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Concord Original jazz Classics Remasters: Monk, Evans, Adderley, Montgomery, Baker and More

SOURCE: Published: 2013-07-15
Concord Music Group will release five new titles in its Original Jazz Classics Remasters series on July 23, 2013. Enhanced by 24-bit remastering by Joe Tarantino, several bonus tracks on nearly each disc (some previously unreleased) and new liner notes providing historical context to the original material, the series celebrates the 60th anniversary of Riverside Records, the prolific New York-based label that showcased some of the most influential jazz artists and recordings of the 1950s and ’60s.

The five titles are: Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
& Gerry Mulligan
Gerry Mulligan
Gerry Mulligan
1927 - 1996
sax, baritone
: Mulligan Meets Monk; Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
Trio: How My Heart Sings!; Wes Montgomery
Wes Montgomery
Wes Montgomery
1925 - 1968
guitar
: So Much Guitar!; Julian "Cannonball" Adderley
Julian
Julian "Cannonball" Adderley
1928 - 1975
saxophone
& Milt Jackson
Milt Jackson
Milt Jackson
1923 - 1999
vibraphone
: Things Are Getting Better; and Chet Baker
Chet Baker
Chet Baker
1929 - 1988
trumpet
Plays the Best of Lerner and Loewe
.

Riverside was launched in 1953 in New York on a shoestring budget by traditional-jazz enthusiasts Bill Grauer and Orrin Keepnews as a platform to reissue jazz and blues recordings from the 1920s by King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton
Jelly Roll Morton
Jelly Roll Morton
1890 - 1941
piano
, Ma Rainey
Ma Rainey
Ma Rainey
1886 - 1939
vocalist
, Blind Lemon Jefferson
Blind Lemon Jefferson
Blind Lemon Jefferson
1883 - 1929
vocalist
and others. Over the next decade, the label evolved into one of the premier purveyors of modern jazz. With Keepnews producing the sessions (and often writing the liner notes), Riverside brought jazz giants like Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderley, and Wes Montgomery to the forefront of American music. Despite successes with these and other jazz and blues artists — including Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
b.1930
saxophone
, Abbey Lincoln
Abbey Lincoln
Abbey Lincoln
1930 - 2010
vocalist
, Art Blakey
Art Blakey
Art Blakey
1919 - 1990
drums
, Mongo Santamaria
Mongo Santamaria
Mongo Santamaria
1922 - 2003
percussion
, John Lee Hooker
John Lee Hooker
John Lee Hooker
1917 - 2001
guitar
, Jimmy Heath
Jimmy Heath
Jimmy Heath
b.1926
sax, tenor
, Charlie Byrd
Charlie Byrd
Charlie Byrd
1925 - 1999
guitar
, and The Staple Singers — Riverside folded in 1964, a year after Grauer’s death. The catalog was acquired by Fantasy in 1972, and Fantasy was in turn acquired by Concord Music Group in late 2004.

All five Riverside titles in the current round of reissues were originally produced by Keepnews and include his original liner notes. All reflect the ambitious depth and scope of influential jazz captured in the Riverside catalog over the relatively short span of 11 years.

Thelonious Monk & Gerry Mulligan: Mulligan Meets Monk: Recorded in mid August 1957, Mulligan Meets Monk is a summit of two artists from two very different and distinct worlds — Monk representing what was then known as East Coast jazz, and Mulligan deeply rooted in a West Coast sound. Rounding out the quartet are bassist Wilbur Ware
Wilbur Ware
Wilbur Ware
1923 - 1979
bass, acoustic
and drummer Shadow Wilson
Shadow Wilson
b.1919
. Even with the two frontmen’s disparate styles, the unlikely pairing resulted in an engaging and enduring recording, according to Neil Tesser’s new liner notes.

“Despite their radically different personalities, and their almost antipodal approach to improvising, Monk and Mulligan found common ground in composition,” says Tesser. “Not in the songs themselves — no one would ever mistake one of Monk’s for one of Mulligan’s — but in their devotion to the craft, and their admiration for the balanced, well-turned tune. That devotion manifested itself quite differently in their individual musics, but it provided the foundation for their unimagined friendship...and allowed them to join in this unexpectedly successful venture.”

Bonus tracks on the Mulligan Meets Monk reissue are alternate takes of the Mulligan composition “Decidedly” and Monk’s “Straight, No Chaser,” along with two alternate takes of the Monk/Coleman Hawkins
Coleman Hawkins
Coleman Hawkins
1904 - 1969
sax, tenor
piece “I Mean You.”

Bill Evans Trio: How My Heart Sings!: Recorded in New York on three separate days in May and June 1962, How My Heart Sings features Bill Evans accompanied by bassist Chuck Israels
Chuck Israels
Chuck Israels
b.1936
bass, acoustic
(replacing Scott Lofaro, who had died in an automobile accident less than a year earlier) and drummer Paul Motian
Paul Motian
Paul Motian
1931 - 2011
drums
. The album is actually the second of two to emerge from the 1962 sessions; the first was Moonbeams, a collection of ballads. How My Heart Sings! is, by design, a bit more lively and energetic.

“The selections represented here are primarily of a more ‘moving’ kind,” says Doug Ramsey in his new liner notes to the reissue, “though there is in the trio’s approach to all material a desire to present a singing sound. Hence, the title of the album, despite its intended program of faster swinging vehicles.”

How My Heart Sings! includes three bonus tracks: an alternate take of “In Your Own Sweet Way,” and previously unreleased renditions of “34 Skidoo” and “Ev’rything I Love.”

Wes Montgomery: So Much Guitar! was recorded in August 1961, with Wes Montgomery fronting a stellar lineup that includes Hank Jones
Hank Jones
Hank Jones
1918 - 2010
piano
on piano, Ron Carter
Ron Carter
Ron Carter
b.1937
bass
on bass, Lex Humphries
Lex Humphries
b.1936
on drums and Ray Baretto on congas. The album was a turning point, not only for Wes but for bassist Ron Carter as well, says Marc Myers, author of the reissue’s new liner notes.

“While Montgomery’s previous release on Riverside in 1960, The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery, put the guitarist in play with critics, So Much Guitar! caught the ear of poll-voting jazz fans and established him as a soulful force,” says Myers. “The album also marked Carter’s first opportunity to show his stuff on the fly — transforming the formally trained 24-year-old into a first-call session player. Today he is one of the most prolific recording artists in jazz history.”

The bonus tracks here essentially make up an entire second album, capturing eight songs recorded earlier in 1961 at the Cellar, a club in Vancouver, British Columbia. This Canadian set — originally issued on Fantasy as The Montgomery Brothers in Canada, includes Buddy Montgomery on vibes, Monk Montgomery on bass, and Paul Humphrey
Paul Humphrey
Paul Humphrey
b.1935
on drums.

Cannonball Adderley & Milt Jackson: Things Are Getting Better: Recorded in a single day in October 1958, Things Are Getting Better showcases the brilliant impromptu interplay of Cannonball Adderley and Milt Jackson, with assistance from Wynton Kelly
Wynton Kelly
Wynton Kelly
1931 - 1971
piano
on piano, Percy Heath
Percy Heath
Percy Heath
1923 - 2005
bass, acoustic
on bass, and Art Blakey
Art Blakey
Art Blakey
1919 - 1990
drums
on drums.

While Keepnews’s original liner notes referred to the recording as “fundamentally a blowing date in the best sense of that much abused term,” the set is clearly much more than that, according to Willard Jenkins’s new notes. “The album’s groove stems primarily from the successful partnership formed by the blues firm of Adderley and Jackson,” says Jenkins, “each of whom were hall of fame representatives of the essence of the groove factor during their time as the respective histories of each have borne out.”

The reissue of Things Are Getting Better includes two bonus tracks not found on the original LP: alternate takes of Buddy Johnson
Buddy Johnson
Buddy Johnson
1915 - 1977
composer/conductor
’s “Serves Me Right” and Lawlor and Blake’s “Sidewalks of New York” (the latter arranged by Adderley).

Chet Baker Plays the Best of Lerner and Loewe is exactly what the title suggests — a set of eight innovative renditions of compositions by one of the most prolific and recognizable theatrical teams of the mid-20th century. Baker’s supporting cast on this July 1959 date includes Herbie Mann
Herbie Mann
Herbie Mann
1930 - 2003
flute
on flute, piccolo, alto flute, and tenor sax; Zoot Sims
Zoot Sims
Zoot Sims
1925 - 1985
sax, tenor
on alto and tenor saxophones; Pepper Adams
Pepper Adams
Pepper Adams
1930 - 1986
sax, baritone
on baritone sax; Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
and Bob Corwin trading off piano duties on various tracks; Earl May
Earl May
Earl May
1927 - 2008
bass
on bass; and Clifford Jarvis on drums.

The album “is easily heard as a sequel to the popular Chet (also on Riverside) album of standards released earlier that same great-jazz year of 1959,” says James Rozzi in his liner notes to the reissue. “The mix of personnel throughout the set provides the recording “with a similar timbre while adding up-tempo fare to the previously released, slow and relaxed ballad set of Chet.”


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