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2004 promises to provide a treasure trove of jazz and blues reissues. Labels will dig deep into their catalogues and tantalize us with lost gems, alternate takes and solos, remixes, extensive liner notes and reexamination of different artists and genres. This new column will tip you off to what is about to be released so you can start saving your money and building up your record collection.
Here is what is happening between now and February 24, 2004.
Attention record labels! Please email me your reissue schedules so I can include them in future lists.
JANUARY 20, 2004
Benny Goodman - Small Groups (Collectors Choice) – This is a great collection from one of the most talented jazz bands ever to be recorded. This twenty-two track collection was culminated from various radio broadcasts and features none other than Fletcher Henderson and Gene Krupa in their prime. Tracks of note include “Stompin’ at the Savoy,” “Flying Home” and “Stardust.”
Billie Holiday - Good Morning Blues: The Complete Columbia Recordings 1933-1950 (Universe) – a nine CD collection, nearly twelve hours of music, of all Holidays recordings from her most pivotal period, her years at Columbia Records. Hear Billie Holiday backed by the orchestras of jazz giants Benny Goodman, Teddy Wilson, Benny Carter, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Eddie Heywood.
Gene Ammons - 1949 – 1950 (Classic Jazz France) – featuring twenty-three chronological studio recordings from this two year period including “Hey, Mr. Freddy,” “Hot Springs,” “Pennies From Heaven” and “When You're Gone.”
Sidney Bechet - 1950-1951 (Classic Jazz France) - featuring twenty-three chronological studio recordings from this two year period including “Society Blues,” “Wolverine Blues,” “King Porter Stomp” and “Avalon.”
Lester Young - 1951-1952 (Classic Jazz France) – a 19 track retrospective of this two year period.
T-Bone Walker - 1947-1950 (Classic Jazz France) – a twenty-four track collection of the pioneer of electric guitar.
Joe Lutcher - 1941 (Classic Jazz France) - A nineteen track reissue.
Tommy Dorsey and Orchestra - 1939, Volume 3 (Classic Jazz France) – the third installment of this twenty-two track look at the recordings of Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra in 1939 featuring Yank Lawson, Skeets Herfurt and Dave Jacobs among others.
Various Artists - Back to the Crossroads: The Roots of Robert Johnson (Yazoo) – A solid look at artists like Charley Patton, Son House, Skip James and Scrapper Blackwell, all of whom helped shape Robert Johnson’s style.
J.B. Lenoir - I Feel So Good: The 1951-1954 J.O.B. Sessions (Universe) – Another offering for those who caught a bit of a blues bug from the PBS documentary. Lenoir was a featured artist and this recording are from Lenoir's earliest sides in a very stripped-down setting. “Over half of the 14 sides feature Lenoir on guitar with only Sunnyland Slim on piano and Alfred Wallace on drums in support, with J.T. Brown on tenor sax aboard for the next session.” Highlights include "The Mojo (Boogie)" and "Lets Roll."
JANUARY 27, 2004
Roy Ayers - Virgin Ubiquity (1976-1981) (Studio K7) – This album includes previously unreleased sides from Roy Ayers that is being released both on CD and vinyl.
Rosemary Clooney - From Bing to Billie (Concord Jazz) – A double reissue of Clooney’s late seventy’s recordings of tributes to Bing Crosby and Billie Holiday.
Miles Davis - Birdland 1951 (Blue Note) – A ten track live CD from a two night engagement featuring Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Big Nick Nicholas, J.J. Johnson, Kenny Drew, Billy Taylor, Charles Mingus, Tommy Potter, and Art Blakey performing such tunes as “Half Nelson,” “Move” and “Lady Bird."
Phyllis Hyman - The Ultimate Phyllis Hyman (Arista)= A twenty track retrospective.
Gene Krupa - Hot Drums (Quicksilver)
Tito Puente - Party at Tito’s House (Concord) – a double reissue of the eighty’s records “On Broadway” and “Mambo Diablo.”
Various Artists - Deep River of Song: Louisiana: Catch That Train & Testify! (Rounder)- Recorded between 1934 & 1940 by Alan Lomax featuring Leadbelly and Jellyroll Morton
Big Bill Broonzy - All the Classic Sides 1928-1937 (JSP Import) – A five CD collection of Broonzy’s ground-breaking and masterful blues recordings.
Big Joe Williams - Revisited (Fuel 2000) - A sixteen track reissue featuring Sonny Terry, Brownie McGee and Lightning Hopkins. Includes liner notes by Bill Dahl.
Carmen McRae - The Art of Carmen McRae / For Once in My Life (Collectables) - a “Two-fer” offering of thirty three tracks from recordings from the mid nineteen seventies.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.