George Benson WEEKEND IN LONDON

George Benson
Weekend in London
Provogue/Mascot Label

Surprises Around Every Corner.

I was pretty damn excited to receive this a few weeks ago, as when I was something of a Soul Boy back in the 1980’s his Livin’ Inside Your Love, In Your Eyes and Give Me The Night LP’s were a major part of my weekend soundtrack; and the relevent singles were bonafide dancefloor fillers at the clubs I haunted too.
Times move on and my music tastes changed; but every now and again these albums or more likely The Collection (now on CD) still get played at Casa Pica Pica; as my wife was and is a big fan too.
Now; as ‘real’ fans know this was only a very short period in George Benson’s career, having started out playing guitar ‘for money’ as an 8 year old and cutting his first discs a year later!
I also re-discovered him via Francis Wolf’s amazing photography book; Blue Note, as the guitarist is there in the mid 1960’s laying down licks on tracks that have become household names!
So; without this turning into a history lesson; let’s leap forward to a ground breaking weekend in 2019 at the legendary Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in the heart of London.
Although he could probably sell out a month of gigs in Vegas; George pays homage to his beginnings by returning to the scene of one his first ever gigs outside the USA.
Now; ‘spoiler alert’ ….. FAO Soul Boys and girls; what follows is a heady brew of Benson’s hits, misses and more; and while Soulful …….. this is George and Band tripping down their Jazz path; and the arrangements may confuse the casual listener (e.g Mrs Magpie!), but steady your nerves as what comes out of your speakers has the capacity to blow your mind!
The Classic and classy Give Me The Night opens proceedings; and in all of the best Jazz traditions ‘features all of the right notes; just not necessarily in the right order;’ to paraphrase Eric Morecombe esq.
In the liner notes George says that they go out with a set list and some melodies; and the rest is down to the ‘mood of the room’ and that brings out some glorious reworkings of songs that featured heavily in my younger life; Love X Love, Turn Your Love Around, In Your Eyes and of course, the absolutely glorious Feel Like Making Love; which is now tempered in such a way it certainly now suits the elderly among us again.
But; and here’s the real reason you should buy this album, their are surprises around every corner …….. none more so than the way he turns I Hear You Knocking into a late night slice of sexy sleaze; and his guitar playing while as exemplary as you’d expect on every song; but on Love Ballad and Affirmation it’s quite extraordinary at times …… really, really showing why he’s often referred to as a ‘Guitarist’s Guitarist’ …… slinky, intricate and sounding like liquid gold in every note.
Gosh; how on earth am I expected to select a Favourite Song here? But I must; and I’m torn between two absolute belters.
The hit Never Give Up On a Good Thing goes off in 100 different directions during its 4 minutes and 41 seconds but never loses that hypnotic melody and beautiful sentiment.
The other comes from the pen of another; originally written by Donny Hathaway in 1969, was just as relevant 50 years later in the Summer of 2019.
Sad but true.
For me it just sounds the perfect song for George Benson (and band) to play the funk out of inside a tiny Jazz Club as the world around us seemed to be going to Hell in a handcart. Everything about it, from Benson’s feisty guitar playing, the impassioned keyboards, potent drums and nothing more so than the female backing singers’ Gospel singing combine to make for a beautifully intense 6 minutes of raw and soulful Jazz Music for the masses.
The album closes with the delightful Cruise Control, which allows everyone on stage a chance to shine in the spotlight.
As I said at the beginning, WEEKEND IN LONDON will be a ‘considered purchase;’ as it’s not just a re-working of Benson’s Greatest Hits just for the sake of it; this is the guitar player George Benson at his absolute finest and taking some of his most famous songs on a joyous ride at the same time.

Released November 13th 2020
http://www.georgebenson.com/

BUY DON’T SPOTIFY
https://mascotlabelgroup.myshopify.com/collections/george-benson?_ga=2.241678338.1294328872.1604838571-1124932060.1599248866



Thelonious Monk PALO ALTO

Thelonious Monk 
Palo Alto
Impulse Records

Finally Unearthed! A Great Lost Jazz Recording With an Amazing Backstory.

“Hey man! This is Jazz!”
Historically I’ve dipped in and out of Jazz, eventually knowing which bits and pieces suit me, but thankfully my ‘bag man’ in that multi-faceted world knows my tastes and sent this ‘great lost album’ for my delectation.
Now, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard Thelonious Monk before; but obviously recognised the name (as it’s quite distinctive!) so would have given this album a listen anyways; but the story attached to the recording blew my mind, and is worthy of a Film (movie) ….. seriously.
In the autumn of 1968, a sixteen-year-old boy named Danny Scher had a dream. He wanted to bring the renowned jazz pianist Thelonious Monk and his quartet to play a benefit concert at his high school in Palo Alto, California to raise funds for his school and to help bring about racial unity in his community.
Armed with little more than a telephone, posters, a persuasive pitch, an impressive knowledge of jazz and an iron-willed determination, Scher made the concert happen……. all for $500!

Then of course, there’s the actual music.
The 47 minute set opens with the sublime Ruby My Dear; and apart from the breathtaking musicianship from the individual players; the first thing I noticed was the clarity of the production. Even allowing for 21st Century studio witchcraft cleaning up the tapes, the soundboard that night must have come from the Starship Enterprise.
As the night progresses the tunes (?) simply get ever more intricate and keep managing to astound my untutored ears; especially the way Monk appears to go in and out of the Classical end of the spectrum on Don’t Blame Me and Episotrophy; which manages to really swing too.
Obviously there isn’t just Monk on stage; and while he is undoubtedly the ‘Star’ ……….. but when tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse steps forward everything, especially on the sublime Blue Monk takes on a whole new dimension; and his additions to Well You Needn’t certainly deserve a mention in despatches too, as do bassist Larry Gales and drummer Ben Riley who get to showcase their skills in the spotlight there too.
As this is all new to me choosing a Favourite Track out of these six is nigh on impossible as each is truly amazing (to me); but the finale, which finds Monk alone at the piano; I Love You Sweetheart (of All My Dreams) is spine tingling, and therefore wins the accolade (today).
With Jazz artists in general, and from what I’ve learnt of Thelonious Monk, they change direction so often and on a whim, plus improvise so much tunes are often unrecognisable from their original versions Compilations and Best Of’s are a waste of time and money; so perhaps this will be the only work of his that I ever own.

Released 18th September 2020
https://theloniousmonk.store/pages/bio
BUY DON’T SPOTIFY
Buy Here https://shop.decca.com/*/*/PALO-ALTO-LP/6KHD0000000






Maceo Parker SOUL FOOD – COOKING WITH MACEO

Maceo Parker
Soul Food – Cooking With Maceo
Funk Garage/Mascot Label

Smouldering Soul and Fiery Funk From a Master-Craftsman.

I’ve always had eclectic musical tastes, but Funk and Jazz-Funk have mostly passed me by; probably because I associate both with Nightclubs, and being the boring old sod I was as a young man, hardly ever visited such establishments.
Oddly enough; the older I got the more intrigued I became; but apart from a couple of George Benson, Commodores, Jeffrey Osborne (and Various Artist) albums, the RMHQ cupboard is bare.
So, I grabbed the opportunity to review this with both hands!
I presume most people reading this already know Maceo Parker’s backstory; and if you don’t there’s more than enough on the internet to fill a Tuesday evening in; so I will get straight into the music!
The ‘groove’ starts with more relish than a NY Hot Dog on opening track Cross The Track; a slinky dance floor filler that’s just as listenable in the comfort of your own home; but be prepared to find yourself dancing when you least expect it.
I don’t even know if Nightclubs still exist; but if they do just like that first song; most every cut here is destined to make you want to cut a rug; with or without the love of your life opposite you.
For the unaccustomed like myself there’s a glorious mix of old and new songs here; all sprinkled with Parker’s saxophonic diamond dust and superbly soulful singing voice.
Of the songs I recognised the Good Doctor’s Right Place/Wrong Time gets a 21st Century makeover, with the Voodoo slightly diluted but the Funk turned up to the MAX! Then there’s The Meters’s, Just Kissed My Baby which I actually have on a VA album; but hardly recognised in this format which sounds like something Allen Toussaint may have recorded; which isn’t as odd as you’d think; because Maceo follows it with a reworking of Toussaint’s own Yes We Can, Can ……… which sounds as cool as it’s apt in the current Geo-Political climate!
I’ve never really been a Prince fan; but Parker’s slow and soulful rendering of the Purple One’s Other Side of The Pillow sounds as if Parker had been listening to Brook Benton and Nat King Cole on the ride to the studio; and that’s meant as a huge compliment.
While not my favourite Aretha song; Maceo and friends really do add extra edge and Funk (of course) to Rock Steady and bring it right up to date.
Of the new tracks; Hard Times evokes more memories of the Blue Note Club than it will Studio 54; and it adds a really cool vibe to an otherwise uptempo album.
I’m not sure when Compared To What was first written; but it’s got a real hard edge to the Maceo’s message in the lyrics; and without being outright angry; it could easily be the Sound of Summer 2020 across America, in the way that Curtis and Marvin managed many moons ago.
Which brings me to my Official Favourite Song here; it was very, very nearly the finale Grazing in The Grass with Parker’s saxophone sounding almost Angelic; but man you have to have big cajones to include a song MACEO; (instrumental actually) named after yourself; but Maceo Parker does it with poise, self-assurance and Class with a capital C.
This is Maceo Parker’s 16th full length album; but the first in 8 years and …… yes indeed; it’s been well worth the wait.

Released June 26th 2020
http://www.maceo.com/
BUY HERE: https://www.mascotlabelgroup.com/maceo-parker


Bruce Katz SOLO RIDE

Bruce Katz
Solo Ride
American Showplace Music

Classical Jazz from Rock & Roll’s Coolest Piano-Man

As is my won’t, I never read the Press Release before I play an album as I don’t want to prejudge my thoughts on the music.
WOAH…..WOAH …….. and thrice WOAH!
I wasn’t prepared in the slightest for what I heard here.
I was well over a minute into opening track Crescent Crawl when I got to thinking, “When’s he going to sing?”
The answer is ……. NEVER!
Some of my favourite musicians are pianists; but 99% of the time they sing too, or are part of an ensemble cast ……. not so here; acclaimed, multi-award winning and mega-talented Bruce Katz just let’s his fingers (and feet) do the talking, and after thirty years of composing, touring and playing this is his ‘debut solo album’; just him and a grand piano in a studio with brilliant acoustics and no safety net to speak of.
That opening track Crescent Crawl actually prepares you for what is to follow, a slightly New Orleans tinged Jazz piece that somehow sets your heart racing as well as being the perfect mellow accompaniment to a Summer’s evening (or Spring, Fall or Winter too!).
I don’t want to call these tracks ‘tunes’ as they are far more complex, more ‘pieces’ in the Classical sense; with Dreams of Yesterday, Easy Living and Red Sneakers both reminding me of an old Scott Joplin Ragtime LP I had; while the raffish Down at the Barrelhouse and Praise House are straight from a night listening to Professor Longhair, surely?
There’s a beautiful fluidity to Katz’ playing style that is truly unique, albeit with flourishes of Dr. John and Randy Newman here and there; but that’s probably just the pedant in me coming out.
I can’t think of much better, or indeed more thrilling than one night hearing Bruce Katz playing It Hurts Me Too in Hall 1 at Sage Gateshead; but Red Sneakers will be perfect for a night in the Prohibition Bar drinking gin wit my best gal by my side; such is the amazing diversity and dexterity on offer on this album.
Choosing a favourite ‘piece’ has been challenging in itself; but I think I’m finally going for the deeply emotional The Way to Your Heart, which is one part Classical, one part Jazz and one part Heavenly; but the Honky-Tonky finale Watermelon Thump deserves a ‘Highly Rated’ too.
Suffice to say this album has come out of leftfield and has been a challenge at times; but Bruce Katz’ amazing talent won me over and I think that I’m now a fan; and would certainly travel some distance to see him play In Concert.
# If I’d read the Press Release before listening I’d have discovered that Katz has for 30 years or so been the piano player in both Gregg Allman’s band and various Allman/Betts/Trucks offshoots as well as Duke Robillard, Maria Muldaur and friend of RMHQ Mr Ronnie Earl’s band too ….. so yes, I’m correct in letting the music do the talking …… as this don’t sound like none of that!

Released August 16th 2019
http://www.brucekatzband.com/BK/home_news.html

#This is the original Bruce Katz Band version of Crescent Crawl ……… but you get the idea.

Davina and the Vagabonds SUGAR DROPS

Davina & the Vagabonds
Sugar Drops
Compass Records

Bringing The Good Times Back on a Sure Fire Game Changer!

Although it was in 2012, I can still distinctly remember the night I ‘discovered’ the wondressness that is Davina and the Vagabonds at the Jumpin’ Hot Club in Newcastle which is now in my Top 10 gigs of all time; and their headline appearance on the JHC Outside Stage at SummerTyne at couple of years later certainly runs it close.
Unashamedly ‘traditional’ and even ‘old fashioned’ in the way Davina & The Vagabonds go about their business breathing new life into New Orleans Jazz infused Swing, you forget everything that’s on the other side of the door when this larger than life character enters your life.
While 99% of what happens live and on record revolves around the Divine Miss D, be under no illusions kiddies, this is very much a Band effort with a capital B.
This latest album opens with Bone Collection; a bit of a leftfield love song in the style of Satchmo or a young Ella, with Davina Lozier (nee Sowerby) deftly making the piano break your heart as Zack Lozier makes the clarinet cool for the first ever time!
Love, heartbreak and redemption are the obvious golden threads that weave through every song here; and Davina’s songwriting is undoubtedly up there with best of her contempories today; with the swoonsome Mr. Big Talker and Another Lonely Place sounding as if they wouldn’t have been out of place on an album by Ella, Dusty or Amy, such is their majesty and the single Little Miss Sunshine has quite rightly been a radio hit across the world.
Then, there’s the title track Sugar Drops with Davina underplaying some rather beautiful piano playing as she shows what a wonderful singer she really is under all the hoopla and facial shenanigans that we associate with her.
My copy of this album is as a download, but for once I understand where the Vinyl Fetishists are coming from; as songs like I Can’t Believe I Let You Go and Magic Kisses, with Zack Lozier trying to blow his larynx out on trumpet extraordinaire deserve your full attention and will only benefit from the drama of placing the record on a turntable then having to turn it over to hear the rest.
While this an old fashioned Long Player (with some very commercial singles too) there is one particular song stands out like a bright red poppy. I’m going to make a brave statement now …….. with only a modicum of airplay and judicial TV Appearances, Devil Horns will be a Game Changer for Davina and The Vagabonds as it has all the hallmarks of becoming a modern day classic, and the cute inclusion of Ring of Fire’ by the horn section halfway through does it no harm at all.
I’ve been a fan for 7 years now and SUGAR DROPS just may be the break-out album that Davina and the Vagabonds have worked so very hard at to deserve.
Fingers crossed.

Released August 2nd 2019
http://davinaandthevagabonds.com/

Frank Sinatra I’VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN

Frank Sinatra
I’ve Got You Under My Skin
BMG/Dreyfus Jazz

The Master Gets a Masterful and Classy Overhaul

A few months ago I re-posted the Press Release for a series of re-mastered Jazz albums; and …… surprise, surprise; I was made fun of by a few friends.
Who knew I liked Jazz? Well; I do and I don’t. Over the years I’ve tried my hardest to ‘get into Jazz’; but have generally failed miserably as it can be very tough on the senses at times; but I’ve always had a soft spot for what my Dad called ‘Dinner Jazz’ and in-particular Francis Albert Sinatra, Ella, Nat King Cole and Chet Baker (who also have new albums coming in this series).
As I understand it, this album along with the others have just been ‘cleaned up’ using the finest quality technology for 21st Century speakers; with nothing added or taken away from the actual recordings.
First of all you may ask, “Does the world need another Frank Sinatra retrospective?”
Obviously the answer is probably ‘no’; but then again …… why the Hell not, as to some degree I’ve just spent two days rediscovering the man’s genius …. and you can too.
It’s staggering to think that opening track You Make Me Feel So Young was recorded before I was born 60+ years ago; yet still sounds exciting and touching today, in 2019.
Perhaps like Elvis,The Beatles, Bob Dylan and all of the other megastars that have touched our lives over the years, I wonder if we take them for-granted?
Try listening; really listening to the arrangements and Sinatra’s phrasing on the title track I’ve Got You Under My Skin, Too Marvelous For Words or more importantly They Can’t Take That Away From Me and I swear you will get a little tingle the way youngsters did well over half a century ago!
While Sinatra recorded in a time when records were churned out week after week; you can tell here that the man made Quality Control his priority with Mood Indigo and You Brought a New Kind of Love To Me transcending Pop Music and especially Easy Listening, which lazy reviewers and DJs have pigeon holed him in over the years; but these are really something delicate and really and truly special when you listen carefully.
As a ‘man of a certain age’ my entry to this type of music was actually via Harry Nilsson’s A Little Touch albums; and a song I associate with that time is here; and now Makin’ Whoopee sound completely different and even, dare I say it …… sexy, when purred by Frank!
Apart from the ‘overall surprise’ I’ve had listening to this album; there have been a number of surprises from songs I’d not heard before, especially Just One of Those Things and Love is Here To Stay which both must have been groundbreaking when my Mother first heard them on the wireless in the mid 1950’s.
As regular readers will know I’m normally quite contrary when it comes to selecting a Favourite Song; but today I’ve found myself staggered rediscovering My Funny Valentine and thinking ‘is there a finer song anywhere by anyone than In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning’? Yes, there is …… One For My Baby which made me hold my breath a couple of nights ago so I wouldn’t miss a note as Frank delivers a heartbreaker of truly epic proportions, that yet again, transcends simple Pop Music in a way I’d never thought possible.
Listening to the quality of these recordings I doubt (and hope) the album won’t be found on the supermarket shelves as it deserves to be a considered purchase for connoisseurs of fine music of all persuasions.
#PS ‘That song’ mercifully isn’t here …… just the good stuff 😉

Released 31st May 2019
http://www.disquesdreyfus.com/catalogue/accueil-jazz-reference.html


Lady Nade SAFE PLACE

Lady Nade
Safe Place
Mint Lime

Honeyed and Husky Jazz-Lite For The Younger Generation.

I wasn’t sure what to make of Lady Nade when I first played this album. In part that’s because it’s got a quite commercial ‘sound’ to it and very Jazzy in parts too; but why, pray, I now think, should that be a problem?
The more I’ve played SAFE PLACE, the more it’s grown on me; especially now that the sun is shining.
The bouncy Looking For Love gets the show on the road in a way Joan Armatrading did many moons ago, mixing clever songwriting with a ‘pop’ back-beat, supplied; it has to be said, by some ingenious musicians, who may be ‘Jazzers’ at heart but certainly not afraid of a melody.
‘That’ description is also fitting for a few more songs here; most notably Please You, Natalie and especially the wonderful title track Safe Place too.
While Paul Isaac and Daniel Everett’s production makes just about every song ‘radio friendly (and that’s no bad thing btw) it doesn’t take too much of a stretch to think that the songs Sweet Honey Bee and the electro-pop of Keep Our Love Alive can be easily stripped back to join the acoustic tracks Half Empty and Heart of Mine and become both heart-stoppers AND showstoppers when Lady Nade performs then in concert, without the aid of any electronic wizardry.
With so much filling the senses among these 15 (FIFTEEN!) songs, and often sweeping from genre to genre with consummate ease choosing a Favourite isn’t easy; with the final two epic songs Heart Beats Strong (Part I) takes Lady Nade very close to Sade territory, so therefore has to be a contenders as do La La Larve ( A Deja Vu Refrain) and Drive Home Safely where she turns herself into something of a Jazz Diva in the mould of Cleo Laine (and not a million miles from where I thought Amy Winehouse was headed) but I’m going for a different song with Please You; which combines all that is best here and not just Lady Nade’s sonic songwriting; but the way she uses her voice to feel like a velvet fog of emotion.
Now I’m deep into these songs, I’m not sure which appeals to me most; Lady Nade’s intricate and heartfelt songwriting or her warm and husky voice and when you put the pair together, music lovers of all persuasions are onto a winner.

Released May 17th 2019
http://ladynade.co.uk/

https://ladynade.bandcamp.com/

Blue Note Records 80th Anniversary Vinyl Reissue Series.

Blue Note Records are Set To Release a Vinyl Reissue Series In Celebration Of Their 80th Anniversary.

In honor of Blue Note Records’ 80th anniversary, the legendary Jazz label is launching the Blue Note 80 Vinyl Reissue Series.
Distinct from the Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series, this 2nd series, curated by Don Was and Cem Kurosman, features mid-priced 180g vinyl releases in standard packaging with albums spanning the many eras of the label’s history presented by themes: Blue Note Debuts, Blue Grooves, Great Reid Miles Covers, Blue Note Live, and Blue Note Drummer Leaders.
The series launches on May 10th with the reissue of 3 Blue Note debuts—Herbie Hancock Takin’ Off,
Dexter Gordon Doin’ Allright
Robert Glasper Canvas

and will continue with 3 albums released each month for the coming year.

Blue Note 80 Vinyl Reissue Series:

May 10 – Blue Note Debuts, Part 1

&#8226                       Dexter Gordon – Doin’ Allright (1961)
&#8226                       Herbie Hancock – Takin’ Off (1962)
&#8226                       Robert Glasper – Canvas (2005)

June 14 – Blue Note Debuts, Part 2

&#8226                       Johnny Griffin – Introducing Johnny Griffin(1956)
&#8226                       Freddie Hubbard – Open Sesame (1960)
&#8226                       Grant Green – Grant’s First Stand (1961)

July 12 – Blue Grooves, Part 1

&#8226                       Lonnie Smith – Think! (1968)
&#8226                       Reuben Wilson – Blue Mode (1969)
&#8226                       Bobbi Humphrey – Blacks And Blues (1973)

August 9 – Blue Grooves, Part 2

&#8226                       Lou Donaldson Alligator Bogaloo (1967)
&#8226                       Donald Byrd Ethiopian Knights (1971)
&#8226                       John Scofield Hand Jive (1993)

September 13 – Great Reid Miles Covers, Part 1

&#8226                       Freddie Hubbard – Hub-Tones (1962)
&#8226                       Kenny Dorham – Una Mas (1963)

&#8226                       Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers –Indestructible (1964)

October 11 – Great Reid Miles Covers, Part 2

&#8226                       Jutta Hipp – Jutta Hipp with Zoot Sims (1956)
&#8226                       Herbie Hancock – Inventions & Dimensions(1963)
&#8226                       Joe Henderson – In ‘n Out (1964)

November 8 – Blue Note Live, Part 1

&#8226                       Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers Meet You at the Jazz Corner of the World (1960)
&#8226                       Horace Silver Doin’ The Thing (1961)
&#8226                       Grant Green Alive! (1970)

December 13 – Blue Note Live, Part 2

&#8226                       Jimmy Smith – Groovin’ At Smalls’ Paradise(1957)
&#8226                       Lonnie Smith – Live at Club Mozambique (1970)
&#8226                       Lee Konitz – Alone Together (1996)

January 10, 2020 – Drummer Leaders, Part 1

&#8226                       Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – Buhaina’s
Delight (1961)
&#8226                       Pete La Roca – Basra (1965)
&#8226                       Tony Williams – Foreign Intrigue (1985)

February 14, 2020 – Drummer Leaders, Part 2

&#8226                       Art Taylor – A.T.’s Delight (1960)
&#8226                       Elvin Jones – Mr. Jones (1972)
&#8226                       Brian Blade – Brian Blade Fellowship (1997)

March 13, 2020 – Great Reid Miles Covers, Part 3

&#8226                       Jackie McLean – A Fickle Sonance (1961)
&#8226                       Dexter Gordon – A Swingin’ Affair (1962)
&#8226                       Lee Morgan – The Rumproller (1965)

April 10, 2020 – Great Reid Miles Covers, Part 4

&#8226                       Andrew Hill – Smokestack (1963)
&#8226                       Kenny Dorham – Trompeta Toccata (1964)
&#8226                       Larry Young – Into Somethin’ (1964)

http://www.bluenote.com/

‘Jazz Reference’ series Re-Released.

‘Jazz Reference’ series
BMG Records

Available for the first time on vinyl (and CD) with brand new artwork by Seb Jarnot; featuring Chet Baker, Count Basie, Dinah Washington, Django Reinhardt, Frank Sinatra, Lester Young, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davies, Nat King Cole, Oscar Peterson, Sarah Vaughan, Sidney Bechet, Stan Getz and Thelonious Monk


The ‘Jazz Reference’ series was originally created by Francis Dreyfus at the very start of the 21st century. This incredible catalogue regrouped the biggest names in Jazz at a groundbreaking sound quality.

Almost twenty years later it is still perceived as one of the best ever created. To help a new generation rediscover this amazing collection, BMG is reissuing a carefully curated selection of these releases. This series will available for the first time on vinyl, and all formats display a brand new artwork from Seb Jarnot, exclusively created for this special reissue.

Having released the first selection of 14 titles in 2018 with praise from Jazzwise, MOJO, Record Collector, the Guardian, The Financial Times, The Daily Express, BBC Music Magazine and more, the series now continues with a further 14 new reissues from the collection including inimitable legends such as Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Oscar Peterson, Stan Getz, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie and many more.

Speaking about the collection on it’s original release, the late Francis Dreyfus, said:

“Since my early childhood, I’ve been crazy about Jazz. This childhood fascination is what inspired me to create Dreyfus Jazz.
I am releasing these masterpieces in order to discover, through another perspective, a collection of the most beautiful tracks ever recorded before 1960 by the biggest and most renowned creators of the lively and flawless language of jazz.

Who is this anthology for?

It’s for those who already love Jazz, and for those who will find great pleasure in re-discovering it, thanks to the sound quality that is unexpected and unequaled. It’s also for the younger generation who don’t yet realize that they are going to love this music that burnt down from its creative violence and its jubilant swing throughout the entire twentieth century.
First, I had to achieve the near impossible: “Break the wall of sound” in order to enhance the already sublime tracks of yesterday… to make them sound as though they’d been recorded yesterday. Thanks to technological information storage and the resolute research of exceptional sound engineer René Ameline (with never ending passion and patience) it was possible to give a “new youth” to the voice of Ella and Billie, and to offer an unheard freshness to formidable improvisations by Louis Armstrong and Coleman Hawkins. We have included the best sources, the best songs, the best documents and there were no “second takes” or “false starts”.

I wanted to start from the original signals inscribed deeply in the wax, to enlarge and enrich the entire sound spectrum until it was inaudible and mute. It was necessary to carefully clean each chosen song, meaning that every useless scratch and annoying click had to be wiped, whilst avoiding stripping away the original grainy sound. With this we were able to achieve a more spacious sound, offering more depth and fullness compared to the original 78 record collection. The result is spectacular!
This collection is truly unique. From the will of a passionate perfectionist who manifested its conception like bearing a child, it was championed by a team of specialists who are lovers of jazz in all its dimensions: Claude Carrière, Noël Hervé and Daniel Nevers.

To really define the spirit of this adventure, which has lasted almost two years, I cannot think of a better way to conclude but to quote Claude Debussy: “Finally, a savage music with modern comfort”!”

Full list of 14 titles:

Chet Baker – Easy To Love
Count Basie – Swinging The Blues
Dinah Washington – Blues for a Day
Django Reinhardt – Souvenirs
Frank Sinatra – I’ve Got You Under My Skin
Lester Young – Blues Lester
Louis Armstrong – Fireworks
Miles Davies – Milestones
Nat King Cole – For Sentimental Reasons
Oscar Peterson – Get Happy
Sarah Vaughan – Lover Man 
Sidney Bechet – Summertime
Stan Getz – Imagination
Thelonious Monk – Misterioso

Due out 31st May 2019

Que Vola NGANGA (Single)

Que Vola
Nganga
No Format

I’ve always wanted to be a Jazz fan; mostly for the cool clothes if I’m honest (can you picture me wearing a beret and Clubmasters?) but a lot of it is too ‘harsh’ and way over over my head.
But every now and again something cool and enigmatic comes along and blows my mind……. and this fabulous track from Que Vola has done just that this afternoon.

“Que Vola? formed when French jazz trombonist Fidel Fourneyron followed his namesake to Havana to immerse himself in the percussive music of Afro-Cuban cults. The experience sparked him to re-imagine the existing music, with a French brass section reinterpreting vocal leads, alongside Cuban percussionists.
This new Afrobeat-influenced track, ‘Nganga’, is informed by the customs of the Palo religion, taking its name from the cauldron where a dead priest’s spirit is believed to remain. ”  

You know me by now; I like ‘different’ and Nganga certainly ticks those boxes for me and many more besides!

Released 15th January 2019