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Record Store Day's Saturday releases highlight jazz legends

Trombonists J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding's ultra-rare 1970 album with Herbie Hancock and Bob James returns for Record Store Day.
Album cover courtesy of CTI Records
Trombonists J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding's ultra-rare 1970 album with Herbie Hancock and Bob James returns for Record Store Day.

The pandemic-era Record Store Day celebrations return for a third time in socially distanced ways Saturday, Oct. 24. Reissues and first-time-vinyl releases from icons like Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon and Charles Mingus are great reasons to support your favorite independent record store.

While all of the music coming Saturday has previously been released, the still-growing popularity of the vinyl format means there are debuts of a sort.

Tenor sax star Dexter Gordon is represented by a pair of releases, live European concerts recorded about a decade apart. The concert Live in Chateauvallon 1978 is Gordon's then-new New York band with George Cables on piano. The two-CD set from this summer sprawled nearly two hours on just four songs. This vinyl debut splits the concert in half.

The Squirrel, originally released on CD (Europe and Japan in 1997, U.S. in 2001), is from a radio broadcast of a 1967 quartet including Gordon's fellow ex-pats Kenny Drew (piano) and Art Taylor (drums) with a local bassist. Each record side find the band improvising around just one song, live jazz at its best.

Miles Davis' 1970 jazz-rock-funk classic Bitches Brew received a deluxe expanded edition in a four-CD box set in 1998. Double Image: Rare Miles from the Complete Bitches Brew Sessions is a two-LP (limited edition red) vinyl debut of those rarities in one package for the first time.

Maybe the most exciting Record Store Day release for jazz fans is the trombone pair J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding's Stonebone. Released in Japan in 1970 and out of print since, this vinyl reissue includes an all-star band with guitarist George Benson, and both Herbie Hancock and Bob James on keyboards. It's a groovy outing for these giants, bachelor pad music for headphones.

Credit Album cover courtesy of Columbia Legacy
Rarities from Miles Davis' 1970 album "Bitches Brew" get a red vinyl release for Record Store Day Saturday.

Jazz innovator Jimmy Giuffre was at the forefront of modern jazz in 1961, when he performed on clarinet live in Graz, Austria with pianist Paul Bley and bassist Steve Swallow. The 75 minutes of improvisation on Jimmy Giuffre Graz 1961 was first available on CD last year, now vinyl collectors can enjoy the two-LPs worth for the first time.

Finally, it's hard to believe the outtakes available on Mingus Ah Um Redux are seeing their first vinyl release Saturday. The original Charles Mingus album has always been popular, now you can also enjoy a second record of bonus tracks and alternate takes on your turntable.

Record Store Day has one more celebration on the calendar this fall, with the Black Friday list of releases for Nov. 27. Check out that list now, and stay connected for KNKX's overview of jazz and blues highlights that week.

Don't limit your music buying to these RSD drops. Whether you trek to your favorite independent record store or buy from them online, you're doing your part in keeping this music economy alive when it needs you the most.

Abe grew up in Western Washington, a 3rd generation Seattle/Tacoma kid. It was as a student at Pacific Lutheran University that Abe landed his first job at KNKX, editing and producing audio for news stories. It was a Christmas Day shift no one else wanted that gave Abe his first on-air experience which led to overnights, then Saturday afternoons, and started hosting Evening Jazz in 1998.