Here is the selection of The Wicked Sound favourite / best reissues, historical releases, and lost albums of 2021 (so far).
01. Marcos Resende & Index Marcos Resende & Index [FarOut]
Previously unreleased Marcos Resende & Index self-titled debut album from 1976, contributing a crucial missing work from the glory days of progressive Brazilian instrumental music. Resende in 76 after touring Europe with his previous band returned home to Brazil as an established highly regarded keyboardist, composer, and innovative electronic musician. Inspired and invigorated by US jazz and British progressive rock he’d experienced while residing in Europe, Resende went all out acquiring a keyboard arsenal to be reckoned with, which included the Prophet 5, Yamaha CP-708 and Mini Moog. Determined to integrate his newfound inspirations with Brazilian rhythms and jazz traditions, he formed a new quartet with Rubão Sabino (bass), Claudio Caribé (drums) and the late great Oberdan Magalhães, of Banda Black Rio and Cry Babies fame. Marcos Resende & Index recorded their self-titled debut at Sonoviso Studios with the legendary sound engineer Toninho Barbosa, known as the ‘Brazilian Rudy Van Gelder’ whose impressive resumé includes the era defining classics Light As A Feather by Azymuth, Previsão Do Tempo by Marcos Valle, and Quem É Quem by João Donato. Marcos Resende & Index fits perfectly amongst these masterpieces, sharing both the timeless ethereal qualities as well as the progressive and futuristic ideals of Light As A Feather in particular.
02. Sun Ra Lanquidity (Definitive Edition) [Strut]
Strut presents the definitive edition of Sun Ra’s classic Lanquidity album from 1978 with a brand new 4LP box set and 2CD editions, featuring the widely distributed version of the album alongside alternative mixes by Bob Blank originally released in limited quantities for a 1978 Arkestra gig at Georgia Tech. Both versions of the album are cut loud at 45 rpm over 2LPs each. Recorded overnight at Bob Bank’s Blank Tapes on 17th July 1978 after the Arkestra had appeared on Saturday Night Live, the album is unique in the Ra catalog. There were horn charts but most tracks came out of improvised jams. Sun Ra just did his thing.” Comprising five effortlessly fluid pieces, the album eases in with Lanquidity. The loping groove of That’s How I Feel, features the reflective trumpet lines of Eddie Gale with solos by John Gilmore and Marshall Allen.
03. Roots Roots [Frederiksberg Records]
Frederiksberg Records released the first-ever reissue of the self-titled debut of 1970s South African jazz ensemble Roots. Blending jazz and funk with signature South African motifs, Roots was led by the master saxophonist and living repository of the story of jazz in South Africa, Barney Rachabane. Rachabane was part of the influential 1950s Dorkay House scene among the likes of South African jazz notables Dudu Pukwana and Gideon Nxumalo and later appeared on Chris McGregor’s iconic Jazz/The African Sound LP in 1963. In 1975, Racahbane teamed up with trumpeter Dennis Mpale and fellow saxophonist Duke Makasi to lead an ensemble named Roots. The reedmen were accompanied by a formidable young rhythm section comprised of Sipho Gumede on bass, Jabu Nkosi on keys and Peter Morake on drums. Navigating the poles of popular township soul and avant garde Afro-jazz that characterized the South African music landscape at the time, Roots emerged with a crossover sound that would later open the door for the jazz fusion experiments of Pacific Express and Spirits Rejoice in the late-70s. The 2020 reissue of Roots pays homage to the recently retired veteran of South African jazz and contributes to the growing interest in and documentation of the story of South African jazz.
04. Henryk Debich & Orkiestra Polskiego Radia w Łodzi City (1978) [GAD Records]
In the mid-1970s, the Orchestra of the Polish Radio and TV under the baton of Henryk Debich was truly second to none. Unfortunately, only a small portion of its works has become known to a larger audience. Now the time has come to restore their due splendor, and to do so we’ll start with their records from 1978. Despite its twenty-five years of existence, the Orchestra of the Polish Radio and TV in Łódź managed to rediscover itself and with every year produced even more modern and more interesting sounds, which fit perfectly into the glass-and-steel Poland, reaching high into the sky. The Orchestra recorded disco tracks based on pulsating drum rhythms, exploited funk-like styles along with some more elaborate forms, almost cinematic in character. City showcases an extensive range of accomplishments of Henryk Debich’s orchestra recorded in 1978, and launches our longer wandering through each year in the vast archives of the Orchestra.
05. Hailu Mergia & The Walias Band Tezeta [Awesome Tapes From Africa]
From their genesis as members of the Venus club in-house band in the early 70s, The Walias were at the forefront of the musical revolution during an era where modern instruments and foreign styles superseded the traditional fare to become the staple sound of Ethiopia. No one would argue that The Walias were the trailblazing powerhouse of modern Ethiopian music. They were the first to release full instrumental albums, considered to be commercially unviable at the time. They opened their own recording studio, with band members Melake Gebre and Mahmoud Aman doubling as technical buffs during sessions. They were also the first independent band to tour abroad. In short, they were the pioneers every band tried to emulate; some more successfully than others. Tilahun Gessesse, Getachew Kassa, Muluken Melese, Mahmoud Ahmed and Mulatu Astatke were major early collaborators while the band also gave opportunities to up-and-coming vocalists that would dominate the music scene for decades to come. This Tezeta album is one of those that have been impossible to find for nearly three decades. Sourced by Awesome Tapes From Africa and expertly remastered, its unique and funky renditions of standards and popular songs of the day are so quintessentially Walias, flavorful and evocative. Hailu Mergia's melodic organ, unashamedly front and center in every track, makes even the complex pieces accessible.
06. Archie Shepp Live in Paris (1974) [Transversales Disques]
Transversales Disques presents Archie Shepp – Live In Paris (1974), a never released before ORTF recording performed live at Studio 104, Maison de la Radio (Paris), remastered from the original tapes. Live In Paris (1974) Lost ORTF Recordings sees jazz saxophonist Archie Shepp and his band playing live in the studio for Radio France. This is the first-ever release of these recordings. ORTF is the method, developed by Radio France in the early 1960s, of recording stereo sound. Shepp is joined by drummer Noël McGhie, double bassist Bob Reid, percussionist Pablo Kino and pianist Siegfried Kessler.
07. Eboni Band Eboni Band [We Are Busy Bodies]
Motown meets West Africa on Eboni Band's self-titled 1980 debut album featuring Motown session musicians and Fred Wesley with production and arrangements from Motown legends Art Stewart and Greg Middleton. 41 years since its original release, Eboni Band's self-titled album receives its first-ever re-release by Canadian label We Are Busy Bodies on June 18. Reinventing itself as a record for the ages, a tour-de-force of cross continental soul and funk, it features session musicians from Motown and Ivory Coast's Eboni Records alongside Fred Wesley (James Brown/Parlimanent). It was produced by Art Stewart (producer of Marvin Gaye's Got To Give It Up and Rick James’ breakthrough album, Come Get It!), and arranged by Greg Middleton. Incorporating the horns and hum of Detroit and Motown with vocals, harmonies and traditions of West Africa (djembe, kora). Group of musicians flew from the Ivory Coast to Los Angeles to 'get down' and record with a sensational group of Motown musicians including James Brown’s bandleader Fred Wesley, Nolan Smith (Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder), Ernie Fields, Jr (Rick James, Marvin Gaye), and Quentin Dennard (Aretha Franklin, BB King). The musicians comprised of the four musical groups signed to the Ivory Coast-based Eboni Records were Mamadou Doumbia, Gun Morgan, Amadou Doukoure, Abdoulaye Soumare, Lamine Konte & Fode Drame). The album was later mastered at Motown's Hitsville Studios.
08. Fitz Gore & The Talismen Fitz Gore & The Talismen [perfecttoyrecords]
When it comes to the -rarest of the rare- german Jazz albums, Fitz Gore & The Talismen is in the TOP 5 for sure. Gore, born and raised in Jamaica, came to Europe in the early 1950s. He was completely self-taught on the tenor saxophone and his admiration for the music of John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins is more than obvious. In the 1960s he traveled to various cities in Europe with the aim to play with fellow Jazz musicians. Those years surely helped him to shape his unique spiritual ideas in music. Back in Germany in 1975, he formed his own group named The Talismen and recorded his first album Soundnitia from which Song for my Father and Mariella' Amor are taken. The following year he released Soundmagnificat and in 1980 his final album, Soundmusication. Two years before, in 1978, he spent time in Tenerife where he recorded his arguably finest composition, simply titled Gisela (Lion Rock). It came out on 45 rpm single housed in an extremely cool picture sleeve and today it is without question one of the rarest and most sought after german Jazz 45s. All three albums as well as the 45 were released on his own, private label GorBra Records which he ran together with his wife Gisela.
09. J Dilla Welcome 2 Detroit – The 20th Anniversary Edition [BBE]
From samba and BBE Music announces a special 20th Anniversary edition of one of the most important records in the label’s history: J Dilla’s Welcome 2 Detroit, presented in a deluxe 7” vinyl box set boasting instrumentals, two brand new interpretations by Azymuth and Muro, a stash of previously unreleased alternative mixes and studio outtakes pressed over 12 discs, plus a book revealing the album’s hidden story, told by those who were there. First issued by BBE Music on Monday 26th of February 2001, Welcome 2 Detroit was James Dewitt Yancey aka Jay Dee’s first solo outing and the debut appearance of his new ‘J Dilla’ moniker (bestowed on him by none other than Busta Rhymes). The album also inaugurated the producer-led Beat Generation album series, which would later spawn classic LPs by DJ Jazzy Jeff, Pete Rock, DJ Spinna, Marley Marl, all of whom had been inspired to reach for new creative heights by hearing Dilla’s magnum opus.
Everything Vibe’s Maestro Khan Jamal’s Infinity features a Stellar line up, a drums and percussion-rich sextet that features altoist Byard Lancaster and a Philadelphia-based rhythm section, Clifton Burton on harmonica and the legendary free drummer Sunny Murray. Khan Jamal contributed four of the five songs, while pianist Bernard Sammul brought in a cooking The Angry Young Man. The music stands up to and can be compared to anything released on the great Jazz labels and just like a Classic Blue Note, Prestige, Verve or Impulse release this is an absolute Stand Out Session. For the London, Tokyo and all points West End crowd the Worldwide Sound is The Known Unknown which has been featured on several underground compilations back in the Acid Jazz Heydays of the 1990's, but the whole album is a complete undiscovered gem. Self released in 1984 and long out of print, original copies fetch $1000 and upwards, so Jazz Room Records are proud and pleased to bring this Spiritual Soul Jazz gem out to a wider audience.