Here is the selection of The Wicked Sound favourite reissues, historical releases, and lost albums of 2020.
01. Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, Just Coolin’ (Blue Note)
Blue Note to release Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers long lost album Just Coolin’. The album was recorded on March 8, 1959, in Rudy Van Gelder’s living room studio. Just a few months after studio session to Moanin’ Art Blakey’s classic hard-bop album. It features Art Blakey on drums, Lee Morgan on trumpet, Hank Mobley on tenor saxophone, Bobby Timmons on piano, and Jymie Merritt on bass. Just Coolin’ includes two previously unreleased compositions, including Quick Trick, which you can listen to below.
02. Thelonious Monk, Palo Alto (Impulse!)
A high school student in Palo Alto, California, had a dream to bring Thelonious Monk to perform in his school. He managed to persuade the Thelonious Monk Quartet, with Charlie Rouse on tenor saxophone, Larry Gales on bass, Ben Riley on drums, to play that concert and the magic happened. The School janitor recorded the whole 47-minute set and now we can hear this amazing performance, which came out on Impulse!
03. Pharoah Sanders, Live in Paris (1975) (Transversales Disques)
A never-before-released Pharoah Sanders Quartet recording featuring Sanders on tenor sax, Danny Mixon on piano/organ, Calvin Hill on double bass and Greg Bandy on drums, performed live at studio 104, Maison de la Radio, Paris. They play some of his most iconic tracks such as Love Is Everywhere and The Creator Has a Masterplan. All musicians are in phenomenal form, exchanging energy with a little audience and filling the room with exceptional sounds.
04. The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Time OutTakes (Brubeck Editions)
In honor of the pianist’s centennial, Brubeck Editions will issue The Dave Brubeck Quartet Time OutTakes, an album featuring alternate versions of iconic 1959 tracks. Time OutTakes offers listeners insights into the recording process behind one of the most significant and popular jazz recordings of all time. Time OutTakes features the innovative pianist and composer Dave Brubeck with his iconic quartet; lyrical alto saxophonist and composer Paul Desmond; and the steadfast rhythm section of bassist Eugene Wright and drummer Joe Morello who energize each enthralling track.
05. Oneness of Juju, African Rhythms 1970-1982 (Strut)
Oneness of Juju (Black Fire Box Set) (Now Again)
The first one is more of a compilation than a reissue, featured recordings of Oneness Of Juju, led by Plunky J. Branch. Tracing their career from the band’s earliest work in 1970 with South African exiled jazzman Ndikho Xaba in San Francisco, through the band’s journey to New York’s loft jazz scene, forming Juju and releasing two landmark albums of hard-hitting percussive jazz on Strata-East.
Now-Again reissued five classic albums from the Black Fire record label. Juju Live At The East (1973), a previously unreleased live session recorded at the legendary Brooklyn venue. Originally issued on the lauded Strata-East label Juju Chapter Two: Nia (1974). Oneness of Juju’s deep jazz/funk classic debut African Rhytms (1975) and Oneness of Juju’s cosmic second album Space Jungle Luv featuring Joe Bonner. The last one is enriched funk from the go-go band’s Experience Unlimited’s Free Yourself (1977).
06. Billy Brooks, Windows of the Mind (We Want Sounds)
Wewantsoundsreleased the reissue of Billy Brooks' much sought-after album Windows Of The Mind, released in 1974 on Ray Charles' Crossover Records. The album, co-produced by Charles and featuring such heavy players as Herman Riley, Calvin Keys and Larry Gales, includes one of the most famous samples in hip hop history in the form of Fourty Days which forms the backbone of A Tribe Called Quest's 1990 anthemic Luck of Lucien.
07. Heshoo Beshoo Group, Armitage Road (We Are Busy Bodies)
Armitage Road, originally released in 1970, was the only studio recording released by South Africa’s Heshoo Beshoo Group. As a highly prized collector’s item, a re-issue and re-appraisal of this lost gem from the apartheid era have been long overdue. With its undeniably funky element, Armitage Road combines graceful and moving playing with invention and passion, and it does not disappoint from start to finish.
08. Erroll Garner, Feeling Is Believing (Octave Music / Mack Avenue)
in 2019 Mack Avenue Music Group and Octave Music proudly announced the Octave Remastered Series, a historic year-long, 12-album project featuring newly restored and expanded editions of classic Erroll Garner releases from the 1960s and 1970s, with one new remastered album to follow each month until June 2020. We received six reissued albums this year, I choose Feeling Is Believing, but all of them are worth checking. Each album contains a newly discovered, unreleased bonus track.
09. Sharhabil Ahmed, The King of Sudanese Jazz (Habibi Funk)
Sharhabil Ahmed was born in 1935 and he is the founding father of the Sudanese Jazz scene. His aim was to modernize Sudanese music by bringing it together with western influences and instrumentation. Referring to its sonic apperance, Sudanese Jazz hasn’t too much in common with the western idea of Jazz. Sharhabil’s sound feels more like a unique combination of surf, rock n roll, funk, but it's a fun and energetic mixture.
10. Horace Tapscott & The Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, Ancestral Echoes - The Covina Sessions 1976 (Dark Tree)
Horace Tapscott, American jazz pianist and composer and bandleader, formed the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra in 1961 (also known as P.A.P.A., or The Ark) with the aim of preserving, developing and performing African-American music, and he led the ensemble through the 1990s. The French label Dark Tree founded by Bertrand Gastaut, is named for Tapscott’s composition began last year releasing his back catalog with Horace Tapscott with the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra and the Great Voice of UGMAA: Why Don't You Listen?, Live at LACMA, 1998. This one came this year, and it's worth checking, with four 10 to 27 minutes long composition.
10. Dudu Pukwana, Dudu Pukwana and the ‘Spears’ (Matsuli Music)
In 1964 the Blue Notes left South Africa to play at the Antibes Jazz Festival in France, and more or less stayed away forever after. In January 1969 alto saxophonist Dudu Pukwana went home briefly along with producer Joe Boyd who persuaded Johannesburg record company Trutone to license the recordings for release in South Africa. Dudu Pukwana and the Spears was recorded in London, but were only ever released in South Africa. Matsuli Music’s discovered of a second unpublished London recording session of Dudu Pukwana, which now we have a pleasure to listen to.