Tuesday, January 18, 2011

More CTI gems to be reissued on Jan 25

(Creed Taylor & Arnaldo DeSouteiro)

Sony Masterworks Jazz continues the celebration of the 40th anniversary of CTI Records --the revolutionary jazz label founded in 1970 by producer Creed Taylor -- with the reissue of 6 more classic albums scheduled for CD release in the USA next week, on January 25th, 2011. They include: "White Rabbit" by George Benson, "All Blues" by Ron Carter (first time on CD in the U.S.), "Prelude" by Deodato, "Pure Desmond" by Paul Desmond, "Concierto" by Jim Hall, and Milt Jackson’s "Sunflower." All albums recorded & mixed by the legendary engineer Rudy Van Gelder. The reissues are packaged in eco-friendly softpack mini-LP sleeves that replicate the original gatefold LP design (by graphic artist Bob Ciano) and their iconic covers most with amazing pics by genius photographer Pete Turner.

"White Rabbit" is perhaps George Benson’s finest album for CTI, featuring the signature title track arrangement of the Jefferson Airplane classic – a 1972 Grammy® nominee for Best Jazz Performance by a Group. Other highlights include "El Mar" and a superb adaptation of Villa-Lobos' "Little Train," on which Herbie Hancock performs one of his best Fender Rhodes solos ever! Arranged & conducted by Don Sebesky, it also features Ron Carter, Billy Cobham, Airto Moreira (not only as a percussionist but also providing great wordless vocals), John Frosk, Hubert Laws, Earl Klugh and specially the Spanish-tinged acoustic guitar playing of the underrated master Jay Berliner."All Blues," Ron Carter's second solo album for CTI, makes its debut on CD in the USA (it was previously only released in Japan). Ron, heard on both acoustic & piccolo basses, leads a quartet with Roland Hanna, Billy Cobham and Joe Henderson, with Richard Tee (Fender Rhodes) guesting on the lightly funky "117 Special." Top tracks: "Light Blue" and "Will You Still Be Mine." Carter was voted Bassist of the Year in Downbeat’s Readers’ Poll in 1973, 1974 and 1975, highlighting his work with CTI.Eumir Deodato’s "Prelude" includes his Grammy®-winning hit track, a superb arrangement of Richard Strauss’s fanfare from "Also Sprach Zarathustra," which had been used four years earlier as the main theme on Stanley Kubrick's movie "2001: A Space Odyssey." Deodato's adaptation became the biggest hit the CTI label would ever have. The album’s main track won 1974 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance (Deodato also got a nomination for "Best New Artist"), among several other awards from Billboard, CashBox, Record World etc, and rose to No. 2 on the U.S. pop charts in the Spring of 1973. It's a perfect album, including strong Deodato's originals ("Spirit of Summer," "Carly & Carole" and "September 13"), a Latin-tinged version of "Baubles, Bangles and Beads" and a wonderful adaptation of Debussy's "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun." Besides Deodato's solos on Fender Rhodes, ace guitarist John Tropea is the second main soloist in a stellar cast: Ron Carter, Billy Cobham, Airto, Ray Barretto, Jay Berliner, Marvin Stamm, Hubert Laws & Bill Watrous, amongst others."Pure Desmond," Paul Desmond's second and last album for CTI, was not only highly praised but it also brought to the spotlight the considerable talents of Canadian guitarist Ed Bickert in a mainstream-jazz context. It also features Ron Carter on bass and Connie Kay on drums. Paul Desmond was voted by Downbeat’s readers into its Jazz Hall of Fame in 1977. This CD reissue includes 5 tracks not available in the original LP release - two bonus songs and three alternate takes.For his work on "Concierto," his CTI album, Jim Hall received a Grammy® nomination in 1975 for Best Jazz Performance by a Soloist. Conceived & arranged by Don Sebesky, brings together the talents of Paul Desmond, Chet Baker, Roland Hanna, Ron Carter & Steve Gadd. The highlight is the extended jazz version of the Adagio from Joaquin Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez." Several alternate takes of other tracks were added to this CD reissue. Btw, Hall had been named Guitarist of the Year in Downbeat’s Jazz Poll in 1974, the year before he recorded "Concierto.""Sunflower" is the most revered solo album by Milt Jackson, one of the greatest of jazz vibraphone players, and one of the most acclaimed improvisational blues instrumentalists of all time. He was a founding member of the legendary Modern Jazz Quartet, voted by Downbeat’s readers into its Jazz Hall of Fame in 1999. Thanks to Creed Taylor's impeccable production and Don Sebesky's sumptuous scores, it became an instant classic, and Milt's better and most commercially successful album ever. Jackson's own ballad "For Someone I Love" (featuring the famous acoustic guitar intro performed by Jay Berliner), the Thom Bell/Linda Creed's r&b classic "People Make The World Go Round" and Freddie Hubbard's lovely title track are the highlights, featuring such players as Hubbard himself, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Billy Cobham and Ralph MacDonald.Sony Masterworks Jazz kicked off the CTI 40th anniversary celebration with the release of "CTI Records: The Cool Revolution," a deluxe 4-CD multi-artist box set retrospective in the Fall, receiving rave reviews. The Associated Press dubbed it “…the most comprehensive anthology to date” and NPR said it was “… as striking a portrait of the Jazz World in the ‘70s as you’ll find anywhere.”
Also released in the Fall was the double-CD restoration of "California Concert: The Hollywood Palladium" (1971) which included 90-minutes of music rarely heard and never before available. It is the most complete version of the historic Hollywood Palladium all-star concert recorded July 18, 1971. It doubles the content of the original five-song LP release with five additional tracks - three of them previously unreleased - and restores the original concert sequence for the first time. Creed Taylor hand-picked a dream team of CTI artists for the occasion: Freddie Hubbard, Hubert Laws, Hank Crawford, Stanley Turrentine, George Benson, Johnny Hammond, Ron Carter, Billy Cobham and Airto Moreira. The original liner notes are by the legendary jazz historian Leonard Feather.The celebration also included reissues of the first set of 6 classic CTI albums: "She Was Too Good To Me" (Chet Baker), "God Bless the Child (Kenny Burrell), "Red Clay" (Freddie Hubbard), "Stone Flower" (Antonio Carlos Jobim), "Morning Star (Hubert Laws, first time on CD), and Stanley Turrentine’s Sugar.In addition, Sony also released the following 180-gram vinyl LP reissues of 4 classic CTI albums using the original gatefold sleeve designs accompanied with digital download cards: "Red Clay" by Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine’s "Sugar", "White Rabbit" by George Benson, and Eumir Deodato's "Prelude."
In the 1970s, CTI, its music, its style and its discriminating quality transformed contemporary jazz. The roster worked almost like a repertory company, in which great musicians took turns in the spotlight and accompanying each other. The albums they and their colleagues created set new standards in their look as well as their sound. “[Creed Taylor’s] plan was ingeniously simple, yet famously maverick: record top-tier musicians, keeping their artistic integrity intact while also making their art palatable to the people. CTI thus achieved that rare balance of jazz and commercialism,” writes Dan Ouellette in the liner notes. CTI surpassed the majors and fellow indies to be named the #1 Jazz Label of 1974 by Billboard. The immediate success of CTI’s recordings has echoed across the decades in a profound influence on jazz, pop, R&B and hip-hop.

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