By Matt Micucci
Resonance Records has announced the February 19 release of the two-CD set of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra’s All My Yesterdays: The Debut 1966 Recordings at the Village Vanguard.
This is the first official release of recordings capturing the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra in their opening night performance at the legendary Village Vanguard in NYC. The concert took place on Fabruary 7, 1966, and launched a tradition of successive Monday night appearances by the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra that lasted 12 years.
Thad Jones and drummer Mel Lewis formed the orchestra in 1965. The band performed for twelve years in its original incarnation, and included a 1972 tour of the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War. After Thad Jones’ sudden departure to Denmark, it became known as the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. Since the death of Lewis in 1990 it has been known as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and have continued the Monday-night residency tradition, which has now lasted for four decades and counting.
The release of All My Yesterdays will include over 100 minutes of music and a 92-page book, featuring rare, previously unpublished photos, essays, interviews and memoirs.
George Klabin, who recorded the original tapes, is credited as executive producer of the box-set. Other contributors include producer Zed Feldman and associate producer Chris Smith. The latter has previously written a book on the life of drummer Mel Lewis entitled The View from the Back of the Band: The Life and Music of Mel Lewis, first published on October 2014.
All of the living musicians who played on these recordings contributed to the notes. Among them are accounts from saxophonists Jerry Dodgion, Eddie Daniels and Marv “Doc” Holladay, trumpeter Jimmy Owens, trombonists Garnett Brown and Tom Macintosh, along with bassist Richard Davis. The pages display rare photos by Chuck Stewart, Raymond Ross, Ray Avery and Jan Persson.