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Pretty Lights Launches New YouTube Channel!

As a thank you to his fans for the ongoing support, Pretty Lights is releasing a free MP3 remix of Kanye West’s new track, “All Of The Lights,” which he debuted on New Year’s Eve at the Congress Theatre in West’s hometown of Chicago. The remix is featured in a New Year’s Eve video on Pretty Lights’ new YouTube Channel. Also found on the new YouTube channel are Pretty Lights remixes of Pink Floyd’s classic “Time,” Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind,” Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like An Eagle” and several more.

If you missed the news last week, Pretty Lights Music, Derek Vincent Smiths’ new digital record label, released two new EP’s for free downloads; Break Science’s Further Than Our Eyes Can See, and Paper Diamond’s debut EP, Levitate. The purpose of the label and its innovative model is to supply his fans, and fans of electronic music at large, with the freshest music from the hottest new underground artists.

Check Out The New Pretty Lights YouTube Channel, Featuring Unreleased PL Tracks, Remixes and Mashups!

Download the Pretty Lights Remix of Kanye West’s “All Of The Lights” HERE!

Pretty Lights Music Drops Two FREE EPs

Pretty Lights Music, the digital label from Pretty Lights’ Derek Vincent Smith, is launching a new website, and dropping two new EPs today. The purpose of the label and its innovative model is to supply his fans, and fans of electronic music at large, with the dopest beats from the freshest producers. The EPs are offered as free downloads with the option to donate for exactly that reason- releasing good music to as many listeners as possible is our priority for PLM.

Break Science’s new EP, Further Than Our Eyes Can See, and Paper Diamond’s debut EP Levitate both went up today. Also available on the site is the debut record from Michal Menert, Dreaming Of A Bigger Life, which went up in May 2010.

The new Break Science EP, Further Than Our Eyes Can See, consists of thought-provoking, highly-textured bass-pumping songs that include verses from some of today's most conscious artists: Brooklyn's Talib Kweli and Jahdan Blakkamoore, Sierra Leone's Bajah and India's Falu.

The new Paper Diamond EP, Levitate, has a raw energy and the kind of dramatic anticipation only a seasoned producer can incite. Driving beats and bass grab on tight while deep, rich tones rumble under layers of spacey synthesizers, sweet melodies, and catchy vocals.

For more information on Pretty Lights Music, and the artists mentioned above, please visit the official site!

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Download Break Science’s Free MP3 of “Zion Station” HERE

Download Paper Diamond’s Remix of Kanye West’s “Power” HERE

National Jazz Museum in Harlem Jan. 24 - Jan. 30, 2011

Upcoming events at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem for this week include:

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Christian McBride Hosts: My Musical Heroes
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300
Christian’s Subject: Motown—The Jazz Singers

Our Co-Director, the brilliant bassist/composer/bandleader Christian McBride continues his insightful series on his musical heroes. This evening’s program will shed light on some music usually not included in a jazz context, and that’s a shame. As quiet as it’s kept, many of the instrumentalists and vocalists central to the Motown Sound were immersed in the jazz idiom. One of the singers you’ll hear tonight is Marvin Gaye, singing jazz ballad standards! If you like to expand your horizons, please join us.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Harlem Speaks
Tommy LiPuma, Producer

Interview by Christian McBride
6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

One of the music industry’s most innovative and uniquely creative forces for more than four decades, Verve Music Group Chairman Emeritus Tommy LiPuma’s legendary career is record business history in the making. With 29 gold and platinum records to his credit, more than 30 GRAMMY® nominations, and three GRAMMY® Awards, he is one of the most successful pop and jazz producers ever.

By choosing to transition into the position of Chairman Emeritus in 2004, LiPuma decided to spend more time in the studio, and the very essence of what has driven him to be one of the most sought-out producers in the business – his keen musical insight and pristine sensibilities. “I can’t always put my finger on why I know something will work. It’s more the chills factor I look for — honing in on that artist whose music reaches inside you and takes you somewhere. There’s no scientific formula for hitting the mark, but that’s part of the excitement and challenge for me.”

One of the greatest success stories of LiPuma’s career is Diana Krall, with whom he continues a close association.

LiPuma began his first stint with Warner Bros. in 1974 as a staff A&R producer, helping launch the label careers of George Benson, Al Jarreau, and Michael Franks and recorded albums with Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao Gilberto, and Claus Ogerman. After a brief time back at A&M in 1978, where LiPuma led the newly formed Horizon Records, working with Brenda Russell, Seawind, Dr. John (for whom he later produced the duet “In A Sentimental Mood” with Rickie Lee Jones), and David Grisman, he returned to Warner Bros. as Vice President, Jazz and Progressive Music. As producer and talent scout, he worked with the artists who made Warner Jazz one of the most successful jazz labels in the industry: Randy Crawford, Patti Austin, Bob James, David Sanborn, Earl Klugh, Everything But the Girl, The Yellowjackets, Joe Sample, and the late Miles Davis.

In 1990, LiPuma joined Elektra Records as Senior Vice President, A&R, rejoining his old partner Krasnow, who was label Chairman. While at Elektra, he produced Natalie Cole and Anita Baker, and brought Sanborn, The Story, and Wayne Shorter to the label. His work on Cole’s breakthrough album Unforgettable (which was produced by LiPuma, Andre Fischer, and David Foster) earned LiPuma a share of the 1991 GRAMMY® for Album of the Year. He also produced Cole’s platinum follow-up, Take a Look, as well as her 2002 Verve Records debut, Ask A Woman Who Knows.

Paper Diamond Drops Kanye Remix

Earlier this year, we dropped the news of Pretty Lights’ new business venture, in the form of his digital record label, Pretty Lights Music, which recently began releasing his musical contemporaries’ music as free downloads. Alex B (aka Paper Diamond himself), is one of the first artists to sign on with the label, and his debut EP Levitate sees a digital release this Tuesday, January 25th.

To celebrate, we have a special treat to share with you today, in the form of a Paper Diamond remix of Kanye West’s track “Power,” from his critically-acclaimed new album. Driving beats and heavy bass grab on tight, while deep, spacey synthesizers give the track a proper reworking.

Levitate finds the Colorado-based producer moving into previously unheard territory. The Paper Diamond sound has raw energy and the kind of dramatic anticipation only a seasoned producer can incite.

Download Paper Diamond’s Remix of Kanye West’s “Power” Here!

Medeski, Martin & Wood @ the Boulder Theater

97.3 KBCO & Boulder Weekly are proud to present Medeski, Martin & Wood at the Boulder Theater on Friday, March 4th, 2011.

Somewhere, someplace, someone is debating the future of live and recorded music, speaking in somber tones of changes that have made it difficult to reach consumers, of technologies that have changed society, and of the lack of creativity found in the arts. But in a small but impressive microcosm of the universe known as Medeski Martin & Wood, creativity is alive, flourishing, and filled with outlets for growth and expansion. And somewhere, whatever gods of music there might be are smiling.

Medeski Martin and Wood's story is - like most great stories - one of humble beginnings, friendship, determination, a happy ending and a very bright future.

The trio of keyboard/organ/piano player John Medeski, drummer/percussionist Billy Martin, and bassist Chris Wood formed not in some vastly creative alternate universe, but rather in the neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, known as D.U.M.B.O. (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) in 1991. Medeski and Wood, students at Boston's prestigious New England Conservatory of Music, decided to move to New York City, with intent to explore the late-night underworld of the city's burgeoning jazz scene.


John Medeski, Billy Martin, and Chris Wood were looking to create music that reflected who they were, individually and collectively. The trio began experimenting with contemporary hip-hop beats that could swing as hard as jazz rhythms, yet remained essentially simple and propulsive, giving the musicians ample room to create hypnotic textures and sounds that were brimming with both improvisation and harmony. "In the beginning, as it is now, we went by gut instinct," says Wood. "We have a natural connection between us, as people and as musicians, and we just let things flow in whatever direction they went."

Gigs turned into multiple engagements, dates at small clubs led to performances at legendary New York City downtown hotspots like the Village Gate and the Knitting Factory, and soon the band was packed into Billy's van, traveling up and down the North Eastern United States. The next step was a natural one for any band - capture the music for posterity - and so MMW recorded their debut, "Notes From The Underground," which they released independently on hap-jones records in early 1991.

More gigs followed, and soon it was time for another release. This time, Medeski Martin & Wood inked a deal with Gramavision, a larger but still independent label that afforded them substantial freedom to create music the way they felt it should be played. In the summer of 1993 they released "It's A Jungle In Here," purchased an R/V, and hit the road for nearly half a year.

Communal, on-the-road living has broken up many bands, but true-to-form, MMW thrived in this potentially treacherous situation. Their secret was a unique combination of individual personalities, with each band member taking on additional roles that suited their own aptitudes and interests. As always, nothing was planned out; it just happened.

John, with his love for cooking, was the band's chef, preparing incredible meals that made life on the road more bearable. Billy, who worked well with his hands, could fix anything up to and including the band's RV. And Chris, with his head for business, took care of the group's accounting. As it was with the music, Medeski Martin & Wood balanced each other out perfectly.

"We have a certain chemistry between us, musically," says Martin, "and in addition to that we have a strong friendship that goes beyond the music. Even when we have ups and downs, the music and our friendship carries us through."

1994 saw the release of "Friday Afternoon in the Universe," and by 1995 it seemed like MMW was truly touring the universe, as their concert itinerary spread out and around the entire United States, and into Europe and Japan. In 1996, the band released their final Gramavision disc, "Shack-Man," which they celebrated with an 8-week Monday night residency at New York's Knitting Factory.

With much fanfare, the band then signed with another record label - the legendary jazz imprint Blue Note Records. At the turn of the new millennium, they released their all-acoustic album "Tonic," named for the Lower East Side club (and former kosher winery) where it was recorded. The band's affiliation with Blue Note resulted in three discs (plus a best-of set), and found them again pushing their sonic boundaries, incorporating percussionists, horn sections, and turntables into their already potent sound.

Which brings us to the here-and-now. Medeski Martin & Wood are no longer signed to anyone else's record label; they have come full circle by establishing their own label, Indirecto Records, as an outlet for their music. Which, quite happily, brings them neatly back to the way they did things in their formative years. Releasing their own music, their own way, in its own time.

The trio's first Indirecto release, "Out Louder," is a four-way collaboration with guitarist John Scofield, which true-to-form is heavy on group improvisation, irresistible grooves, rich harmonies, and strong melodies. While nothing definite is planned - as always, the band are taking each day and each opportunity as they come - it is possible that "Out Louder" could be the first in a series of independently-released projects that Medeski Martin & Wood will do in collaboration with other artists.

"By having our own label, we can make music however we want, and make as much as we want," explains Medeski. "In the history of man, recorded music is just a blink of the eye, just a small part of that vast history. The real thing is playing music live, and that is what we do. Beyond that, we'll be putting out recordings as often or as infrequently as we want."

The band also plan another first - a disc of children's music titled "Let's Go Everywhere" - set for release in early 2007 on the Little Monster/V2 label that promises to be as engaging for their established fan base as it is for the kids. "It's got everything, instrumentals, vocal songs, our kids are singing on it" says Wood.

Plus, there are the usual side projects going on, creative outlets which all three band members say serve to strengthen and add to the sound of the trio when they converge. Chris Wood plays frequently with his brother Oliver in The Wood Brothers, a rootsy, folk-and-blues, guitar and bass duo that serves as an outlet for both brothers' songwriting and vocal skills.

Billy Martin runs his own record label, releasing new and vintage recordings with a focus on percussion-based music. Amongst his releases is a three volume set of his own drum beats, and a percussion instruction book, focusing on bell and clave patterns found in Afro-Caribbean music, and featuring musical notation that Martin designed himself.

John Medeski, well, he is involved in a multitude of musical projects, from solo piano recitals to sideman gigs to leading or co-leading large and small bands. John has also lent his production skills to recordings by musical associates and friends, and has become involved in scoring films, including the acclaimed film Day on Fire which he scored and has a cameo appearance in.

A happy ending and a bright future, indeed. Medeski Martin and Wood live in our world, playing music that reflects their surroundings and communities. At the same time, they are a small world unto themselves, where creativity and spontaneity are honored, revered, and encouraged. And the world-at-large is a much better place for it

Read Grateful Web's interview with the Wood Brothers.

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Tickets are on sale at Boulder Theater Box Office. Call (303) 786-7030 for tickets by phone.

Tickets are also available through our website @ www.bouldertheater.com.

Tickets are On Sale Friday December 3rd!

$32 adv / $34 dos / + $2.00 for under 21+ ticket buyers

Cas Haley at the Fox Theater on 12/1/2010

Cas Haley is breaking out on his own terms.

Connection, his Easy Star Records debut, is aptly named. It’s all about those deep-running connections that make him what he is—those unbreakable links between artist and audience, between styles of music, between art and life, and most of all, between all people. As Cas points out, reggae’s core message is, after all, "one love."

His crystalline voice and funky, easygoing beats earned Cas a second-place finish on America’s Got Talent, which in turn netted him a measure of fame and a following. But the contest also locked the Texan singer/songwriter/guitarist into a major label deal that didn’t feel right. So, not wanting to be turned into a manufactured product, he struck out on his own. The superb result: Connection, a collection of songs basking in the philosophical and musical maturity that comes from staying true to his artistic vision.

Raised by musician parents, Cas grew up surrounded by the sounds of blues and 60s-70s rock. He got serious about the guitar at age 12 and was "taught by the tribe" of musicians passing through the house. "The kitchen would be turned into the practice room or for jam sessions, so I was pretty much born into that lifestyle," he says. And from the very beginning he was more inclined to create his own music than to slavishly learn covers.

Also prominent at home were the Bob Marley records his mother would play, which made a profound impression. After a period of heavy immersion in the sounds of the ska/punk/skateboard culture, Cas was blown away by the classic reggae-pop of bands like UB40 and Sublime, and his mature style began to take shape.

Those pop-inflected island grooves and his joyful, versatile voice helped bring Cas to the brink of stardom on America’s Got Talent and sell 30,000 copies of a debut album with virtually no promotion. And they’re fundamental to the soul of his music—what he calls the "relaxing, effortless playing where everything fits together." Elements of soul, blues, and pop swirl through Cas’s strong reggae beats. Just like disparate musical styles, "we’re way more connected than we think," Cas says. "We separate ourselves in so many different ways, but the whole theme of the album is that we’re all connected."

"Every color," he sings in the title track, "is created from the same light."

Easy Star, the leading U.S.-based independent reggae label, is the ideal home for Connection. The label has been stretching beyond its strictly roots-reggae format, signing progressive bands and artists like John Brown’s Body, Tommy T, and The Black Seeds. “Cas’s sound is unique, accessible, and a great way to keep expanding the Easy Star audience," says CEO Eric Smith. "And it’s not often we come across a singer-songwriter this talented, regardless of genre, so we had to work with Cas.”

Mixed by Danny Kalb (Ben Harper, Beck), Connection bristles with chill grooves, rocking guitars, and funky horns, all fueling Cas’s irresistible melodies. Meanwhile his lyrics effortlessly balance simple, spiritual truths with thoughtful reflection. Cas’s songs recognize the complexities of life—love, family, worldly troubles and uncertainties—but always come back to the central message of connection.

It’s the journey that matters; Cas is aiming for success on his own terms. "If I’m not doing it authentically then I don’t want it," he says. His only goal: "To authentically express myself and help others do the same. Because it’s a sweet life to be able to do that."

Catch Cas Haley at the Fox Theater in Boulder on December 1st, 2010.

Method Of Defiance | Jahbulon | Streets 10/19/10

M.O.D. TECHNOLOGIES created by the principle members of Method Of Defiance. This label is a modern evolution of the original AXIOM label - for the purpose of destroying, discerning musical genres, trends, approved or unapproved formats, false ideas and other unnecessary borders. All releases are the direct manifestations of Bill Laswell and other key members of the collective. The label is formed for the advancement of art and communication, in all forms of the creative process.

Grammy-winning electric bassist, producer, and re-mixer Bill Laswell has worked with many of music’s biggest names on the planet, including Herbie Hancock, Laurie Anderson, George Clinton, Brian Eno, Tony Williams, Mick Jagger, Williams Burroughs, Afrika Bambaataa, Motorhead, John Lydon, Bootsy Collins, Carlos Santana, Matisyahu, Anthony Braxton, Sting, Zakir Hussein, John Zorn, and hundreds more from the Americas, Africa The Caribbean, Europe, The Middle East, China, and Japan. Laswell has built a reputation on consistently working with a diverse array of artists, and rejecting the restrictions of genre, tradition, and commerce in favor or taking risks and uniting seemingly disparate voices. It is with this ethos that he has formed the record label M.O.D. Technologies, which is set to release albums this October by the group Method of Defiance and one of Ethiopia’s most famous contemporary vocalists, Gigi. In addition, the label is planning releases from Dr. Israel, Gnawa Fusion, Afa Negus, and DJ Krush in the near future.

Click HERE to Stream the Song “One World”

Method of Defiance is an all-star cast that consists of the following members:

BILL LASWELL (see collaborations above)
BERNIE WORRELL (Parliament Funkadelic, Talking Heads, Keith Richards)
DR. ISRAEL (Sublime, The Mad Professor, Killah Priest)
HAWK (Tricky, Tool, The Roots’ Black Thought)
DJ KRUSH (Ronny Jordan, Luna Sea & Ryuichi Sakamoto)
TOSHINORI KONDO (Herbie Hancock, Derek Bailey, Henry Kaiser, Peter Brotzmann)
GUY LICATA (Santigold, Massive Attack, Hercules & Love Affair)

Method of Defiance will release three albums, first the immediately accessible Jahbulon (October 5th): Ten songs featuring vocalists Dr. Israel and Hawk, keyboardist / Funkadelic icon Bernie Worrell, legendary bassist/producer Bill Laswell, and post modern/futurist drummer, Guy Licata. A cross-generational affair that incorporates elements of reggae, hip hop, dancehall, dub, electronica, rock, roots music and more. The beauty lies within its ability to touch on multiple overlapping cultural reference points.

This will be followed (October 19th) by Incunabula a spontaneous improvisation of musical interaction. The album’s lineup includes Bill Laswell on bass and dub efx, Bernie Worrell on keyboards, Guy Licata on drums, Dr. Israel on dub efx, turntable master DJ Krush and on electric trumpet Japan’s own, sound and fury - Toshinori Kondo with a special appearance by keyboard legend Herbie Hancock.

Ending the trilogy in Jan 2011 with the remix project Dub Arcanum Arcandrum a mix of both Jahbulon (the vocal) and Incunabula (the instrumental) by Bill Laswell, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Mad Professor, Dr. Israel, DJ Krush, and others.

Melissa Ferrick at the Fox Theatre

Singer/songwriter Melissa Ferrick emerged in 1994 as part of a group of new female alternative singer/songwriters, much in the vein of Liz Phair. Raised in Ipswich, MA, she began singing in coffeehouses after dropping out of college and eventually wound up in Boston. Her major breakthrough arrived one night when she replaced Morrisey's opening act less than an hour before showtime. Ferrick's performance impressed Morrisey, who invited her to open for him during the rest of the tour. The tour earned her a small cult following, as well as a contract with Atlantic Records.

She released her debut album, Massive Blur, in 1994 to good reviews; the critical reception for her stripped-down second album, Willing to Wait, earned even stronger acclaim. Even so, Atlantic dropped her in 1995, prompting Ferrick to go indie by signing with W.A.R.?, a Colorado-based company. She remained with W.A.R.? over the course of several albums -- including Everything I Need, Freedom the concert recording +1 before taking a lesson from fellow songwriter Ani DiFranco and forming her own label, Right On. Capturing her enigmatic stage persona, Ferrick issued Skinnier, Faster, Live at the B.P.C. in early 2001 and followed its release with a studio album named Valentine Heartache.

Releasing albums on her own label proved to be a welcome change of pace, and Ferrick spent the decade issuing a string of studio records and live releases. She also toured regularly, often logging as many as 150 shows per year. After releasing her 14th album, Goodbye Youth, in 2008, Ferrick shifted her focus to the artists who inspired her, resulting in the release of a covers album, Enough About Me, in 2010.

Friday June 18, 9:00pm
MELISSA FERRICK
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Tickets on sale now at the Fox Theatre box office

Internet 24-7 at www.foxtheater.com

Phone: During box office hours: 303.443.3399

1320 Records to Release John Hughes' RESET THE WAREHOUSE May 18th

STS9's boutique record label, 1320 Records, proudly presents Reset the Warehouse, the new studio release from John Hughes (May 18th, 2010 / 1320 Records).  A new recording studio, a new record label, and a new record allow John Hughes to step out from the familiar surroundings of Hefty Records, the label he founded in 1996, to strengthen his creative partnership with 1320 Records.

Though Hughes has collaborated with label-founders STS9 for years, this marks his first official release on 1320-an alliance long in the making, given both parties' shared mission of creating and supporting new music under artist-run labels.  Like Hefty, 1320 is an independent, musician-run collective that stresses cooperation between the artist and label.

According to Hughes, "Working with 1320 affords [him] the freedom to focus entirely on the music and the live performances in support of the record."

And, STS9 adds about Hefty, "few contemporary American labels have had as much influence on [the band]. We are extremely honored and excited to be apart of the 'Reset' release."

Hughes has recorded and released over a dozen albums under various aliases and groups like Slicker, Brood, Some Water and Sun, and Bill Ding, as well as under his own name.  His latest creation, Reset the Warehouse, represents the prime selections from a productive period of meticulous tracking and experimentation at his HFT Studio, located outside of Chicago.

Working with a team of veteran musicians and trusted collaborators, Hughes has assembled a cohesive union of styles and recording techniques, resulting in a record that explores uncharted directions while remaining rooted in sounds and beats that a listener may only describe as "classic."

As Hughes explains, "I wanted this recording to have a live, gritty sound, so I took it outside of the computer as much as I could. It was mixed through a board to tape, and the synths are all analog. Within the context of an electronic record, the live performances also help give it a warm, organic feel."

When it came time to edit and mix the tracks, Hughes looked to vibraphonist Rick Embach, who was involved in the sessions from the earliest stages, as well as his old friend Joshua Eustis of Telefon Tel Aviv.  Hughes brought his recording sessions to Eustis' studio in Chicago, and together they mixed the tracks thorough an analog mixing board and then to two-track tape, giving the album the finishing touches and appropriate analog "glue" it required.

Visit here to view the entire supporting cast of Reset the Warehouse.

The Reset the Warehouse track list is as follows:

1.  A Reflection of the Times

2.  Waukee Wallop

3.  Another One

4.  Reset The Warehouse

5.  Pterodactyl Piano Bar

6.  Little Dot in the Sky

7.  Done Everything

8.  Moan Pop Asheesh

9.  Witchfinger

10.  You Don't Love Me

11.  Wow, I Think I Love You

12.  Naphtha Jets

As his work in the studio continues to evolve, and interest in his music continues to soar, John Hughes takes to the road this summer with label mates STS9, in support of Reset the Warehouse.  Hughes will perform this August and September with STS9 at select events in NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and at the infamous Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado.

For more information on John Hughes and to see full tour date information please visit here.

Ray Charles' 'Genius + Soul = Jazz'

Ray Charles was best known for his work in the idioms of R&B, rock ’n’ roll and even successful forays into country. But he also recorded influential jazz albums, including the groundbreaking Genius + Soul = Jazz originally released in 1961, and continuing into the ’70s with My Kind of Jazz, Jazz Number II and My Kind of Jazz Part 3. On April 6, 2010, Concord Records will release a deluxe edition two-CD set featuring digitally remastered versions of all four albums including encyclopedic liner notes by Will Friedwald, jazz writer for The Wall Street Journal and author of several books on music and popular culture, along with original liner notes by Dick Katz and Quincy Jones.

Genius + Soul = Jazz was recorded at the Van Gelder Studios in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, in late 1960. The producer was Creed Taylor; arrangers, Quincy Jones and Ralph Burns. Ray Charles played the organ with three vocals (“I’ve Got News for You,” “I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town” and “One Mint Julep”) and band members included members of the Count Basie Orchestra: Thad Jones, Joe Newman, Billy Mitchell, Frank Wess, Freddie Green, and Sonny Payne among others. Issued originally on ABC Records’ legendary Impulse jazz label, the record ascended to the #4 spot on Billboard’s pop album chart, and spawned the very first singles on Impulse, heretofore an album label. “I’ve Got News for You,” rose to #8 R&B and #66 on the Hot 100. In addition, Charles’ version of “One Mint Julep” charted #1 R&B and #8 pop, and his rendition of the blues standard “I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town” reached #25 R&B and #84 pop.

As annotator Friedwald states, “Genius + Soul = Jazz . . . was a bold and innovative album, but, at the same time, a direct step forward from his earlier work.” Although Basie himself does not appear on the album, the Count was a major model as Charles assembled a full-scale, working orchestra. Basie also influenced his use of organ in a jazz context, and Charles was happy to record at the Van Gelder studio, where Jimmy Smith had recorded his classic Blue Note albums. Truly, as Dick Katz wrote in his original January 1961 liner notes, “The combination here of rare talent plus uncommon craftsmanship has produced a record that showcases the timeless quality and innate taste that is uniquely that of Ray Charles.”

Some nine years later, Charles recorded another jazz album, My Kind of Jazz. With sessions in Los Angeles this time, Charles surrounded himself with such players as Bobby Bryant and Blue Mitchell, trumpet; Glen Childress, trombone; Andy Ennis, Albert McQueen and Clifford Scott, saxophone; and Ben Martin, guitar. The album contained Charles’ own “Booty-Butt” (which was issued as a single on his own Tangerine label), Lee Morgan’s “Sidewinder,” and Horace Silver’s “Señor Blues.”

In his original liner notes to My Kind of Jazz, Quincy Jones wrote, “This album is the essence of what Ray used to tell us when we were kids: Be true to the soul of the material you’re dealing with.”

Jazz Number II was recorded roughly two years later at Charles’ Tangerine/RPM Studios and issued on Tangerine Records. Charles enlisted an impressive cast of arrangers: Alf Clausen, Teddy Edwards, Jimmy Heath and Roger Neumann.  The tracks included Ray Charles and Roger Neumann’s “Our Suite,” Teddy Edwards’ “Brazilian Skies” and “Going Home,” Thad Jones’ “Kids Are Pretty People” and Jimmy Heath’s “Togetherness.”

Finally, My Kind of Jazz Part 3, which concludes the Genius + Soul = Jazz deluxe package, was recorded in Los Angeles circa 1975, featured the Ray Charles Orchestra including Clifford Solomon, alto sax; Glen Childress, trombone; Johnny Coles, trumpet; Leroy Cooper, baritone sax; and James Clay, tenor sax. Included are compositions by Duke Ellington, Horace Silver, Jimmy Heath and Benny Golson. Issued on Charles’ own Crossover Records, the album reached #55 on the R&B chart in 1976.

The reissue of Genius + Soul = Jazz continues Concord Music Group’s long-term reissuing of the Ray Charles catalog in cooperation with the Ray Charles Foundation. Among the other albums repackaged in the past year are Genius Hits the Road, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Message From the People, plus the career compilation titled Genius.