Monday, April 11, 2011

Four more CTI CDs to be released tomorrow

Sony Masterworks Jazz continues the celebration of the 40th anniversary of CTI Records, the beloved jazz label founded in 1970 by producer Creed Taylor with the release of 4 more classic reissues available tomorrow, April 12, 2011. They include: George Benson’s "Beyond the Blue Horizon," Freddie Hubbard’s Grammy-winning "First Light," Don Sebesky’s masterpiece "Giant Box" and Stanley Turrentine’s latin-tinged "Salt Song." The reissues are packaged in eco-friendly softpack sleeves that replicate the original gatefold LP design and their iconic covers most with photos by Pete Turner.George Benson’s "Beyond the Blue Horizon" (1971) was his label debut with the then-new "independent" CTI (Benson had previously recorded four albums for Creed Taylor during the A&M/CTI days in the late '60s.) It is considered to be one of his best records, featuring the long-forgotten organist Clarence Palmer, bassist Ron Carter (ocasionally overdubbing on cello), drummer Jack DeJohnette, and percussionists Michael Cameron (tablas) & Albert Nicholson (congas). The program includes three Benson originals plus great versions of Luiz Bonfá's "The Gentle Rain" and Miles Davis' "So What?" calls it “a superb jazz session … a must-hear for all aficionados of Benson’s guitar.”Freddie Hubbard’s "First Light (1971) was the 1972 Grammy® winner for Best Jazz Performance by a Group, the first Grammy® to be won by a CTI artist. The acclaimed CTI arranger-conductor Don Sebesky was a nominee for Best Instrumental Arrangement for the album’s “Lonely Town” track. Hubbard was subsequently named Trumpeter of the Year in the 1973 & 1974 DownBeat Readers Poll. The title track instantly became a contemporary jazz classic. Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette, Airto Moreira, George Benson, Hubert Laws and the underrated pianist Richard Wyands (heard on the Fender Rhodes throughout the album) are among the sidemen, performing nice renditions of tunes by Henry Mancini, Leonard Bernstein, Don Sebesky and Paul & Linda McCartney.Three-time Grammy Award® winner Don Sebesky is in the spotlight with "Giant Box" (1973), a 1974 Grammy® nominee in two categories – Best Jazz Performance by a Big Band and Best Instrumental Arrangement (for the album’s opening track “Firebird/Birds of Fire”). Arguably CTI's most ambitious project ever, originally a two-LP box set, showcases a who’s-who of CTI greats – Airto, George Benson, Paul Desmond, Joe Farrell, Freddie Hubbard, Milt Jackson, Hubert Laws and Grover Washington, Jr. - plus Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Rubens Bassini, Phil Kraus and Ralph MacDonald.Stanley Turrentine’s "Salt Song" – with arrangements by the Grammy®-winning Brazilian maestro Eumir Deodato is highly regarded for its eclectic and signature CTI fusion sound emphasizing Turrentine’s soulful playing mixed with latin elements. Besides Milton Nascimento's title track, the album includes Freddie Hubbard's soulful "Gibraltar," Turrentine's own latin-funk experiment "Storm," Paul Vance/Lee Pockriss' ballad "I Haven't Got Anything Better To Do" and the gospel hymn "I Told Jesus."

Sony kicked off the 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 2010 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. Liner notes are by multi-Grammy winning musician-producer Bob Belden who says California Concert: The Hollywood Palladium “...ranks up there with the greatest jazz concerts of all time…”

The celebration also included reissues of the first set of 12 classic CTI albums: "She Was Too Good To Me" by Chet Baker, "God Bless the Child" by Kenny Burrell, "Red Clay" by Freddie Hubbard, "Stone Flower" by Antonio Carlos Jobim, "Morning Star" by Hubert Laws (for the first time on CD), Stanley Turrentine’s "Sugar," "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."

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," "Sugar," "White Rabbit" and "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.

For more information on these CTI releases, please visit

No comments: