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Night Lights Classic Jazz

Best Historical Jazz Releases 2017

Jazz blasts from the past, newly-discovered, rarely-heard, and reissued.


It’s the annual Night Lights year in review! Time for a highly-subjective look back at the previous 12 months’ historical releases and reissues. The 2017 edition includes music from pianists Thelonious Monk, Sonny Clark, and Bill Evans; saxophonists Oliver Nelson, Harold Land, and Art Pepper; singers Mark Murphy and Ella Fitzgerald; bassist Jaco Pastorius, and trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff (joined by cornetist Don Cherry).

Night Lights is a program that focuses on jazz’s past, primarily the decades from the 1940s to the 1990s, a fertile and often-fast-changing stretch for the music. As modern-day listeners, we are often able to hear recordings that were either scarce or never available in the era when they were made–in fact, there’s so much for a jazz listener to hear that it can seem overwhelming at times, especially in light of all the interesting and innovative jazz that continues to be recorded today. There’s certainly more than can fit into an hour-long program, so with that in mind, here are some other 2017 historical releases and reissues of note:

Clarke-Boland Big Band, All Smiles
Nat King Cole, Zurich 1950
Ornette Coleman, Ornette At 12/Crisis
Alice Coltrane, The Ecstatic Music Of Turiya Alice Coltrane
Kenny Dorham, K.D. Is Here: New York 1962 and 1966
Duke Ellington, The Treasury Shows V. 23
Don Ellis, Soaring
Freddie Hubbard, The CTI Years
Lloyd McNeill, Asha
Hank Mobley, To One So Sweet: Stay That Way
Wes Montgomery, Smokin’ In Seattle: Live At The Penthouse 1966
Oscar Pettiford, New York City 1955-1958
Idrees Sulieman, The 4 American Jazz Men In Tangier
Sun Ra, Exotica
Buddy Terry, Awareness
Mal Waldron, The Opening
Various artists, Spiritual Jazz V. 7: Islam
Original soundtrack, The Hustler

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