collection

Frank Sinatra/Count Basie Reprise recordings coming from Concord

By the early 1960s, Frank Sinatra and Count Basie had already cemented their respective reputations as two of the most versatile and enduring entertainers of the 20th century. When these two titans united in the studio for recordings on Reprise — Sinatra’s own label, which he’d launched at the start of the decade — the results were historic. The first album was simply titled Sinatra-Basie: An Historical Musical First, a 1963 release that climbed to the top five on Billboard’s pop album charts over the course of a 42-week run. A year later, It Might As Well Be Swing rose to #13 during a 31-week stretch on the same charts.

On September 6, 2011, Concord Records will reissue both of these recordings in a single collection, Frank Sinatra & Count Basie: The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings. Under license from Frank Sinatra Enterprises (FSE), the 20-song compilation is enhanced via digital restoration and remastering, and includes brand new liner notes from music journalist and historian Bill Dahl that provide historical context for these pivotal recordings. Also included are original anecdotes from Quincy Jones, who produced It Might As Well Be Swing.

“It’s virtually impossible to imagine a more swinging combination than Frank Sinatra — the premier pop vocalist of an adoring generation — and the mighty orchestra of Count Basie,” says Dahl in his liner notes. “Such a scintillating summit meeting actually unfolded not once but twice in the studio. This collection brings together both of these historic album-length collaborations, first out on the label Sinatra founded, Reprise. It’s a thoroughly satisfying soiree.”

Dahl provides background information about the history of Basie’s orchestra in the decades leading up to the two recordings. He also discusses Sinatra’s transition from Capitol to Reprise and the artistic freedom that came with it, as well as Neal Hefti’s arrangements for both albums, Quincy Jones’ production of the latter, and brief annotations of every song in the collection.

“Another memorable collection between the Chairman and the Count would soon be recorded for posterity by Reprise, [with Jones] arranging and conducting 1966’s Sinatra at the Sands,” says Dahl. “But even performing for those hip high rollers in Vegas couldn’t top what Sinatra and Basie accomplished during these two studio collaborations. This was musical history in the making, as fabulously fresh and frisky now as it was back then. Let the swinging commence.”
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TRACK LIST
Pennies from Heaven
Please Be Kind
(Love Is) The Tender Trap
Looking at the World Thru Rose Colored Glasses
My Kind of Girl
I Only Have Eyes for You
Nice Work If You Can Get It
Learnin’ the Blues
I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter
I Won’t Dance
Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words)
I Wish You Love
I Believe in You
More [Theme from Mondo Cane]
I Can’t Stop Loving You
Hello, Dolly! (from Hello, Dolly!)
I Wanna Be Around
The Best Is Yet To Come
The Good Life
Wives and Lovers

Tony Bennett's 'Best of the Improv Recordings' coming on Concord

In the decade between the end of World War II and the advent of rock ’n’ roll, Tony Bennett emerged as one of the premier pop singers of his generation — the heir apparent to figures like Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and other iconic balladeers whose versatile and engaging vocal styles had already translated to huge successes in the 1930s and 1940s.

Despite his popularity in the postwar era, though, Bennett had grown restless by the 1970s. The time had come for him to explore something new, preferably on his own terms, and in an environment of his own making. After more than 15 years on Columbia and a short stint at MGM Records, Bennett struck out on his own and launched Improv Records, a label that lasted only a couple years but generated several fine recordings during the mid-1970s.

Concord Records gathers 16 tracks from his brief period on Improv into a single collection, Tony Bennett: The Best of the Improv Recordings. The compilation, which is culled from the four-CD boxed set, Tony Bennett: The Complete Improv Recordings, is set for release on July 12, just three weeks prior to Bennett’s 85th birthday.

“These tracks capture the moment in Tony Bennett’s career when he had complete artistic freedom,” says Nick Phillips, Vice President of Catalog and Jazz A&R at Concord Music Group. “As the head of his own label, he was the person who was calling all the shots and running the show. He was free to record what he wanted to record — music that was really important to him and resonated with him . . . I think the results are nothing short of stellar.”

Will Friedwald, who wrote the liner notes for the collection, admits that Improv was short-lived and not a commercial success, releasing about ten albums before shutting its doors after only two years. However, the period was an artistic high mark in Bennett’s overall career.

“Tony Bennett’s own recordings for his label would fall roughly into three categories,” says Friedwald. “Orchestral sessions with his regular musical director at the time, Torrie Zito; quartet sessions with the Ruby Braff-George Barnes Quartet; and most famously, duet sessions with pianist Bill Evans.” Each of these categories is well represented in this collection.

Despite the label’s less than stellar commercial performance during its short existence, says Friedwald, “the Improv sessions would result in some of the most amazing music of Bennett’s career.”

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TRACK LIST:

This Can’t Be Love
Make Someone Happy
Isn’t It Romantic?
Life Is Beautiful
Blue Moon
Thou Swell
You Don’t Know What Love Is
My Romance
The Lady Is a Tramp
You Must Believe in Spring
Reflections
I Could Write a Book
Maybe September
As Time Goes By
While We’re Young [live]
I Left My Heart in San Francisco [live]

'Definitive Chick Corea' Reissue on Concord

Since his earliest recordings in the 1960s, pianist, keyboardist, and composer Chick Corea has consistently taken the creative process to a level that transcends conventional musical doctrines. After spending his formative years with artists as diverse as Miles Davis, Herbie Mann, Stan Getz, and Sarah Vaughan, Corea helped redefine the boundaries of jazz as a founding member of the acclaimed Return To Forever, one of the most innovative and daring jazz fusion collectives of the last half-century. In more recent decades, as the leader of numerous projects that have explored various aspects of the musical landscape, he continues to be an influential force in modern jazz.

In celebration of Corea’s 70th birthday this summer, Concord Music Group provides a look back at three decades’ worth of brilliant recordings in The Definitive Chick Corea on Stretch and Concord. The sweeping two-disc collection — the latest in CMG’s ongoing Definitive series — begins with some of Corea’s best sessions with Stretch in the early 1980s and follows him through the end of the century to his work on Concord up to 2009. The Definitive Chick Corea on Stretch and Concord is set for release on June 7, 2011, just days ahead of the artist’s 70th birthday on June 12.

The collection is being released simultaneously with Forever, a new two-disc electric/acoustic set that Corea recorded live with Return To Forever bandmates Stanley Clarke and Lenny White — along with, on disc two, a few high-profile guests (Chaka Khan, Jean-Luc Ponty, and Bill Connors) — during a world tour in 2009. A previously unreleased version of Corea’s well-known “La Fiesta,” captured during this tour, is the closing track on The Definitive Chick Corea.

Even a quick glance at the range of material in this collection — 21 tracks in all — provides an impressive perspective on the breadth and depth of Corea’s imagination, according to veteran music journalist Don Heckman, who wrote the liner notes for the set.
“Start with the all-star collectives of the early ’80s that find him in the company of such jazz stalwarts as Michael Brecker, Joe Henderson, Roy Haynes, Lee Konitz, and Gary Peacock, to name only a few,” says Heckman. “Add the musical encounters with old friend and frequent collaborator Gary Burton, the first Origin tracks and a glimpse of Chick’s insightful approach to standards. And, in the 2000s, more unusual musical encounters, this time with Bobby McFerrin, Béla Fleck, Hiromi, John McLaughlin, and again Burton, as well as the Elektric and Akoustic Bands.”
As to the divine nature of the creative process, Heckman recalls a quote from Corea himself about the higher channel that every artist eventually dials into: “Your tastes can change from day to day,” says Corea. “But the whole point of being an artist, with my groups, has always been spirituality, art as spirit. That’s our message, and translated into human rights terms, it’s freedom of expression. Freedom of thought, which is actually broader than freedom of religion . . . Freedom to think as you will. Which means freedom to pray, practice your own religion, play what music you want, say what opinions you have, communicate as you want. And that’s our premise.”
The music within The Definitive Chick Corea on Stretch and Concord exemplifies Corea’s unwillingness to be restricted by artificial boundaries, says Nick Phillips, Concord Music Group’s Vice President of Catalog and Jazz A&R and co-producer — in collaboration with Corea — of this collection. “One of the many amazing things about Chick is just how restlessly creative he is — not only as an instrumentalist, but also as a composer,” says Phillips. “He’s a true artist who’s not driven by fickle trends, or some conventional norm about the way a jazz tune should be written or played. He’s driven purely by his own boundless creativity, and he has demonstrated that throughout his career. That’s what shines through on these tracks and that’s why each one is timeless.”
Heckman sums up the release as “a three-decade, double-disc album of selected musical scenes from a richly creative life. An album guaranteed to appeal to Chick’s dedicated fans, as well as the lucky listeners who will be experiencing the pleasures of first discovery.”
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TRACK LIST:

Disc 1

Tap Step
Quartet No. 1
Folk Song
Duende
Windows
Armando’s Rhumba
Bud Powell
Dreamless
Wigwam
Spain
It Could Happen To You
Disc 2
Blue Monk
Bessie’s Blues
Johnny’s Landing
North Africa
The Fool on the Hill
Señorita
Crystal Silence
The Disguise
La Fiesta [previously unreleased]
Fingerprints

Marianne Faithful to Release Horses and High Heels

Marianne Faithful will release her 23rd album, Horse and High Heels, in the US  on June 28th via Naïve Records.  The collection of songs consists of four originals and eight covers ranging from Carol King’s “Going Back” to Greg Dulli & Mark Lanegan’s “The Stations.”  Four of the tracks feature virtuosic guitarist John Porter (Eric Clapton, The Smiths) while Lou Reed and Dr. John/MC5’s Wayne Kramer each make cameos on multiple songs.

Iconic, influential, and inimitable, Marianne has been an entrancing and creative musical presence for the past 47 years.  Beginning with her debut single, “As Tears Go By” (1964, the first song ever written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards), Marianne has created an enduring legacy with her distinct, emotive, and truly haunting voice.   She has also established herself as a powerful songwriter with a gift for crafting visceral melodies and deeply resonant lyrics.  Her artistic fearlessness has led her to sing with legends like David Bowie and Metallica, and collaborate with a younger generation of musicians she influenced such as Beck, Morrissey, Billy Corgan and Blur.

Horses and High Heels was recorded in New Orleans and features a core of masterful local musicians.  It was produced by Hal Willner (Laurie Anderson, Allen Ginsberg), who also helmed Marianne’s critically-acclaimed 2009 collection of covers and duets: Easy Come, Easy Go. The songs touch on everything from soul, blues, folk, country, jazz-pop perkiness, and beguiling guitar-rock.  Much like the rest of her career, the only consistent theme or style of the album is Marianne herself.  Click HERE to listen to the original new song, “Why Did We Have To Part?”

Miles Davis, Albert King & Bill Evans get Definitive discs on Concord

Concord Music Group has assembled three new titles in its ongoing Definitive series, one of which marks the series’ initial foray into CMG’s vast blues catalog. The Definitive Miles Davis on Prestige; The Definitive Bill Evans on Riverside and Fantasy; and The Definitive Albert King on Stax span a total of 60 years and include the music of two monumental figures in jazz and an equally influential figure in the blues. Each of the two-CD collections is set for release on April 5, 2011.

The two dozen tracks of The Definitive Miles Davis on Prestige follow the creative evolution of the most revered trumpeter in the annals of jazz. Spanning the first half of the 1950s, the collection captures Miles at the beginning of his breakthrough to mainstream appeal, according to the liner notes by music journalist and historian Ashley Kahn.

“The purpose of this collection is to deliver a full, definitive overview of that very special period in Miles’s career,” says Kahn. “Its focus covers the nearly six-year period when the trumpeter was signed exclusively to Prestige. Disc 1 offers the best of his 1951 to ’56 sessions primarily as a leader of various ad hoc all-star ensembles. Disc 2 provides a generous sampling of Miles the bandleader, in ’55 and ’56, at the helm of one of the most groundbreaking groups of the day.”

The collection also chronicles Miles’s dramatic artistic growth over a relatively short time, says Nick Phillips, Concord Music Group’s Vice President of Jazz and Catalog A&R and the producer of the collection. “The years between 1951 and 1956 are not a huge amount of time, but the development by Miles — as a musician and as a bandleader — is pretty astonishing in this period,” says Phillips. “This culminates in what ended up being one of the most legendary groups in jazz, the Miles Davis Quintet, featuring John Coltrane.”

The Definitive Bill Evans on Riverside and Fantasy tracks more than two decades of recordings by a highly influential figure in jazz piano. “It would be difficult to think of a major jazz pianist emerging after 1960 who did not take Bill Evans as a model,” says jazz journalist Doug Ramsey, who wrote the liner notes for the 25-song collection that begins in the mid-1950s and ends in 1977. “Indeed, many seasoned pianists who preceded Evans altered their styles after hearing him.”

What’s more, “Evans had a profound effect on how musicians play jazz and how listeners hear it,” says Ramsey. “He is so much a part of the jazz atmosphere that many musicians — regardless of instrument — who came of age in the 21st century are not conscious that his concepts helped form them.”

The collection also gives proper attention on the second disc to Evans’s Fantasy-era recordings of the mid-1970s, says Phillips, who also produced the Evans collection. “Because the Riverside sessions are so acclaimed and so legendary, the Fantasy tracks are often overshadowed,” he says. “But in listening to this collection, you realize that Evans was still creating some amazing recordings throughout the Fantasy period with some high-caliber musicians, like Eddie Gomez, Kenny Burrell, Lee Konitz, Tony Bennett, Ray Brown, and Philly Joe Jones.”

The Definitive Albert King on Stax follows 15 years worth of recordings — from 1961 to 1975, plus a final track from 1984 — by a bluesman who’d spent the early part of his career playing to an African-American fan base in the roadhouses and theaters of the chitlin’ circuit. But by the latter half of the 1960s, the genre “was now attracting the rapt interest of young white listeners, their sensibilities opened wide by the muscular, in-your-face blues rock of the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, and Jimi Hendrix,” says roots music historian Bill Dahl in his liner notes for the collection. “These new converts were gravitating to the best the idiom had to offer. No single blues guitarist made a more stunning impact during that tumultuous timeframe than Albert King.”

“For as paradoxical as it might sound, you could make the case that Albert King was a cheery blues guy,” says Chris Clough, Concord’s manager of catalog development and producer of the Albert King collection. “He had that wry smile, and he often smoked a pipe. He was always well dressed and dapper. He was genuinely interested in putting on a show for his audience, and that sensibility comes through on these tracks.”

Dahl suggests that the years between 1966 and 1975 were a “Golden Decade” for King. “He was with Stax that entire time,” he says, “right up to the Memphis label’s unfortunate demise, cutting one enduring blues classic after another as he scaled the charts over and over again. In the process, King deeply influenced countless up-and-coming blues axemen, even though the ringing licks he coaxed out of his futuristic Gibson Flying V were all but impossible to accurately recreate.”

The White Buffalo New CD + Tour Dates

The White Buffalo represents an authentic homage to the times of hard touring, hard drinking artists who truly lived what they sang about. Seamlessly moving from heartfelt ballads to raucous bar songs, The White Buffalo sings with honesty and thoughtful reflection as he wanders the road, sharing his music.  Everything about him is big, from his imposing physical size to his amazing vocal range.  From his whiskey-drenched, growling lows to heart-stopping highs, The White Buffalo paints a touching picture, whether he stands alone or performs with his energetic, charismatic band.

After vigorously road testing his new material, The White Buffalo is releasing his latest EP, Prepare for Black & Blue on Ruff Shod Records, State Radio's imprint label through Nettwerk, this fall. Produced by Jimmy Messer, this collection of songs showcases The White Buffalo's stripped down unmistakable sound.

To catch a glimpse of the live White Buffalo experience, watch this live video of EP track "Into the Sun."

The White Buffalo Tour Dates:

Dec 10 - House of Blues - Boston, MA **
Dec 14 - Detroit Bar - Costa Mesa, CA
Dec 15 - The Mint - LA, CA
Dec 16 - Casbah - San Diego, CA
Dec 17 - Crepe Place - Santa Cruz, CA
Dec 18 - Hotel Utah - San Francisco, CA
Dec 19 - Hop Monk Tavern - Sebastopol, CA
** Calling All Crows w/ Chad Stokes & Friends

More winter tour dates to be announced soon

Blix Street Records To Release "Simply Eva" by Eva Cassidy

She left us way too soon, in November of 1996, but Eva Cassidy's voice has continued to resonate with fans around the world since the music she left behind began to be released two years after her passing from melanoma at the age of 33.On January 25, 2011, independent Blix Street Records will release SIMPLY EVA, a collection of 12 acoustic versions of songs with which she has been associated, all previously-unheard guitar and vocal only performances.

This "Eva only" collection showcases Cassidy's extraordinary voice and superb guitar work as well as her unusual arrangements of sometimes familiar material to create a new and different listening experience for even the most devoted fans of her music. Whether it's her spare interpretation of Christine McVie's "Songbird," (which was the title cut of the initial breakthrough 1998 compilation from the Cassidy canon), the bluesy stylings of "People Get Ready" or the folk versions of "Wayfaring Stranger" and "Wade In The Water," it's Cassidy's voice that is front and center, unadorned. The new version of Paul Simon's "Kathy's Song" is extended to include three additional verses that did not appear on the previously released version.

In addition to including Eva's previously unreleased, re-defining version of "San Francisco Bay Blues," SIMPLY EVA is the first album to include the Blues Alley guitar/vocal performance of "Over The Rainbow" from the Rainbow video that triggered Eva Cassidy's rise to the top of the British Pop Charts in March, 2001. Recorded five years after the 1991 version heard on SONGBIRD (which country superstar Martina McBride recently cited among her favorite recordings on the ABC News Nightline "Playlist" feature, saying "I never get tired of it"), the included fully evolved version literally redefined this all-time number one popular song (according to a BBC radio poll). Other songs include "True Colors," "Who Knows Where the Time Goes," "Time After Time," "Autumn Leaves" and Eva's a cappella performance of "I Know You By Heart."

Blix Street President Bill Straw compiled the selections for SIMPLY EVA after initially searching the archives for a possible holiday track. "In doing so," he writes in the liner notes, "I literally heard Eva for the first time, again. That I was hearing the same songs in a different way actually added to my sense of re-discovery."

A special by-product of his quest was the discovery of a Cassidy rendition of "Silent Night," which has just been made available via iTunes and other digital outlets in time for the holiday season. Recorded in 1988, Eva's performance of the traditional Christmas classic is destined to become a holiday staple for years to come. It will be included on the iTunes digital download version of SIMPLY EVA as a bonus track when the album becomes available.

Born in Washington, DC, Eva Cassidy recorded and performed in the area for several years until her untimely death. She left behind a small, but impeccable body of recordings that have been meticulously curated and compiled by Blix Street Records with the support of her parents, Barbara and Hugh Cassidy.

In April, 1998, Blix Street posthumously released SONGBIRD, a collection chosen primarily from two other Cassidy albums, LIVE AT BLUES ALLEY and EVA BY HEART. It featured Eva's unqualified signature performance of "Over the Rainbow" as well as Sting's "Fields of Gold." Later that same year, Blix Street also released LIVE AT BLUES ALLEY and EVA BY HEART, the first national exposure for both albums, followed in May, 2000 by TIME AFTER TIME, a new compilation selected from her unreleased material.

But it was in 2001 that Eva Cassidy became an "overnight sensation" when the SONGBIRD compilation reached No.1 on the British charts. By the end of that year, the album had been certified triple-platinum in England (for sales of more than 900,000 sold) and gold in the U.S. (more than 500,000 units); the album, now six times platinum in England and platinum in the U.S., eventually hit No. 1 on Billboard's Internet Albums chart and topped the publication's Pop Catalog survey for 32 weeks. IMAGINE also hit No. 1 on the British charts in 2002 and commandeered the top slot on Billboard's Independent Albums chart. AMERICAN TUNE, another No. 1 in England in 2003, ultimately made it to No. 4 on Billboard's Independent Albums chart. WONDERFUL WORLD, a compilation of tracks from all the previous albums other than SONGBIRD, came out in 2004. SOMEWHERE, a collection that included two songs co-written by Cassidy as well as impressive covers, was released in 2008.

SIMPLY EVA now joins this classic catalogue that has already sold more than eight million CDs around the world.

National Jazz Museum in Harlem Nov. 15 - Nov. 21, 2010 Schedule

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

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Savory Collection Part 2: Count Basie – 1930s
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300
The Savory Collection may well redefine the critical view of jazz in the late 1930s. Dan Morgenstern, Director of the Institute of Jazz Studies, provides proof of this claim in the New York Times by "citing the case of Herschel Evans, a saxophonist who played in the Count Basie Orchestra but who died early in 1939, just before his 30th birthday. Evans played alongside Lester Young, who was one of the giants of the saxophone and constantly overshadowed Evans on the Basie group’s studio recordings.

“There can never be too much Lester Young, and there is some wonderful new Lester Young on these discs,” Mr. Morgenstern said. “But there are also some things where you can really hear Herschel, who is woefully under-represented on record and who, until now, we hardly ever got to hear stretched out. What I’ve heard really gives us a much better picture of what he was all about.”

That's just one of the wonders of Basie you'll hear tonight!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Harlem in the Himalayas
Meg Okura / Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble
7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door |
For tickets: RMA Box Office <http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=-1&amp;msgid=0&amp;act=11111&amp;c=246760&amp;destination=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rmanyc.org%2Fharleminthehimalayas%2F>  or call 212-620-5000 ext. 344
Meg Okura is “the queen of chamber jazz,” says Dan Bilawsky in All About Jazz. In her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble, Okura skillfully balances her roles as violin virtuoso, prolific composer, and master erhu player. Comprised of a group of young virtuosi, the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble brilliantly weaves together jazz, classical, and traditional Japanese music to create their own unique blend of world-chamber jazz. They have been hailed by the New York Times as “vibrant” and “sophisticated.” See and hear why this evening in the intimate setting of the acoustically rich theater at the Rubin Museum of Art.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday Panels
Savory Saturday
12:00 – 4:00PM
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300
Come have an extended listening session and hear live music, all based around new discoveries unheard for 70 years. By now, if you're a jazz fan attuned to history, you're aware of the Savory Collection. But whether you're a long time fan, or a newbie, you owe it to yourself to experience this gold mine find from the vaults of jazz lore.

THE DEFINITIVE DAVE BRUBECK

Over the course of seven decades, Dave Brubeck has become one of the most iconic and influential figures in all of jazz. In that time, the pianist/composer/bandleader continually has defied conventions and preconceptions by grafting elements of numerous styles — classical, Latin, pop and more — into a solid and unwavering jazz foundation and creating a musical hybrid that still is deeply rooted in the jazz tradition. While his 1959 opus, Time Out, is considered a landmark recording, it represents only the tip of the iceberg that is Brubeck’s massive and enduring body of recorded work.

Concord Music Group provides a sweeping look at that body of work in The Definitive Dave Brubeck on Fantasy, Concord Jazz and Telarc. The ambitious two-disc collection — the latest in CMG’s ongoing Definitive series — assembles some of Brubeck’s earliest session work from the 1940s as well as some of his more recent recordings from the past few decades. The Definitive Dave Brubeck is set for release on November 16, 2010, in celebration of the music icon’s 90th birthday on December 6.

The collection’s comprehensive liner notes — written by music journalist and historian Ashley Kahn and based on a recent interview with Russell Gloyd, Brubeck’s manager/producer/conductor of more than 30 years — carefully parse out each of the 26 tracks in the set and the relationship between the two distinct periods represented on each disc. Disc 1 chronicles the Fantasy years, from the very beginning of Fantasy Records in the 1940s to the end of 1953, when Brubeck still was learning, absorbing, experimenting and recording mostly standards and other jazz repertoire — already proving himself to be a top-tier musician and bandleader. Disc 2 follows the artist from the 1980s to the early years of the 21st century, performing many of his own compositions, still exploring and creating vibrant music.

“The link between these two discs is one of consistency,” says Gloyd, producer of The Definitive Dave Brubeck collection. “Most of the elements of Disc 2 — melodic ideas and musical innovations, the choice of songs and sidemen — can be traced back to Disc 1, especially with the early Trio recordings.”

Regardless of where one lands on the continuum of Brubeck’s career, the exploratory nature of his approach to music remains constant. “Whether it’s his earliest recordings or his more recent releases, Brubeck is consistently probing, curious and inventive,” says Nick Phillips, Concord Music Group’s Vice President of Jazz and Catalog A&R and director of Concord’s Definitive series. “He’s a rare artist who has never put up barriers between genres. Here you have someone who was studying classical music and classical composition in a conservatory setting, but ultimately decided to become a jazz artist. That, however, didn’t mean he’d put up a wall between jazz and classical, or jazz and Latin, or what have you.”

As one example, Russell Gloyd cites Brubeck’s Trio recording of “How High the Moon”:  “Note that Dave cut this right at the height of bop but took it in a completely different direction, recording counterpoint for the first time and winding up closing in the style of a Bach chorale.”  Another example, more than three decades later, is Brubeck’s recording of “Take Five” live in the Soviet Union, in which he quotes the theme from the first movement of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony in his piano improvisation.

The juxtaposition of the early and recent recordings within a single collection highlights what Kahn calls the “scripted quality” to the Dave Brubeck story, “as if some master novelist sketched out the narrative in advance. There’s hardly a wasted step or a creative dead-end in his career; early decisions and musical forays consistently predicted or prepared Brubeck for what followed . . . To recognize this aspect of Brubeck’s career is to grasp the idea that serves as the foundation for this collection: the first time the earliest echoes of his musical genius have been combined with his best recordings of recent years.”  Indeed, it makes for a most fitting celebration of the 90th anniversary of the legendary artist’s birth.

On Monday, December 6th, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will also celebrate Brubeck’s birthday with the premiere of Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way, a new documentary executive-produced by Clint Eastwood and narrated by TCM Essentials co-host Alec Baldwin. Directed by Bruce Ricker, the film features perceptive interviews with such well known luminaries as George Lucas, Sting, Wynton Marsalis and Bill Cosby and performances by Keith Emerson, Yo-Yo Ma and David Benoit.

For all of the insight provided by The Definitive Brubeck, the story is far from over.  Unimpeded by the approach of his 90th birthday in early December, Brubeck continues to follow the narrative. “He has always been, and continues to be, a restlessly creative artist,” says Gloyd.

TRACK LIST:

Disc 1
I Found a New Baby
The Way You Look Tonight
(Back Home Again In) Indiana
Laura
Singin’ in the Rain
That Old Black Magic
Sweet Georgia Brown
Perfidia
Avalon
How High the Moon
Look for the Silver Lining
This Can’t Be Love
My Romance
Lulu’s Back in Town
Over the Rainbow
How High the Moon
All the Things You Are

Disc 2

Koto Song
Black and Blue
St. Louis Blues
Take Five
(Variations On) Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?
Here Comes McBride
Waltzing
Day After Day
Forty Days

Jazz Museum in Harlem Featured on BBC

A feature piece on the NJMH’s acquisition of and programming around the BILL SAVORY collection with be broadcast Wednesday, September 29th on the  7 p.m. broadcast (most local times) on both BBC AMERICA and BBC WORLD.

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, a Smithsonian Affiliate, is dedicated to preserving and perpetuating jazz as a living entity that stretches as far into the future as it does into the past. NJMH programs currently attract several thousand visitors a year. This event is the Museum’s largest and most important annual fundraising effort. Proceeds from the gala will support the Museum’s mission.

As you may have seen in the August 17th New York Times cover story, the National Jazz Museum in Harlem made a acquisition of a historic collection of never-before-heard recordings, including live performances of great American jazz icons from 1935-1941.  The collection of 975 aluminum and vinyl discs, encompassing over 100 hours of material, was created by William Savory, a recording engineer and Harvard-educated physicist who worked at a radio transcription service in New York and used the equipment his job afforded him to record hundreds of hours of material directly off the radio. The collection includes performances by jazz icons such as Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Lester Young, Lionel Hampton, Fats Waller, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, and more, as well as classical broadcasts including Toscanini, Ormandy, and Kirsten Flagstad. The quality of the discs is extraordinary for the time, as most jazz enthusiasts in the 1930s did not have the access to the professional equipment that Savory enjoyed. You can sample some these newly discovered treasures at the Museum’s website.

The search for, and cultivation of, this collection is an exemplary example of the Museum’s commitment to preserve the history of jazz, while nurturing its evolution for future generations.  It also comes at a fortuitous time in the Museum’s development as we are currently preparing to build a permanent home at Mart 125 – a historic landmark in Upper Manhattan which stands directly across from the famed Apollo Theatre on Harlem’s 125th Street.