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Aug/Sept. Blue Note & Concord RVGs

Thad JonesJazz fans still commiserate online over the self-imposed suspension of Alan Lankin’s Jazzmatazz site, which provided an in-depth, wide-ranging rundown of forthcoming jazz releases. All About Jazz maintains a new-release page, as does Jazzitude; if readers are aware of any other such sites, please let me know and I’ll post them on our links page. In the meantime, here are some imminent reissues in the Blue Note Rudy van Gelder series:

August 21, 2007

Paul Chambers – Bass On Top
Walter Davis, Jr. – Davis Cup
Duke Jordan – Flight To Jordan
Lee Morgan – Vol. 2
Lee Morgan – Vol. 3
Ike Quebec – Bossa Nova/Soul Samba

September 11, 2007

Lou Donaldson – Gravy Train
Kenny Dorham – Afro Cuban
Herbie Hancock – Takin’ Off
Thad Jones – The Magnificent Thad Jones
Lee Morgan – Delightfulee
Baby Face Willette – Face To Face

Sept. 25, 2007

Grant Green – The Latin Bit
Lee Morgan – Candy
Lee Morgan – Indeed
Jimmy Smith – Midnight Special
Jimmy Smith – Back At The Chicken Shack

Concord RVGs for Aug. 7:

John Coltrane – Stardust
Red Garland – Soul Junction
Miles Davis – Steamin’
Art Farmer – Farmers Market

Lots of tasty titles in those batches (and especially glad to see Jimmy Smith’s Back at the Chicken Shack and Midnight Special among them–long-overdue entries in this series), and I’d especially recommend the Thad Jones (which finds Jones in the company of Detroit colleagues such as pianist Barry Harris and tenor saxophonist Billy Mitchell, among other things giving a fresh treatment to his Basie signature tune “April in Paris”) and the Duke Jordan (a hardbop gem with tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine and perpetually-unsung trumpeter Dizzy Reece, featuring almost all Jordan originals). Lee Morgan’s Candy, his final 1950s Blue Note salvo with pianist Sonny Clark, bassist Doug Watkins, and drummer Art Taylor as his rhythm section (backing Morgan alone) will also cause no consumer post-purchase regret. OK, the world isn’t exactly screaming for yet another reissue of Miles Davis’ Steamin’, but it’s nice to have it around anyway.

There’s been a great deal of anxiety lately about the ultimate fate of the Blue Note and Concord (aka Fantasy) catalogues. Perhaps both labels will follow Universal’s lead and make much of their holdings available via download; myself, I still prefer the physical artifact of the CD (not to mention the still-superior sound quality). I used to think that jazz reissues would eventually fall entirely to boutique labels like Mosaic (which made the right decision in launching their Mosaic Singles series), Water, and Mighty Quinn… but that depends on what sort of licensing fees the majors demand. And we now know that jazz recordings never die upon reaching the age of 50, but find eternal life in Europe instead. It’s a tough racket, the reissue market. The audience is small by business-model standards and inevitably harbors several fanatics who may just collectively threaten to burn your office down if you don’t uncover and release that missing Grant Green session from 1965… not to mention the rejected one from 1970 in which Green does a Beatles medley. (I’m only half-making this up. Years ago, when it appeared that Blue Note might cancel the planned release of two titles in the Connoisseur series, an online petition was started at the old Blue Note Bulletin Board stating, “We demand the release of the Don Wilkerson and George Braith Doubletimes!” Said titles were indeed released and the republic continued apace.)

All by way of saying that it’s nice to see so many good-to-classic albums continuing to come out again. So sayeth an owner of the Don Wilkerson and George Braith Doubletimes.

David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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