Universal music is reissuing a welter of vintage jazz albums this month as part of the label’s ongoing ‘Originals’ digipak series. The range of titles covers the whole jazz spectrum, from free jazz to straight ahead, fusion and jazz-funk.
Devotees of iconic jazz saxophonist JOHN COLTRANE will be pleased to discover that five of his mid-’60s Impulse! albums are back in circulation again – these are ‘The John Coltrane Quartet Plays,’ ‘Meditations,’ ‘Kulu Se Mama,’ ‘New Thing At Newport’ (with Archie Shepp), and Ascension (Editions I & II).’ Also on the Impulse! label are albums by ace arranger, OLIVER NELSON (his 1967 homage to John F. Kennedy called ‘The Kennedy Dream’), Coltrane pianist McCOY TYNER (1964’s ‘Today & Tomorrow’); and ‘Chapter Three: Viva Emiliano Zapata,’ a 1974 album by Argentine saxophonist, GATO BARBIERI (his later more accessible Latin-jazz-infused ‘Tropico’ album for A&M is also reissued).
Those who prefer big band jazz to cutting edge sounds will prefer COUNT BASIE’S classic 1964 outing for Verve, ‘Basie Land.’ Another jazz swinger, pianist OSCAR PETERSON, has two classic LPs back in the racks – ‘The Original Duo Recordings 1950-1951’ and ‘Plays The Jerome Kern Songbook,’ both on Verve.
Fans of the cool West Coast sound will lap up GERRY MULLIGAN’S and PAUL DESMOND’S classic late-’50s session, ‘Blues In Time.’ Also, Desmond’s collaboration with former boss, DAVE BRUBECK (‘1975: The Duets’), is reissued, along with Mulligan’s 1990 album, ‘Lonesome Boulevard’ and fellow sax maestro STAN GETZ’S Latin-infused album ‘Apasionado.’
Another revered tenor sax giant is JOE HENDERSON. His 1997 album, ‘Porgy & Bess’ – which features cameos from Sting, Chaka Khan plus Miles Davis alumni Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland and John Scofield – is back in circulation again.
For fans of ’70s soul-infused jazz-funk, two titles by vibraphone maestro, ROY AYERS, are out again – ‘Virgo Red,’ a 1973 Roy Ayers Ubiquity set featuring ‘Love From The Sun’ and 1975’s ‘A Tear To A Smile’ (featuring ‘2000 Black’). Also keep your eyes peeled for a couple of GROVER WASHINGTON JR titles: namely the Creed Taylor-produced ‘A Secret Place’ originally issued on Kudu in 1976 and 1978’s ‘Reed Seed,’ first released by Motown (the latter contains the studio version of ‘Santa Cruzin”). Talking of jazz-funk, also check out THE CRUSADERS’ 1978 Blue Thumb album ‘Images,’ which is out again via Verve.
Another soulful jazz set comes from QUINCY JONES. First released by A&M in 1971, ‘Smackwater Jack’ is an eclectic mix of soul, jazz and funk and includes cameos from Freddie Hubbard, Bill Cosby, Hubert Laws, Milt Jackson, Valerie Simpson and Joshie Armistead. Jones’ earlier album, ‘Quincy Jones Explores The Music Of Henry Mancini’ (1968), is also in the shops again (it contains Jones’ interpretations of Mancini classics like ‘The Pink Panther,’ ‘Moon River,’ and ‘Days Of Wine & Roses’).