythm changes, which is to say, the chord changes of George Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm.” The track begins at a high energy level with several choruses of melodic solos that even hark back to Art’s earliest saxophone influence, Lester Young. The urgent instrumental tone, though, is definitely early 1980s rather than mid-1950s and, after the first three minutes of the six-minute solo, there are instances of more distorted tones, sudden flurries and isolated use of upper-register screams.
Cole Porter’s 1929 song “What Is This Thing Called Love?” has become a jazz standard. Here, Pepper takes it at a medium tempo, with avant-garde elements appearing from early on, integrated into passages that still harken back to the familiar Pepper sound heard earlier in his recorded output.
Benny Goodman used Gordon Jenkins’s 1935 composition “Goodbye” as the closing theme for his orchestra. Pepper had a great affinity for it and his approach is, as it always was when he played it, to take it as a very slow ballad full of moodiness and lyricism. This is typical of Pepper’s approach to ballads, where he was always at his finest and most expressive.
“Make a List, Make a Wish” and “Red Car” are both compositions by Pepper. “Make a List, Make a Wish” is a typical modular/angular Pepper line that falls into a gospel-ish groove reminiscent of other tunes of the ’60s and ’70s like “Compared to What” as recorded by Les McCann and Eddie Harris.
“Red Car” is a Pepper composition he first recorded on The Trip in 1976. It’s a funk-gospel-infused, medium-tempo blues variant with a groove not unlike “Make a List, Make a Wish,” and gives all of the members of the band a chance to stretch out and play freely and without inhibition.
Art Pepper Live at Fat Tuesday’s is attractively designed by Burton Yount, who has created the artwork for many major jazz album packages, including Thelonious Monk Quartet With John Coltrane Live at Carnegie Hall, Wes Montgomery’s Echoes of Indiana Avenue and Bill Evans’ Live at Art D’Lugoff’s Top of the Gate for Resonance records.
Resurrecting one of the great jazz record labels of the 1970s and 1980s, Elemental Music, in partnership with The Orchard, proudly presents the Xanadu Master Edition Series – a new series of reissues of landmark albums from the vaults of Xanadu Records. Producers and Elemental co-founders Zev Feldman and Jordi Soley have handpicked 25 quintessential albums from the extensive Xanadu catalog in consultation with label founder Don Schlitten. The series features acclaimed titles by jazz greats including Jimmy and Albert “Tootie” Heath, Barry Harris, Kenny Barron, Charles McPherson, Dexter Gordon, Al Cohn, Cecil Payne & Duke Jordan, and Sonny Criss – many of which have never been released on CD before.
Don Schlitten founded Xanadu Records in 1975, following a successful career as a producer for such great jazz labels as Signal Records, Onyx, Prestige, Cobblestone, Muse and Xanadu. Among Xanadu’s more than 100 releases were important recordings by some of the giants of bebop and hard bop, documented at a time when popular tastes were overlooking such classic sounds in favor of electric fusion, rock, R&B and disco.
The label was a “mom and pop” operation, run by Don and his wife and partner Nina. Don recorded the artists, designed the album artwork, photographed the sessions, and occasionally wrote the liner notes – while Nina took care of the legal work, accounting and paperwork. As Nina has said, “Some days I was the secretary, other days I was the attorney.” Together they created a special home for musicians to record and left a profound music legacy.
“First of all, this is very important music that needed to be saved and preserved,” Feldman says. “Xanadu captured all of these amazing artists in their prime, and a lot of this music hasn’t been available for a long time. But this is much more than just another reissue series of great jazz albums for me. This series is also a celebration of the unique vision and contributions that Don Schlitten has made to jazz. He is one of my heroes, and an architect of this music who has left one of the largest footprints of anyone.”
Each of the 25 titles in the Xanadu Master Edition Series will boast deluxe packaging with ‘super jewel cases,’ 16-page booklets containing original artwork and liner notes, including additional photos from Don Schlitten’s personal archives, and new essays penned by British jazz journalist Mark Gardner, who wrote many of the original Xanadu liner notes. The series will be released digitally by The Orchard, with Elemental Music handling the CD & LP releases.
The series will launch on June 30th with the first six titles, including:
Barry Harris, Plays Tadd Dameron: A stellar 1975 trio session featuring the great pianist paying homage to the legendary bebop composer. It was a landmark album at the time, being the first repertoire tribute to the composer since his death a decade earlier.
Jimmy Heath, Pictures of Heath: Phenomenal quartet date featuring five Heath originals and a rendition of “Body and Soul,” with Barry Harris on piano, Sam Jones on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums.
Al Cohn / Jimmy Rowles, Heavy Love: Classic duet recording by tenor man Cohn and pianist Rowles, a delightful encounter with fresh takes on classic tunes. Grammy nominated.
Sam Most, From the Attic of My Mind: The definitive Most album, according to Schlitten, with the fiery flutist supported by pianist Kenny Barron, bassist George Mraz, drummer Walter Bolden, and percussionist Warren Smith.
Albert Heath, Kwanza (The First) aka Oops!: The first album featuring all three Heath brothers is a spiritually-oriented collection that also includes Kenny Barron, trombonist Curtis Fuller, and guitarist Ted Dunbar.
As the project got underway, Feldman soon discovered that many of the original tapes had been damaged or destroyed during Hurricane Sandy in the Fall of 2012 due to flooding where the tapes were stored. In order to live up to the standards already set by Elemental’s previous releases of unreleased music by Jimmy Giuffre and Red Garland, Feldman was forced to embark on a search for the best available source material in existence to make the release of this series a reality.
Feldman explains, “This was one of largest and most important historical preservation efforts I’ve ever been involved with. In many cases, the original tape reels completely unraveled in the floodwater. It was a mess, and as a result we outsourced the audio restoration and had to have the original master reels cleaned wherever possible. Unfortunately, all of the album art negatives, both front and back covers, were completely destroyed, so I had to dig into my personal LP collection to have drum scans made of them and then our designer, Simon Svärd, painstakingly cleaned up every front and back cover to remove all signs of damage or wear. It was an arduous process, but we were on a mission not to just preserve the music, but also the look and feel of the label according to Don’s vision,” says Feldman.
Having become familiar with the impressive depth and quality of Xanadu’s catalog over years of digging through record stacks, and later becoming friends with the Schlittens, Feldman says, “I’ve been a rabid jazz record collector my whole life, and everywhere I travel – in the States, Europe, Japan – I always make sure I get a chance to look through the local record shops, and I can’t go into a record shop and browse the bins without being constantly reminded of the gigantic footprint Don has left on the music. It’s really been an honor to have gotten to know Don and Nina well now, and being conscious of their advancing age, it’s become a chance not only to save, but revitalize this music and celebrate Don’s contributions.”
“I wanted to help create some great music,” says Schlitten today. “I’d had thoughts and feelings about music all my life, and I finally put them together in Xanadu in 1975. These are some of my best works by my favorite artists. I’m very pleased because these are great records and they should be available at all times, forever.”
Other titles coming in 2015/2016 also include:
Kenny Barron, At The Piano (1982)
Teddy Edwards, Feelin’s (1974)
Joe Farrell, Skateboard Park (1979)
Ronnie Cuber, Cuber Libre (1976)
Al Cohn & Dexter Gordon, True Blue & Silver Blue (2CD) (1976)
Dolo Coker, California Hard (1976)
Kenny Drew, Home Is Where The Soul Is (1978)
Charles McPherson, Beautiful (1975)
Frank Butler, The Stepper (1977)
Bob Berg, New Birth (1978)
Sonny Criss, Saturday Morning (1975)
Teddy Edwards, The Inimitable Teddy Edwards (1976)
Sam Jones, Changes & Things (1977)
Cecil Payne & Duke Jordan, Brooklyn Brothers (1973)
“Garland’s Swingin’ on the Korner is culled from pristine board tapes and it finds the incendiary mainstream pianist in the equally explosive company of his old stable-mate, drummer Philly Joe Jones, and bassist Leroy Vinegar.” Kirk Silsbee, Downbeat Magazine, March 2015
Legendary jazz critic Nat Hentoff calls him a pianist “with infectiously lyrical inherent swing — and surprises that flowed as naturally as his beat.”
Renowned historian and journalist Ira Gitler calls him “one the most multi-dimensional, solid-swinging, deeply lyrical piano stylists in our music, an unmistakably multi-dimensional artist who contributed so much to the groups of Miles Davis, Coleman Hawkins, and so many others.”
Torch-bearing pianist Benny Green says that each of his performances “addresses a full spectrum of emotion, and the innate sense of hipness, taste, and timing seemingly possessed by only the greatest voices of the music creates a musical brew which maintains its pure cool and freshness throughout the ages.”
Universally respected drummer Kenny Washington simply calls him, “one of the masters.”
Despite such high praise from these undoubted authorities, and his integral role in the first great Miles Davis Quintet, Red Garland’s name is too rarely mentioned in the pantheon of jazz greats. With the release of Swingin’ on the Korner on January 20, Elemental Music helps to remedy those oversights with the release of over 150 minutes of previously unheard live Red Garland performances on two CDs or 3 LPs, recorded in 1977 at San Francisco’s landmark Keystone Korner jazz club with a once-in-a-lifetime trio. None of this material has ever been released – officially or otherwise.
This swinging treasure trove arrives with a 44 page booklet including essays by the aforementioned experts (Nat Hentoff, Ira Gitler, Don Schlitten, Doug Ramsey, Benny Green, Kenny Washington, with an introduction by producers Zev Feldman and Todd Barkan) as well as photographs taken during the actual concerts by Keystone staff photographer Tom Copi. Images, information and music combine to transport listeners back to a magical week in one of jazz’s most beloved rooms. Additionally, the booklet includes an article on Red Garland from Doug Ramsey “Seeing Red”, printed with permission from Texas Monthly that ran back in 1979. As producer Zev Feldman says, “this may be one of the most important projects I’ve ever worked on and I’ve had the pleasure to co-produce this with Todd Barkan. I was determined from the start to build the most exhaustive package ever created for Garland that truly celebrates his memory. There’s never been a book on Red, and this is the closest there is. We built this and I couldn’t be more proud. He deserves it”. Fans will learn about Red via music but also by critical voices who have something to say about this master who has sadly been gone now for over 31 years.” (he passed away in 1983).
Our time machine arrives in December, 1977, as Garland is reunited with his bandmate from the Miles Davis Quintet, legendary drummer Philly Joe Jones. For the first and only time, Garland and Jones were joined for the occasion by bassist Leroy Vinnegar, best known for his recordings with Stan Getz, Chet Baker, and Lee Konitz, among others. The trio was the brainchild of Keystone Korner owner Todd Barkan, who aimed (successfully, as these recordings attest) to turn the engagement into a special, exclusive occasion.
“Red played the Keystone a few other times,” says Feldman, “but this time was the most memorable because the band is so great. You couldn’t ask to have better sidemen that what we have here, and we culled through an entire week of performances to get the best stuff.”
The result is a uniformly high-caliber selection, though highlights abound, including the album’s opener, a rousing, 13-minute rendition of “Love for Sale” that begins with an epic solo introduction by Garland, playfully incorporating a touch of Beethoven’s “Für Elise” before leaping into the brisk, swinging tune. “Love for Sale” delivers both power and sensitivity. The set also includes a sprinting version of “Billy Boy” (familiar from Davis’ Milestones) that shows off Vinnegar’s muscular walking lines; a prime example of Garland’s tender ballad playing on “Never Let Me Go;” and a nod to the season with a poignant take on Mel Tormé’s classic “The Christmas Song.” Of course it wouldn’t be a Red Garland without blues and ballads which fans will be happy to know are included in ample form.
Swingin’ on the Korner follows the release of Elemental’s acclaimed set of previously unreleased Jimmy Giuffre live recordings, New York Concerts, and the label’s sophomore effort maintains its impeccable standards of quality and thoroughness. “I wanted to assemble one of the best packages ever for Red Garland,” Feldman says. “He’s one of my heroes and I wanted to help celebrate his legacy.”
He achieves that goal with a set that surrounds this fantastic music with writings by Todd Barkan, providing a first-hand account of these scintillating concerts; Nat Hentoff, who discusses Garland’s rich life and legacy; Ira Gitler, who delves deep into Garland’s style and his influential use of block chords; Benny Green, who recalls discovering Garland after the pianist returned from a long dormant period in the 1960s and the profound influence he had on the younger pianist; and Kenny Washington, sharing his personal memories of the pianist, who Washington got to know in the last years of his life.
Washington also offered key assistance in identifying the material, no small order when dealing with a repertoire as vast as Red Garland’s. One tune in particular proved daunting, referred to only as “Unidentified Ballad” until very late in the process. Through Feldman’s network of connections, the piece finally found its way to the ears of vocalist Sheila Jordan, who pegged it as “If I’m Lucky,” the theme song for an obscure 1946 movie originally sung by Perry Como (who also appeared in the film alongside Carmen Miranda). The package was designed & built by Burton Yount whose recent collaborations with producer Feldman include Jimmy Giuffre’s New York Concerts, Bill Evans Live at Top of The Gate, and Wes Montgomery’s Echoes of Indiana Avenue.
On the project’s origins, Feldman recalls, “In 2013 when Elemental’s owner Jordi Soley and I were starting the label, we were determined to find important previously unissued recordings. These tapes came from Todd’s archives and upon even seeing these tapes existed, we immediately knew how rare they were and that they needed to be issued. I’m very grateful to Jordi for his support in this project. I presented my plan to build the greatest release ever for Red and I was given free reign to do what I felt was best. The results are a one-of-a-kind reference guide in addition to wonderful recordings. I am grateful to Mr. Soley.”
Feldman continues: “This is an important recording; a discovery coming to light from a period where Red really wasn’t recording that much. I hope it kicks the door open for people to go back and revisit his music, to stop and evaluate who this man was: a great musician and great artist.”
The 2 CD / 3 LP set is available January 20th, 2015 on Elemental Music, distributed in the U.S. by INgrooves/Universal Music Distribution.
Selected as one of the best Historical Albums according to the Readers Poll (December 2014) and best Historical Albums of 2014 (January 2015) Downbeat Magazine.
The years between the release of Jimmy Giuffre’s ground-breaking 1962 album Free Fall and his return to the studio in 1971 with Night Dance have become known as the legendary clarinetist and saxophonist’s “lost decade,” a key period in his and jazz’s musical evolution which sadly went undocumented. The release of these two remarkable 1965 performances on New York Concerts, unheard for nearly 50 years, offer a rare and revelatory glimpse into that discographical dark period.
This captivating two-disc set, would be valuable solely for the brilliant music, which finds Giuffre leading otherwise undocumented trio and quartet line-ups that advance his experiments in counterpoint and abstraction from the chamber-like Free Fall into even more adventurous avant-garde territory. But it also offers much-needed insight into one of jazz’s most innovative thinkers at a key moment in his development.
These recordings are the latest treasures to be unearthed from the seemingly inexhaustible troves of producer/engineer George Klabin, who in the last few years has also released essential “lost” recordings on his Resonance Records imprint by Bill Evans (Live at Art D’Lugoff’s Top of the Village Gate) and the forthcoming Charles Lloyd (Manhattan Stories). Additionally Feldman ushered Wes Montgomery’s newly acclaimed Echoes of Indiana Avenue through Resonance’s auspices.
The Jimmy Giuffre 3 & 4’s New York Concerts was brought to light through the passion and dedication of Klabin’s partner in these releases, producer Zev Feldman, who brought the tapes to Barcelona-based Distrijazz founder Jordi Soley. Sharing a similar enthusiasm for the music, Feldman and Soley co-founded Elemental Music label as a home for Feldman to release more catalog discoveries, unreleased tapes or reissues of out of print records from bygone labels.
“I was really taken with this music when I heard it,” says Feldman, who discovered the tapes in July 2012 after working on the Montgomery and Evans recordings and asking Klabin what else might be hiding in his archives. “This was obviously the direction in which Jimmy was going with his music, but it was unlike anything I’d ever heard. It just blew me away.
The first disc was recorded in September 1965 at Judson Hall during Charlotte Moorman’s New York Festival of The Avant Garde, produced by saxophonist and jazz critic Don Heckman, on a triple bill with bands led by Heckman and Charles Lloyd. The concert marks the only performance by this particular trio with bassist Richard Davis and drummer Joe Chambers, who when interviewed for the CD booklet, had no recollection of the date even happening.
Disc two travels slightly back in time to May 1965, with a performance in an empty Wollman Auditorium on the campus of Columbia University, then 19-year-old Columbia student Klabin had recently been appointed head of the jazz department at WKCR-FM, the university’s radio station, and wanted to present original recordings as part of his show. He invited Giuffre with that goal in mind, and recorded his quartet – with Chambers, pianist Don Friedman, and bassist Barre Phillips.
Both of these recordings were made expressly for Klabin’s radio show, aired once, and then filed away for nearly five decades. The pristine sound quality reveals Klabin’s prodigious talents at an early age, close-miking each musician and mixing live to a Crown 2-track tape recorder. “It’s George Klabin’s world of sound,” says Feldman with audible admiration. The release was mixed, mastered, and restored by Klabin & Fran Gala at the Resonance Records Studios in Beverly Hills.
The tapes’ welcome resurrection is accompanied by attractive and exhaustive packaging, with liner notes by writers Philippe Carles and Bob Blumenthal (who interviewed Friedman, Phillips, and Chambers); background by Feldman and Klabin; and reminiscences by Giuffre’s longtime collaborators Paul Bley, Steve Swallow, and the late Jim Hall. Giuffre’s widow Juanita Giuffre also offers her thoughts and support, which was integral for Feldman to move ahead with the project.
“Without Juanita’s support and blessing we would not have done this project,” Feldman says. “She was very gracious to allow us to do this.” Unlike other historical release labels, Feldman made sure everything was above board regarding copyright and musician fees. All sidemen were paid for their work and royalties arranged with the Giuffre estate.
These two sessions come three years after the release of Free Fall, Giuffre’s pioneering trio recording with Paul Bley and Steve Swallow that ventured into unexplored territory, expanding the boundaries of jazz but resulting in the ahead-of-its-time trio being dropped from Columbia Records due to poor sales numbers. The trio disbanded soon thereafter, and in early 1965 Giuffre played the Olympia Theatre in Paris in a new trio with Phillips and Friedman to a hostile reception (Carles was present at said concert and writes about it in his notes). The New York Concerts represent a few milestones beyond the staggeringly inventive sounds being made: they mark Giuffre’s first bands with a drummer in many years and a return to showcasing the tenor saxophone after a long period of focusing solely on the clarinet.
Most importantly, this release provides integral context for the genius of Jimmy Giuffre, which Feldman hopes will spur increased attention for the oft-overlooked innovator. “I hope that this serves as the ignition for dialogue about who he was and why he should be remembered. I hope that people enjoy the music. I hope that we can learn from it. And I hope we keep the candle burning for Jimmy Giuffre and that he would be proud of what we’re doing here.”
The two-disc set is available June 10th, 2014 on Elemental Music, distributed in the U.S. by INgrooves/Universal Music Distribution.
Dedicated to releasing newly discovered archival and out-of-print jazz.