As an avid collector of vintage vinyl, it occured to me at some point that a large amount of great music has yet to make it to the reissue market and so Jazz From the Vinyl Junkyard each month features those obscure records that continue to elude all but the most astute jazz collectors.
For the first time in many years, there has been a shift in the focus of many record labels, putting new music and previously unearthed artifacts in a position of precedence over the reissue of vault items. New releases of live recordings from Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, and Charlie Parker seemed to steal the thunder from other important discs of new music and general reissues. What the labels don't seem to understand is that so much of the classic music of the past fifty years has been recently repackaged, which calls for a different approach in looking at material for ...read more
Artie Butler Have You Met Miss Jones? A&M/CTI 1968
Well, it has been some time since we last dipped into the vinyl crate for an installment. During the summer months, I had the good fortune of moving to a new house where I have more than enough space at last to accommodate all the vinyl, CDs, books, drums, stereo, and associated gear that comes with being a musician and music fanatic. On the other hand, that meant moving massive amounts of discs and vinyl, not to mention the usual painting and sprucing up that ...read more
Moacir Santos Maestro Blue Note Records 1972
Among a sizable number of Brazilian composers who are better known in their homeland than abroad, few can lay claim to a more substantive and varied catalog of music as that written by the great Moacir Santos. A prodigy of sorts, Santos mastered many wind instruments while still in his teens and toured Brazil for many years, studying and playing with a wide variety of ensembles. He also served as a musician with the National Radio Network in Rio de Janeiro before heading to the United States ...read more
Bobbi Humphrey Flute-In Blue Note Records 1971
Last time out we looked at two particularly neglected Blue Note gems from keyboard man Ronnie Foster which actually got me to thinking about the present state of that iconic jazz catalog. While the Connoisseur and RVG series have brought to light many of the best items from the vaults, the fact remains that there are still a small number of releases that have yet to make it to CD and deserve to be heard once again. So for the next few months, our efforts will be ...read more
While it's true that the declining years of the Blue Note label saw many releases of a lesser quality when compared with the golden gems of the label's heydays, sweeping generalizations lead to value judgments that might not always be applicable. Up through the mid '70s, artists like Horace Silver and Gene Harris continued to record viable albums even if they didn't quite reach the heights of earlier accomplishments. During this same era, a few uniquely talented young artists made the scene in an attempt to bring the music in line with the current fashions and trends.
A ...read more
Keeping with tradition, over the past few years this column has turned its attention to some of the best reissues of the past twelve months, looking carefully for any albums that might have been profiled here and subsequently made it to compact disc. Not surprisingly, the vault material still available for mining becomes increasingly less and less each year. Still, many fine reissues made their debut and the Japanese market remained a major source of inspiration. So while jazz ukulele playing as heard on the Verve reissue of Lyle Ritz's How About Uke? might be an obscurity for few tastes, ...read more
The Riverside Jazz Stars Jazzy Soundtracks 4: Kean Riverside 1961
Last time out we focused on a jazz version of a 60's Broadway play and we continue in a similar vein this month with an unusual treatment of another long forgotten production. Kean opened in New York City at the Broadway Theater on November 2, 1961 and while its ultimate run was relatively short, it did receive some fine critical notices. Based on the swashbuckling adventures of esteemed 18th century actor Sir Edmund Kean, the play exploits the bawdy behavior of the great Shakespearean ...read more
Billy Taylor Orchestra Jazzy Soundtracks 3: Kwamina Mercury 1962
Continuing our look into soundtrack albums of a jazz nature, we depart this month from film scores to take a look at a jazz interpretation of music from a Broadway production. Opening in October of 1961 and running for a mere 32 performances, Kwamina takes place in West Africa in a British colony where a young woman doctor runs into trouble when she falls in love with a local black physician whose name gives the play its title. The cast of the production included Robert ...read more
Kenyon Hopkins Jazzy Soundtracks 2: The Yellow Canary Verve 1963
We initiated our foray into the land of jazz-inflected soundtracks with a look at the score to the long forgotten Mr. Buddwing , a superb accomplishment of the venerable Kenyon Hopkins . As we continue our survey, it seemed logical to continue with yet another one of Hopkins' luminous accomplishments, this one possibly being his most celebrated. Released in 1963 with a screenplay by mystery master Rod Serling, The Yellow Canary finds as its unlikely lead Pat Boone playing an intolerable singing star whose ...read more
With December ushering in the holiday season, it seemed logical to allow this month's column to address two items that fall under the category of jazzy Christmas fare. Although the repertoire in this area is really quite limited, some of the more memorable holiday jazz sides include works by Ella Fitzgerald and Jimmy Smith. For my money however, among the best sets is a pair of 1964 sides cut for Prestige by Bobby Timmons and Don Patterson. The idea for successful Christmas music adaptations has always been about utilizing the formats of such traditional pieces as a launching pad for ...read more
Never before had there been such a rush of musical product as that which appeared during the '50s and '60s. In all areas of music, but especially for popular and jazz genres, the time was ripe for a myriad of experiments. As stereo took its place among the technical landscape, companies large and small rushed to take advantage of its possibilities, sometimes with disastrous results, but often with a sense of inspired ingenuity. While producer Creed Taylor had already skipped to the head of the class while serving as A&R man for ABC Paramount and then ushering in its Impulse ...read more
Yusef Lateef Jazz 'Round the World Impulse! 1963
With a recent article in JazzTimes covering the history of Impulse Records and the role that prime mover John Coltrane made in securing the label's place in history, it occurred to me that there are still holes in the catalog's reissue program. Aside from Archie Shepp and Pharoah Sanders, both heavily caught up in Coltrane's trajectory, multi-instrumentalist Yusef Lateef was a vital member of the Impulse family who made his most mature recorded statements during the sixties while following his own path.
Prior to signing with ...read more
Airto I'm Fine. How Are You? Warner Bros 1977
As we get ready to wind down the days of summer, it occurred to me that some of my favorite music of the season has always been Latin or Brazilian tinged. Something about that incendiary percussive mix always seems to speak of those warm and lazy afternoons under a shade tree with possibly a margarita on hand. Of those Brazilian artists most closely tied to the innovative jazz climate of the United States, drummer and percussionist Airto Moriera has come up with some of the ...read more
Don Goldie Trumpet Caliente Argo 1962
While the majority of classic jazz albums have obtained their status based on the innovative nature of the statements contained therein, the fact remains that there are a sizable number of albums that charm in a way that is quite different from the virtues of, let's say, Kind Of Blue or A Love Supreme. These minor gems may speak in a way that reaches the listener more directly or they may possibly contain a good number of favorite standards that just happen to strike a chord with a ...read more
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