Best Jazz Reissues and New Releases of 2009!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 23, 2009 03:52pm | Post a Comment
by Scott

2009 was a good year for jazz. As usual, there was a focus on reissues, but there were also plenty of new releases that were worth picking up. The bulk of the items in my best of have a link to Great Britain.


1. & 2. Various - Freedom Rhythm & Sound

This release from the British label Soul Jazz is both a nice hardcover book of album covers and a 2 cd set. Billed as "revolutionary jazz original cover art 1965-83," that description doesn't mention that there are a lot of words in the book giving nice encapsulation of different artists and organizations related to the civil rights movement. Along with this book, which has albums you thought you would never see in a 12"x12" reproduction, the cd version has a beautiful booklet filled with both information on the music and political events relating to civil rights. Along with bigger name folks like Sun Ra and his Arkestra, there are tracks by lesser known artists: the Hasting Street Jazz Experiment, Stanton Davis' Ghetto, and Lloyd Miller. Some of these albums were limited to 500 pieces, so being able to look at the covers and listen to cuts from those albums is a rare treat.

Prince Lasha insight

3. Prince Lasha Ensemble - Insight

The first domestic release of a Columbia LP from 1966 by local horn master Prince Lasha (pronounced "Le Shay," it says in the liner notes) Ensemble: Insight. The disc features Mr. Lasha with a cast of brilliant British musicians, including pianist Stan Tracey and David Snell on a very hip harp. There are beautiful ballads, peppy bop cuts and both original compositions and standards. I had a chance to meet Prince Lasha in our store a few years ago and had him sign an LP of his to me, then after I thanked him, he hugged me.

blue notes

4. Blue Notes - The Ogun Collection Blue Notes

The set is comprised of the South African band's releases on the Ogun label. The albums include: Legacy- Live in South Afrika 1964, Blue Notes in Concert (1977), Blue Notes for Johnny & the 2 disc Blue Notes for Mongezi (1975). The box includes a booklet with remembrances by such luminaries as Enrico Rava, Valerie Wilmer & the amazing liner notes to the 1995 reissue of Legacy by Tony McGregor. The music in this set has so much joy & intensity that the discs stayed in my changer for weeks on end.

the life of a jazz singer anita o'day

5. Anita O'Day- The Life of a Jazz Singer (dvd)

This documentary is an unflinching look at an incredible career of a woman whose stylings spanned almost half a century. She has no qualms giving us the straight story on drug addiction, recovery, and endless tales on her dealings with many legends. There are two versions of this movie, both two discs.
The deluxe version comes in an amazing hardcover reproduction of Ms. O'Day's 160 page personal scrapbook, featuring clippings of advertisements and reviews. The regular version comes with a booklet featuring sixteen of those scrapbook pages. They both include essays by Jim Gavin and Will Friedwald, and a chapter from her autobiography, High Times- Hard Times. The kicker is the second disc (included in both versions), which is the better part of an hour's worth of uncut musical performances -- most notably her masterful appearance in the Jazz On A Summer's Day film.

Relevant Tags

2009 List (25), Jazz (150)