Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More CTI CDs scheduled for release in August

After the most predictable choices, Sony Masterworks will be finally starting to release, on August 9, some other CTI titles that hadn't made it to the US on CD yet, although all had been already reissued many times on digital format in Japan.The selected albums: Airto Moreira's fusion masterpiece "Fingers" (Airto's second LP as a leader for CTI, featuring Flora Purim, David Amaro and the OPA Trio led by keyboard wiz Hugo Fattoruso), Joe Farrell's "Outback" (an outstanding session with Chick Corea, Airto, and -- on the single date that both recorded for CTI -- Buster Williams and Elvin Jones), Randy Weston's spectacular big-band project "Blue Moses" (with the leader playing Fender Rhodes exclusively upon Don Sebesky's brilliant horn arrangements and strong contributions by Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter, Billy Cobham, Hubert Laws, Airto and Grover Washington, Jr.) and Jackie & Roy's controversial "A Wilder Alias," featuring Roy Kral on Wurlitzer electric piano & Jackie Cain's crystal clear voice -- wordless vocals, most of the time -- plus Harvie Swartz, Steve Gadd, Joe Farrell, Hubert Laws and Roy Pennington.All CTI fans hope these "new" CDs will come out with additional music, since all the four aforementioned sessions that took place at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, in Englewood, NJ, yielded several alternate takes and previously unreleased tracks, specially "Blue Moses" and "Fingers."


Alain Manuel said...

A fantastic piece of news Arnaldo
I'm very fond of the classic "Time & Love" by Jackie & Roy but I don't know yet their second album "A Wilder Alias" which was issued on the Creed Taylor label.

What makes you say this album is controversial ?

And another thing, you made a typo "A Wilder Alias,"

Good Groove said...

Arnaldo, why do you say that Jackie & Roy's "A Wilder Alias" is controversial? This is a great record (with a great cover art), by the way.

Arnaldo DeSouteiro said...

I like all albums that Jackie & Roy recorded for Creed Taylor since the '50s (some tracks were reunited in a 1997 CD compilation issued bu Koch under the title "The ABC-Paramount Years" with nice liner notes by James Gavin), and throughout the '60s (for Verve) and the '70s (the 2 CTI albums).

My personal favorite is "Time & Love," by far the most hip, sophisticated & beautifully arranged (thx to Don Sebesky) album that Jackie & Roy ever recorded. The ultra-subtle contributions by Hubert Laws, Paul Desmond, Bob James, Jay Berliner and, yes, Billy Cobham, are noteworthy too. Not to mention the lovely repertoire - from Villa-Lobos' "Bachianas Brasileiras" to my late friend Michel Colombier's "We Could Be Flying", including one of the two best (the other is by Cassandra Wilson on Danilo Perez/Claus Ogerman's 2009 "Across The Crystal Sea") vocal versions of "Lazy Afternoon" ever comitted on tape.

Despite the musical excellence of that album (5,000 stars to my taste), it wasn't a commercial success, although Creed had tried to give more exposure to Jackie & Roy by adding them to a CTI All-Stars ensemble that toured Europe in 1972. However, they weren't well received. CTI fans seemed to want to hear only the funky and electrifying numbers provided by such giants as Hubbard, Turrentine and Benson.

If you listen to the unofficial 2-CD set of CTI All Stars' "Live in Munich," for example, you'll actually hear booing after each of the three Jackie & Roy performances ("Daahoud," "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most" and "Waltz for Dana"). It was a very constraining situation, to say the least.

Jackie & Roy never toured with the CTI All-Stars once again...

Then came "A Wilder Alias" and I also loved it. It's their most creative and challenging album ever, with stunning original material, strong solos, incredible vocals, great cover art (front & liner pics). A 5-star album for my taste, although Van Gelder used heavy compression in the mix and, therefore, the sound is not as "transparent" and clear like on "Time & Love."

I said it's controversial because Jackie & Roy "rejected" the album at the time of its original release. The duo disclaimed the LP by saying that Creed Taylor had used "rehearsal takes" (the same thing alleged by Allan Holdsworth to disclaim his solo debut -- and single album for CTI -- "Velvet Darkness," which, for this reason, also became known as a "controversial album" (btw, I love "Velvet Darkness" too, it's a great session of pure, raw and wild jazz-rock).

Jackie Cain, with whom I also used to correspond, also alleged that Creed Taylor used the "reference vocals," not allowing them (Jackie & Roy) to overdub better vocal performances.

Having worked with both Creed and Rudy Van Gelder, I know the alleged facts may be true. During a session for Creed in 1991, I saw a vocalist becoming very upset with the producer when she recorded a "rehearsal track" (when mics were still being tested and details of the arrangements were still being discussed) and Creed said "it's OK, we've finished for today, thanks everybody," not allowing her to overdub her vocal part.

Arnaldo DeSouteiro said...

And let's not forget that the basic track for Deodato's "Also Sprach Zarathustra/2001" also was a first-take caught during a rehearsal. When Deodato said, "OK, I think we've got a good groove, let's record it," Creed replied from the console: "it's already recorded." Deodato listened, disliked his Fender Rhodes solo, and insisted to do a second take which was never issued because it simply didn't have the energy and spontaneity of the "rehearsal take" to which he later on added the horns and strings.

Oddly, Sony never included that alternate (second) take of "2001" --neither two other never-released tracks from the "Prelude" sessions -- in any of the several CD reissues of CTI's best-selling title. (Yes, I'm sure they exist, I've heard them at CBS Studios in the '80s. I've also listened to unreleased tracks from "A Wilder Alias" and I hope Sony will not be lazy in rescuing and mixing them for this first U.S. CD release)

Alain Manuel said...

Thank you Arnaldo for all of your clarifications. It was interesting and awful at the same time to read about Jackie & Roy being booed during their European tour

Arnaldo DeSouteiro said...

I've posted today about Kathy McCord's new CD reissue, and I mentioned you and the CTI Fan Blog.
Cheers! And merci beaucoup for the info.

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