Vinyl Watch, March 2020: Charlie Parker, José James & 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.


José James, No Beginning No End 2 (Rainbow Blonde)

No Beginning No End 2 is a brand new album by singer/songwriter José James, and his first set of new music released via his own imprint, Rainbow Blonde. This is a sequel to his 2013 album and finds him returning to a creative blend of soul, nu-jazz and slow R&B. The mood is sensual, romantic and at times introspective, and the music is a great showcase for his acclaimed velvety vocals. No Beginning No End 2 also includes an interesting cast of collaborators, including Laura Mvula, Aloe Blacc, Ledisi, Erik Truffaz, and Hindi Zahra, to name a few.

Béla Fleck and Toumani Diabaté, The Ripple Effect (Craft)

World-renowned artist Béla Fleck has released a deluxe edition of his acclaimed 2009 film-and-music project, Throw Down Your Heart, documenting his travels through Africa to discover the origins of his instrument of choice – the banjo. The new 3-CD/1-DVD set, released via Craft Recordings, includes a wealth of bonus materials, recordings and liner notes, plus an entire never-before-released album recorded by Fleck with virtuoso kora player Toumani Diabaté during the duo’s 2009 tour. The album is titled The Ripple Effect and it is also available separately as a standalone release on 180-gram 2xLP gatefold vinyl.


Charlie Parker, Jazz at Massey Hall (Bird’s Nest)

Jazz at Massey Hall documents a 1953 concert at Canada’s Massey Hall by a stellar quintet including five supreme masters: Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus and Max Roach. The concert had been badly publicized and featured Parker on a plastic alto borrowed from a local music store. Mingus, unhappy with the sound of his bass, recorded overdubs that overshadowed the other instruments. However, on Bird’s Nest re-release of Jazz at Massey Hall, the quintet tracks from the sets are presented in concert order and as originally recorded.


Madison McFerrin, You + I (Diggers Factory)

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Madison McFerrin is the daughter of the world-renowned Bobby McFerrin and a spellbinding rising singer/songwriter in her own right. You + I is her latest EP, and it comes after two critically acclaimed a cappella EPs. This latest effort is a little different, as it marries her soulful, timeless vocal style with more modern production. You + I, driven by the success of its lead single “Try,” is released in a limited edition vinyl via Diggers Factory.


Justin Hurwitz, Whiplash – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Music Film Recordings/Varése Sarabande)

The best-selling soundtrack album to Damien Chazelle’s Academy Award-winning 2015 movie Whiplash was released in a brand new expanded version including the original score composed by the director’s longtime collaborator, Justin Hurwitz, plus bonus tracks and remixes. Whiplash revolves around a 19-year old jazz drummer with dreams of greatness and his fiery relationship with his conservatory teacher, known for the terrifying method of his instruction. This deluxe package comes in a 2-LP gatefold sleeve with new cover art and liner notes by T.S. Monk, son of piano master Thelonious Monk.


Feature photo by Janette Beckman.

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