Vinyl Watch, February 2021: Femi and Made Kuti, Keith Jarrett & 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.


Keith Jarrett, Sun Bear Concerts (ECM)

ECM has reissued Sun Bear Concerts, a 10-LP set bringing together five complete solo performances by piano master Keith Jarrett in Japan from 1976. First issued in 1978, the recordings were made by Okihiro Sugano and Manfred Eicher, and revealed Jarrett as a master of the genre, unique in his ability to find new forms in-the-moment, night after night. This limited vinyl edition’s book-form packaging was designed by Barbara Wojirsch and includes photographs by Klaus Knaup, Tadayuki Naitoh and Akira Aimi. Order it here.


Don Cherry, Cherry Jam (Gearbox)

Gearbox has released a Don Cherry live album, Cherry Jam, as part of its limited-edition vinyl series. Its recording was taken from an original tape of a 1965 broadcast programmed by Denmark’s national radio and documents Cherry in the midst of his transition from free jazz sideman to acclaimed bandleader in his own right. The music, featuring Cherry alongside top names of Copenhagen’s jazz scene of the time, has never been heard after its original broadcast date and neither have the three original Cherry compositions featured on the record. Order Cherry Jam here.


Various Artists, J Jazz Volume 3: Deep Modern Jazz from Japan (BBE)

BBE Music’s J Jazz series, launched in 2018, showcases standout jazz recorded in Japan during a golden age spanning the 1960s and 1980s. Its third volume was mastered at the Carvery studio in London, UK, and many of its tracks are reissued for the first time, including music by the Yasuhiro Kohno Trio, the Masaru Imada Trio and more. This set is released as a deluxe triple-LP vinyl set in a gatefold sleeve with extensive artist biographies and track information. It is also available as a CD set and on digital platforms for download and streaming. Order J Jazz Volume 3: Deep Modern Jazz from Japan here.


Willie Nelson, That’s Life (Legacy)

That’s Life is Willie Nelson’s 15th studio album for Legacy and his second full-length tribute to the enduring inspiration of Frank Sinatra, following the GRAMMY-winning My Way from 2018. Among its versions of classics and standards made famous by the Chairman of the Board is a duet version of “I Won’t Dance” with Diana Krall, while its artwork evokes iconic Sinatra images, such as the cover artwork for In the Wee Small Hours from 1955. Aside from being available on 12″ vinyl, That’s Life is also out on CD and digital this Friday, February 26. Order it here.


Femi Kuti and Made Kuti, Legacy+ (Partisan)

Femi and Fela Kuti, son and grandson of Fela Kuti, offer their unique vision of Afrobeat via the former’s Stop the Hate, honoring Fela in a traditionally fun and sharply political way, and Made’s For(e)ward, where Made plays all instruments and that pushes the boundaries of the genre forward. Both albums are new and have been released in one double-LP set, titled Legacy+. The vinyl edition includes an 8-page booklet with artwork, photographs and lyrics, as well as portraits of Femi and Made done by Brooklyn-based artist Delphine Desane. Order it here.


Featured photo: Optimus Dammy/Partisan Records.

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