Record Store Day, the internationally celebrated day of vinyl records dedicated to supporting local independent stores, takes place on April 13. This year’s extensive list of exclusive releases, special and limited editions and reissues include a number of jazz and blues records worth highlighting.
Albert King, Born Under a Bad Sign (Craft Recordings)
Craft Recordings celebrates Record Store Day with a 180-gram pressing of Born Under a Bad Sign, the 1967 album that cemented Albert King’s reputation as “King of the Blues Guitar.” This was also his first LP for Stax Records, the legendary label that played a major role in the creation of Northern soul and Memphis soul music in the ’60s. Born Under a Bad Sign features the Mississippi-born musician alongside Stax’s celebrated house band, Booker T. & The MGs plus the Memphis Horn. The album remains deeply influential to this day and even received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999. Fans of Stax might also be interested to know that on Record Store Day, Craft will also release Stax Does the Beatles, a 2xLP compilation of vocal and instrumental takes on Beatles tunes by some of the label’s great artists, including Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Carla Thomas and many more.
Bill Evans, Evans in England (Resonance Records)
Evans in England is a limited edition 2xLP collection of previously unreleased recordings of lyrical piano master Bill Evans, leading a trio with bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Marty Morell. The recordings were captured at an engagement at Ronnie Scott’s celebrated jazz club in London, England, in December 1968. This Record Store Day exclusive release includes an extensive book with rare photos by Jean-Pierre Leloir, essays by acclaimed author Marc Myers and French filmmaker Leon Terjanian, plus exclusive interviews with Gomez and Morell. Evans in England is also Resonance Records’ fourth overall official collaboration with the Evans Estate.
Charlie Parker, Charlie Parker With Strings: Alternate Takes (UMe)
On November 30, 1949, Charlie Parker entered New York City’s Mercury Recording Company Studios to record his first session with a string ensemble plus jazz rhythm section. This session would have a tremendous impact upon Parker’s success; Charlie Parker with Strings is a landmark in cross-section of jazz and pop that remains Bird’s best-selling LP. UMe’s Record Store Day special edition of the album includes alternate takes from the Verve vaults providing new insight in the career of one of the most brilliant and inventive saxophonists of all time. Charlie Parker with Strings: Alternate Takes comes 70 years since the initial recordings, and the Record Store Day LP set comes in a blue vinyl matching the updated original David Stone Martin cover illustration.
Fela Kuti and Roy Ayers, Music of Many Colors (Knitting Factory)
Knitting Factory is releasing the first vinyl pressing of Fela Kuti and Roy Ayers’ 1980 joint album, Music of Many Colors, in three decades. The album was recorded after a three-week tour of Nigeria’s major cities in 1979, during which Ayers performed as Kuti’s band’s opening act, and it was intended as a round-up of the tour. “Kuti had a very original concept that was called Afro Beat – a genre with a very unique identity and exceptional music. One of [his] most impressive qualities was that he was undeniably a brilliant show man, as a musician and as a huge dancer as well. His African concept was truly original…” This Record Store Day limited edition comes in a rainbow starburst vinyl.
Herbie Hancock, Dedication (Get On Down)
The first official vinyl release of Herbie Hancock’s Dedication outside of Japan, where the vinyl has been out of print for many decades. This solo album was Hancock’s 13th LP overall and the first of his several Japan-only releases. The project was recorded in one day in Tokyo, during a tour of Japan in 1974. Its tracklist consists of four of his original compositions. The first two tracks, “Maiden Voyage” and “Dolphin Dance,” he performs on acoustic piano; the other two, “Nubi” and “Cantaloupe Island,” are performed on keyboard and synth.
John Cage and Sun Ra, John Cage Meets Sun Ra (Modern Harmonic)
For many years it has been widely believed that the 1986 meeting between John Cage and Sun Ra never occurred. At last, recovered video footage of the event at Sideshows by the Seashore along the Coney Island boardwalk on June 8, 1986, gives undeniable evidence that this avant-garde collaboration of mythic proportions did occur. The film was shot on VHS by John Polizzi under the commission of event producers Rick Russo and Brownwyck Rucker, and the footage was combined with the audio master on DVD. This John Cage Meets Sun Ra set comes this Record Store Day with a 7″ vinyl from the night: Side A features John Cage performing verses from his Empty Words writings accompanied by Sun Ra, while on Side B they both perform “Silent Duets.”
José James, The Dreamer (Rainbow Blonde)
On his first studio album, The Dreamer, vocalist José James introduced the world to his entirely modern approach to jazz singing, one respectful of tradition and simultaneously influenced by modern sounds, hip-hop and multitracking for accentuation. He does this over a set of seven originals plus covers of other jazz greats, including a stand-out take on Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s “Spirits Up Above.” The Dreamer was originally released via Brownswood Recordings in 2008, but this 10th anniversary Record Store Day limited edition vinyl is released via James’ own imprint, Rainbow Blonde.
Little Walter, The Best of Little Walter (Sundazed Music)
Little Walter revolutionized the approach to the harmonica: it impacted succeeding generations of musicians and altered listeners expectations of what was possible to achieve on such a tiny instrument. So great was his impact on the blues idiom that in 2008, he became the only artist to be inducted specifically into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a harmonica player. Though one of the most in-demand sideman for other Chicago greats throughout his career, The Best of Little Walter was the only LP originally issued during his lifetime – he died in 1968 – but every single song on it became an R&B smash hit. This Record Store Day limited edition LP was produced from the original Chess Records masters and pressed on colored vinyl.
Louis Armstrong, Disney Songs the Satchmo Way (WDR)
Originally released in 1968, Disney Songs the Satchmo Way is an album of some of the last studio recordings by Louis Armstrong, who died three years later. The trumpeter-singed had originally been asked by Walt Disney himself to record it in 1966, but the film producer died before the album was completed. Once completed, Armstrong told Tutti Camarata, who produced the album, “I haven’t enjoyed anything better than our recording session since – well, I can’t remember when.” He was particularly fond of “When You Wish Upon a Star,” which opens Disney Songs the Satchmo Way‘s B-Side. Other tracks featured on the LP include “The Bare Necessities,” “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” and “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo,” among others.
Wes Montgomery, Back on Indiana Avenue: The Carroll DeCamp Recordings (Resonance Records)
Back on Indiana Avenue is Resonance Records’ sixth collection of guitar hero Wes Montgomery’s unheard works. The Record Store Day limited edition 2xLP set documents his early career in his native Indianapolis, revealed via studio and live recordings by Indianapolis pianist-arranger Carroll DeCamp, recorded some 60 years ago. This Record Store Day deluxe package comes with an essay by jazz scholar Lewis Porter and exclusive interviews with guitarists George Benson and John Scofield. “[Montgomery] was the main man back then in the ’60s,” says Scofield, “so everybody knew him. If you were a kid and wanted to learn jazz guitar, he was at the top of the list.”
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