Vinyl Watch, December 2021: Dr. Lonnie Smith, Nina Simone & More

Vinyl is back! Each month on “Vinyl Watch,” we list some of the most noteworthy new vinyl releases — including new albums, reissues, special-edition box sets and more. At JAZZIZ, we share the vinyl community’s appreciation of the experience of collecting and playing vinyl records. As an increasing number of music fans discover the joy of vinyl, we hope these lists will serve as a starting point for new musical discoveries.


Dr. Lonnie Smith, Breathe (Blue Note)

Blue Note has released a 2-LP vinyl edition of the late great NEA Jazz Master Dr. Lonnie Smith’s new album, Breathe, released earlier this year. This edition contains an additional third collaboration between the Hammond B-3 organist and rock icon Iggy Pop on “Move Your Head.” Six of the tracks on this dynamic soul-jazz set were recorded during Smith’s 75th birthday celebration at the Jazz Standards in New York City in 2017. The album is available on standard black vinyl and color vinyl. Order it here.

Eva Cassidy, Live at Blues Alley – 25th-Anniversary Edition (Blix Street)

Blix Street Records has released Eva Cassidy’s 1996 album Live at Blues Alley on vinyl for the first time ever, in honor of its 25th-anniversary. This was the only solo album released during the late singer’s short lifetime and documents her now legendary concert at Washington D.C.’s Blues Alley nightclub on January 3, 1996. Order it here. This remastered edition of the record comes shortly after the release of Eva Cassidy – One Night That Changes Everything, a documentary detailing the events of the Blues Alley performance.


Nori, Nori (Go Stop)

Austin-based genre-bending neo-jazz band Nori have curated a 10-track self-titled collection of songs written from 2015 to 2021, including two new singles. The album showcases their diverse sound, which weaves together a myriad of global influences, with pointed lyrics and social commentary. Nori is also the band’s first vinyl release. “We wanted to create a document of our young history and make it available for physical release,” comments the band via an official statement. “In many ways, we consider ourselves ‘old souls,’ so vinyl is the perfect format for the occasion.” Order Nori here.


Nina Simone, Carmen McRae and Chris Connor, Nina Simone and Her Friends (Bethlehem/BMG)

Bethlehem/BMG reissued a 1958 compilation titled Nina Simone and Her Friends on vinyl, as well as CD and digital. The record featured four unreleased tracks from Nina Simone’s 1957 Little Girl Blue recording sessions, plus recordings by Carmen McRae and Chris O’Connor. The new deluxe edition of Nina Simone and Her Friends comes with a fresh stereo mix. It also includes a new essay by Daphne A. Brooks, author of Liner Notes for the Revolution. Order it here.

Various Artists, Tokyo Glow (Nippon Columbia/WeWantSounds)

WeWantSounds has released the 2-LP edition of Tokyo Glow, a new compilation of late ’70s and ’80s Japanese city pop, funk and soul curated by DJ Notoya with songs drawn from the vaults of the revered Nippon Columbia label. “I focused more on the slightly more underground tracks from the era, rather than the bigger, well-known releases,” DJ Notoya explains via a press release. “For me, that was a more fun and satisfying approach.” The 2-LP gatefold album was designed by Optigram and is annotated by DJ Notoya with Nick Luscombe. Order it here.

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