Jazz and blues vinyl highlights for Record Store Day on April 22
In its 16th year honoring local record stores, Record Store Day 2023 returns Saturday, April 22. Perhaps not coincidentally, vinyl record sales have grown for 16 straight years and this year overtook CD sales for the first time since 1987.
The Pacific Northwest is a great place to be a record collector with plenty of independent stores carrying exclusive Record Store Day releases. Jazz and blues albums make up a generous portion of the list. Here are a few of the most exciting releases - reissued rarities and recordings available this month.
Shirley Scott - Queen Talk: Live at the Left Bank
This is the debut release of a 1972 concert from the Queen of the Organ at the height of her powers. This limited edition double-LP recorded in Baltimore features George Coleman on tenor sax with drummer Bobby Durham plus singer Ernie Andrews on three of the ten songs.
Walter Bishop - Bish at the Bank
The first issue of these 1967-1968 recordings shows the great bebop pianist in two Baltimore concerts featuring a quartet with saxophonist Harold Vick. With two extended songs on each side of this double-LP, Bishop presents 100 minutes of live piano thrills on jazz standards and a pair of original songs.
Chet Baker - Blue Room: 1979 VARA Studio Sessions in Holland
These previously unavailable recordings from the great trumpeter and singer find him backed by a European piano trio in spring and fall sessions in 1979. Though his sound was diminished in his later career, Baker was in a prolific period with more than 20 albums recorded during this year and in 1980.
Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers - Live at the Jazz Workshop 1970
A sort of follow up to the 2020 release of an unheard 1959 Jazz Messengers recording, this live set in Boston offers the only known recording of this Art Blakey lineup. The concert spotlights two members of Messengers co-founder Horace Silver's bands, saxophonist Junior Cook and singer Andy Bey. An included QR code accessing hours more content makes this a special occasion.
Bill Evans - Treasures: Trio & Orchestra in Denmark 1965-1969
With previously unreleased recordings coming out seemingly every Record Store Day, piano great Bill Evans is back again with the first release of late '60s concerts broadcast on Danish television and radio. The three-LP collection features solo and trio performances as well as an orchestra with reportedly great audio quality.
Sonny Stitt - Boppin' in Baltimore: Live at the Left Bank
Stitt leads a fantastic 1973 band with Kenny Barron, Sam Jones and Louis Hayes on this deluxe double-LP assortment of standards and blues. Fans of the sax legend will also want to grab the first ever reissue of The Bubba Sessions, Stitt's final recordings from the early '80s.
Sun Ra - Haverford College, January 25, 1980
Previously traded in bootleg circles, this 1980 solo Rhodes piano concert from the idiosyncratic jazz legend gets its first official release for Record Store Day. This unique performance finds Ra apart from his band in a rarely heard relaxed and contemplative mood.
Charlie Parker - Afro Cuban Bop: The Long Lost Bird Live Recordings
Though these recordings have been previously released, this is the first time Yardbird's live recordings of Latin-bebop fusion have been collected together on a double-LP. Recorded in the late '40s and early '50s in New York, Los Angeles and Portland, Parker's bands include Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Art Blakey and others.
Bossa Nova at Carnegie Hall
In 1962, the Stan Getz/Charlie Byrd album Jazz Samba sparked a new musical craze and led to bossa nova albums by nearly every star in jazz. At the end of that year, Carnegie Hall brought the legends of Brazilian music onstage together. The fifteen songs featured future Getz collaborators João Gilberto and Luiz Bonfá, as well as Oscar Castro-Neves, Carmen Costa, Sérgio Mendes and others. This is the second vinyl reissue and first in 40 years.
Muddy Waters - Hollywood Blues Summit 1971
This Blues Summit Weekend in Los Angeles brought Muddy Waters together with Texas blues great Lightnin' Hopkins and younger guitarist Freddie King in a set that fans of the earlier Super Blues album (matching Waters with Bo Diddley and Little Walter) will love. These eight songs recorded at the Ash Grove Club have never been released.
Fred Davis - Cleveland Blues
Young soul singer Eli "Paperboy" Reed learned the blues from his father, who learned from Fred Davis. The elder Reed, hoping to promote Davis' career, recorded an album in the Reed family living room by Davis and his band in 1969. After the Reeds found the tape in their attic, they started working on sharing it with the world. Colemine Records has already released the album for streaming, so you'll know what you're buying.
More reissues and deluxe editions from jazz stars like Miles Davis and Larry Coryell are coming to record stores April 22, along with reissues of blues albums by Howlin' Wolf, Willie Dixon, B.B. King and many more.
As always, check with your local record stores to see who might be carrying the albums you want. Arrive early so you don't miss out and remember that for music lovers, every day is Record Store Day.