Let’s Be Candid: Legendary Label Candid Records To Reissue Recordings by Charles Mingus, Max Roach & More

Candid Records is an iconic jazz label established in 1960 with Nat Hentoff as A&R director and featuring a back catalog of some of the most acclaimed jazz and blues artists of all time. The label will officially relaunch with the reissue of legendary recordings by Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Abbey Lincoln and Otis Spann. These albums have been remastered by award-winning audio engineer Bernie Grundman. The five titles chosen for the initial relaunch were originally recorded in 1960-1961, and will be available on CD/digital on April 15 and on vinyl on June 24. Find out more about them below and pre-order/pre-save them HERE.


Charles Mingus, Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus (1960)

Reissued on the year of the iconic bandleader/composer’s centennial, Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus finds him recreating the incendiary atmosphere of his residency at The Showplace in New York with his core quartet featuring Eric Dolphy, Ted Curson and Dannie Richmond. The record expresses a perfect tension between jazz played as an ensemble and jazz played as totally free, and is regarded as one of Mingus’ best.

Otis Spann, Otis Spann Is the Blues (1960)

Otis Spann Is the Blues was the first solo album recorded by Otis Spann in his tragically short life. It was also the first album ever recorded for the short-lived yet profoundly influential Candid Records. Produced by Nat Hentoff himself, the album showcases his full-bodied vocals and meaty piano blues, alongside a fellow blues legend: guitarist Robert Lockwood Jr.

Lightnin’ Hopkins, Lightnin’ in New York (1960)

Legendary bluesman Lightnin’ Hopkins, once described by musicologist Robert “Mack” McCormick as “the embodiment of the jazz-and-poetry spirit,” is captured in the midst of a career renaissance on this live studio set on Lightnin’ in New York. The full-length captures him on eight unaccompanied solo tracks, where he sings, plays and even takes some rare solos on piano, including on “Lightnin’s Piano Boogie.”

Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite, We Insist! (1960)

We Insist! is a collaboration between Max Roach and lyricist Oscar Brown, one of the most important artistic statements of the Civil Rights Movement, consisting of five selections performed with a stellar, rotating ensemble, legendary vocalist Abbey Lincoln on all tracks and a guest appearance by saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. This seminal recording is at once an avant-garde masterpiece, a vocal-instrumental suite and a work of collective improvisation.

Abbey Lincoln, Straight Ahead (1961)

Vocalist/civil rights activist Abbey Lincoln shares the bill with some of jazz’s top stars on her universally recognized magnum opus, Straight Ahead, including Eric Dolphy, Coleman Hawkins, Booker Little, Mal Waldron and Max Roach. As well as carrying an eloquent political statement, Straight Ahead testifies to Lincoln’s capacity to become totally part of a song on an inspired set of originals and covers, musically enriched by experimental flourishes.

Find out more about Candid Records here.

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