Jazz Dispensary announces ‘Top Shelf’ reissues for Jack Dejohnette, Idris Muhammad, and Leon Spencer

Article Contributed by Chummy PR | Published on Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Jazz Dispensary is proud to announce the next harvest of its offerings from the acclaimed Top Shelf series, with a triple groove of reissues featuring Jack DeJohnette’s Sorcery, Idris Muhammad’s Black Rhythm Revolution!, and Leon Spencer’s Where I’m Coming From. These reissues mark the first wide vinyl release of all three albums in over 40 years. As with every title in the Top Shelf series, which reissues the highest-quality, hand-picked rarities (all culled from Craft Recordings’ vaults), the albums have been cut from the original analog tapes (AAA) by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio and pressed on audiophile-quality 180-gram vinyl at RTI. The LPs are housed in tip-on jackets, featuring faithfully reproduced original designs. Available to pre-order beginning today (5/30), the releases are due out July 14th at JazzDispensary.com and record stores worldwide. Additionally, Jazz Dispensary is releasing its first-ever Smokeware collection, which features rolling papers, grinders, and rolling trays, as well as a brand-new tote bag. Coinciding with today’s announcement is the premiere of Jazz Dispensary’s new video trailer for the releases (watch here).

In a career that spans five decades and includes collaborations with some of the most iconic figures in modern jazz, GRAMMY®️ winner Jack DeJohnette has established an unchallenged reputation as one of the greatest drummers in the history of the genre, collaborating with the likes of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, and so many more. Along the way, he has developed a versatility that allows room for hard bop, R&B, world music, avant-garde, and just about every other style to emerge in the past half-century. Sorcery finds DeJohnette teamed up with a tight crew of bad-ass bandmates, including veterans of Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew sessions (bassist Dave Holland) and Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters band (Bennie Maupin). Discursive, meditative, trippy but grounded in tasty grooves (like the deep-digger drum-break “Epilog”, heard previously on Jazz Dispensary’s Cosmic Stash) and laced with flurries of Hendrix-on-jazz-steroids guitar from 6-string heroes John Abercrombie and Mick Goodrick—plus the ahead-of-its-time electronic processing of DeJohnette, this band would never be mistakenly filed under Smooth Jazz.

Idris Muhammad was an American jazz drummer and bandleader. He had an extensive career performing jazz, funk, R&B, and soul music and recorded with musicians such as Ahmad Jamal, Lou Donaldson, Pharoah Sanders, Bob James, and Tete Montoliu. His pioneering approach which wed syncopated grooves, bluesy swing, and trademark funky breaks formed the backbone of his illustrious career. The New Orleans-bred rhythm king successfully made the leap from the finest soulful jazz records of the ’60s to the nastiest fusion funk of the ’70s, and Black Rhythm Revolution! catches him right on the cusp of the two in 1970, with one good foot in the get-down of “Express Yourself” and “Super Bad,” with a chaser of “Wander” (which keen ears will recognize from Jazz Dispensary’s Soul Diesel Vol.2), and the other in his own heady excursions into modal rhythm and melody.

The last album of this batch of reissues is the very definition of ’70s soulful jazz. Organ magician Leon Spencer’s Where I’m Coming From has all the hallmarks of Prestige Records at its finest, with an all-star cast of sidemen (welcome back, Idris Muhammed!; hello to Madlib’s uncle, Jon Faddis!; greetings to the funky flute of Hubert Laws!) recorded at Van Gelder’s studio and packed with down and dirty grooves top to bottom. From the opening cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” to the low-slung original headnodder “Where I’m Coming From,” with stops along the way dipping into the catalogs of Curtis Mayfield (“Give Me Your Love”), Marvin Gaye (“Trouble Man”) and the Four Tops (“Keeper of the Castle”), Leon Spencer’s rippling organ lines sear this prime example of groove jazz.

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Tracklist – Sorcery

Side A

    Sorcery #1
    The Right Time
    The Rock Thing

Side B

    The Reverend King Suite: a) Reverend King / b) Obstructions / c) The Fatal Shot / d) Mourning / e) Unrest / f) New Spirits on the Horizon
    Four Levels of Joy

Tracklist – Black Rhythm Revolution!:

Side A

    Express Yourself
    Soulful Drums
    Super Bad

Side B

    By the Red Sea

Tracklist – Where I’m Coming From:

Side A

    Give Me Your Love
    Keeper of the Castle

Side B

    Trouble Man
    The Price a Po’ Man’s Got to Pay
    Where I’m Coming From