From the compiler (Jean-Claude from London’s IF Music) of the essential ‘Journey into Deep Jazz Volumes 1 and 2’ also on BBE, comes the first in a new series of albums focusing on artists or labels that may have passed by many music-lovers radar but deserve much wider recognition. The Italian labels Black Saint and sister label Soul Note are two such imprints, releasing over 500 top shelf jazz records from the middle of the 1970's up to 2008.
So here we hold a lovingly curated snapshot of a decade, with remastered recordings of some of the freest, deepest cuts of the time with the added bonus of gorgeous sleeve artwork by the legendary graphic artist Swifty. Another slice of bounty on BBE Records to dig deep into..
From the Italian movie in miniature of Enrico Rava’s ‘Il Giro Del Giorno In 80 Mondi’ and the full-throttle Afro-Jazz of Hamiet Bluitt’s ‘Oasis’ to Archie Shepp’s eleven minute hiss and swagger street-blues of ‘Down Home New York’, this album covers a vast swathe of sounds.
The spiritual wanderings of John Stubblefield’s ‘Confessin’’ is nine minutes of groove and post-Sanders poetics, hardly a surprise when the recording has players like Cecil Bridgewater, Rufus Reid and Mulgrew Miller holding it down, definitely an initial favourite off the LP.
Pulitzer Prize winner and musical iconoclast Henry Threadgill is included here with his trio Air, the Spanish/Arabic tinged freakout of ‘B.K’ harnessing the singular power of Steve McCall’s drums (Threadgill often played with two drummers) alongside Fred Hopkin’s point-sharp bass and his own wild flute-playing.
A Jean-Claude favourite is the esoteric sound of Billy Bang, a jazz violinist and composer of sensitivity and smarts, here with his sextet and the African-inspired ‘The Nagual Julien’, funky and swinging in equal measures with hypnotic guitar and xylophone lines underpinning the brassiest of brass.
Across an entire side with the main man Max Roach’s M’Boom project. ‘Mr Seven’ is a beat-digger’s dream, an insane eleven minute long percussion journey that includes marimbas, vibes, concert and jazz drums, xylophone and pretty much any percussion instrument you can hit, shake or find a melody in. It’s worth the price of the record for this alone.
George Adams and Dannie Richmond were both sidemen for Mingus at the time of their 1980 recordings and ‘Joobubie’ is a fine example of their muscular groove and blues power.
And finally, the shortest track on the compilation is a brilliantly unhinged version of Nana Vasconcelos’ ‘Verde Que Eu Te Quero Ver’ by the Rava String Band that includes the man himself central to the tune with his unique Brazilian magic.
If you’re a fan of the Strata, MPS and ECM labels or just want to look further into the jazz rabbit-hole, this record, the first ‘You Need This..’ release needs to be in your collection. I imagine the rest in the series will be as well!
The album is out on BBE Records on October 20th in all good record stores and online!
Words by Ex-Friendly
Jean-Claude in flight!