By Don Berryman, Chet Baker photo © Tom Copi
You can find limited edition and newly discovered jazz treasures on vinyl at your local record store on Record Store Day, April 22nd, 2023.
Chet Baker Blue Room: The 1979 VARA Studio Sessions in Holland
Chet Baker Blue Room: The 1979 VARA Studio Sessions in Holland, available as a limited two-LP set on Record Store Day April 22 via Jazz Detective, the label founded in 2022 by GRAMMY-nominated archival producer Zev Feldman. CD and digital release will follow on April 28th.
This double album includes performances from two recording dates at VARA Studio 2, Hilversum, the Netherlands. Sides A, B and C were recorded on April 10th, 1979 with a rhythm section that featured Phil Markowitz on piano, Jean-Louis Rassinfosse on bass, and Charles Rice on drums. Side D was Recorded on November 9th in the same studio but for that date the rhythm section featured Frans Elsen on piano, Victor Kaihatu on bass, and Eric Ineke on drums.
Although his output during this period is inconsistent, for this engagement Chet Baker’s chops are great, his tone sweet and mellow and the melodic lines exquisite. His vocal chops are also good as demonstrated on “Oh, You Crazy Moon” and his scatting on “Candy” is phenominal. The mood is relaxed and even on the upbeat numbers everyone is at ease and swinging. Baker hits every note with precision and his solos are constructed like spontaneous fugues.He makes it sound effortless.
The album succeeds Jazz Detective’s inaugural offerings, two volumes of live performances by pianist Ahmad Jamal, issued as Emerald City Nights [see my JazzPolice review] on Record Store Day’s Black Friday last year.
Another Chet Baker album will become available on Record Store Day, Chet is being issued on a mono LP by Craft Records features all analog remastering from the original tapes by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio. This is the first US mono issue since the 1959 release on Riverside. Chet which is my favorite Chet Baker album features performances by Baker with alto flautist Herbie Mann, baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams, pianist Bill Evans, guitarist Kenny Burrell, bassist Paul Chambers, and either Connie Kay or Philly Joe Jones playing drums.
Other never before released gems to be released on vinyl for Record Store Day include recently unearthed 1960s and 70’s recordings by Bill Evens, Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers, Shirley Scott, and Sonny Stitt:
Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers Live at Jazz Workshop 1970
Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers Live at Jazz Workshop 1970 was recorded live at The Jazz Workshop, Boston on 20th and 21st August 1970. This is the only known recording of the Jazz Messengers with this lineup featuring Andy Bey on piano and vocals, Ramon Morris on tenor, Junior Cook on soprano, Isao Suzuki on bass, and Art Blakey on drums. This double LP set includes a download code for nearly 3 hours of previously unheard material.
Bill Evans Treasures: Solo, Trio & Orchestra In Denmark 1965-1969
These radio studio recordings on Bill Evans Treasures: Solo, Trio & Orchestra In Denmark 1965-1969 have been unreleased and unheard since their debut on Danish radio in the 60’s. This three LP set is a treasure indeed featuring Bill Evans on piano solo and in trios with Niels-Henning Pedersen, Eddie Gomez on acoustic bass; Alan Dawson, Alex Riel, Marty Morell on drums and also with the Royal Danish Symphony Orchestra & The Danish Radio Big Band with Palle Mikkelborg – arranger, conductor, and trumpet.
Sonny Stitt Boppin’ in Baltimore: Live at the Left Bank
Boppin’ In Baltimore: Live at the Left Bank is a previously unissued recording of saxophone master Sonny Stitt captured live at the Famous Ballroom in Baltimore, MD on November 11, 1973, for the Left Bank Jazz Society. The set features the stellar rhythm section of pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes. The limited-edition 2 LP set includes an extensive booklet with rare photos, liner notes and interviews.
Shirley Scott Queen Talk: Live at The Left Bank
Queen Talk: Live at the Left Bank is an official, never-before-released concert recording from one of the greatest female jazz organists of all-time, Shirley Scott, featuring a powerhouse trio with George Coleman on tenor saxophone and Bobby Durham on drums, plus special guest vocalist Ernie Andrews on three tracks. This double LP set was transferred from the original tapes. The show was recorded at the Famous Ballroom in Baltimore Maryland on August 20, 1972.