Category Archives: Soul Jazz

CULT CLASSIC: GENE RUSSELL-NEW DIRECTION.

Cult Classic: Gene Russell-New Direction. In 1969, pianist Gene Russell and percussionist Dick Schory founded Black Jazz Records in Oakland, California. The nascent label’s raison d’être was “to promote the talents of young African American jazz musicians and singers.” This was only part of their vision for their new label. They were determined that Black …

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CULT CLASSIC: GENE  RUSSELL-TALK TO MY LADY.

Cult Classic: Gene Russell-Talk To My Lady. As 1973 dawned, LA-based Black Jazz Records had already released nine albums since 1971. Its first release was Gene Russell’s critically acclaimed sophomore album New Direction. However, another two years passed before the LA-born pianist returned with the followup.  Gene Russell spent the spent the rest of 1971 …

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CULT CLASSIC: HERBIE HANCOCK-MY POINT OF VIEW.

Cult Classic: Herbie Hancock-My Point Of View. By the time Herbie Hancock signed to Blue Note Records, the Chicago-born pianist was just twenty-two, and had already worked with Donald Byrd and Coleman Hawkins. On May the ‘28th’ 1962, he recorded his debut solo album Takin’ Off which featured the jazz standard Watermelon Man. The album …

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CULT CLASSIC: PATCHWORK-MEAN AND DIRTY.

Cult Classic: Patchwork-Mean and Dirty. Nowadays, library music is highly collectable, especially the albums released by KPM, Amphonic, Conroy,  Sonoton and De Wolfe between the late-sixties and early eighties. That is regarded by many collectors as a golden age for library music. This is ironic as the albums of library music were never meant to fall into the …

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CULT CLASSIC: RUDOLPH JOHNSON-SPRING RAIN.

Cult Classic: Rudolph Johnson-Spring Rain. When pianist Gene Russell and percussionist Dick Schory founded Black Jazz Records in Oakland, California, in 1969, the nascent label’s raison d’être was “to promote the talents of young African American jazz musicians and singers.” This was only part of their vision for their new label. They were determined that …

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CULT CLASSIC: DR. LONNIE SMITH-ALL IN MY MIND.

Cult Classic: Dr. Lonnie Smith-All In My Mind. Forty-six years after he left Blue Note Records, Dr. Lonnie Smith returned in 2016 and released a new studio album Evolution. It was released to critical acclaim and marked the homecoming of the last of the great soul-jazz organists. His career began in 1960, and in the …

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CULT CLASSIC: MASAHIKO SATO-KAYOBI NO ONNA. 

Cult Classic: Masahiko Sato-Kayobi No Onna. By 1969, Tokyo-born composer and pianist Masahiko Sato about to turn twenty-nine, and had been a professional musician since he was seventeen. He had started out accompanying magicians, singers and strippers in a cabaret in Ginza, a district of Tokyo. Now eleven years later he had just written the …

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CULT CLASSIC: GRANT GREEN-NIGERIA.

Cult Classic: Grant Green-Nigeria. On January the ’13th’ 1962 Grant Green journeyed to New Jersey, and what were by now the familiar environs of the Van Gelder Studio. He was twenty-five and had already recorded eight albums for Blue Note Records since he signed for the label in 1960. Grant Green had his friend Lou …

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CULT CLASSIC: THE AWAKENING-HEAR, SENSE AND FEEL.

Cult Classic: The Awakening-Hear, Sense and Feel. Of the twenty albums that Black Jazz Records released between 1971 and 1975, The Awakening’s Hear, Sense and Feel is a much prized rarity amongst collectors. Copies of the album change hands for hundreds of dollars. That is no surprise given the quality of music The Awakening recorded. It …

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ART BLAKEY AND THE JAZZ MESSENGERS-THE WITCH DOCTOR.

Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers-The Witch Doctor. Label: Blue Note Records. Format: LP. When The Jazz Messengers were formed in 1954, the collective was led by Horace Silver and Art Blakey when they played live. However, it wasn’t until November the ‘23rd’ 1955 when they recorded At the Cafe Bohemia, Volumes 1 and 2. …

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DOUG CARN-INFANT EYES

Doug Carn-Infant Eyes. Label: Real Gone Music. Format: CD. Although Gene Russell and Dick Schory founded Black Jazz Records in 1969, two years passed before the nascent label released its first album. This was Gene Russell’s sophomore album New Direction which was released in 1971. It was the first of twenty albums by a label …

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JAZZ CLASSIC: LEE MORGAN-THE SIDEWINDER.

Jazz Classic: Lee Morgan-The Sidewinder. On the 21st’ December 1963, Lee Morgan and his quintet travelled to the Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, to record what was the fourteenth album of his career. He had signed to Blue Note Records in 1956 and in the Spring of 1957 had released his debut …

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MODERNITY.

Modernity. Label: Kent Dance. Format: CD. Ever since the birth of rock ’n’ roll, youth cults have come and gone. Some have proven to be nothing more than passing fads that nowadays, are mere footnotes in cultural history. Some youth cults have endured, and played an important part in British culture. However, none of the …

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CHESTER THOMPSON-POWERHOUSE.

Chester Thompson-Powerhouse. Label: Real Gone Music. Format: CD. During the late-sixties and early seventies, many small independent jazz labels were founded in towns and cities across America. Sadly,  many were short-lived affairs with some releasing just one album and others closing their doors having released just a couple of albums. However, Black Jazz Records released …

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CULT CLASSIC: ROLAND HAYNES-2ND WAVE.

Cult Classic: Roland Haynes-2nd Wave. Forty-five years ago in 1975, Roland Haynes released his debut album 2nd Wave on the Detroit-based Black Jazz Records. The label was founded by Gene Russell and Dick Schory and released twenty albums between 1971 and 1975. 2nd Wave was the label’s penultimate release and it folded later in 1975. …

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CULT CLASSIC: DUKE PEARSON FEATURING BOBBY HUTCHERSON-THE PHANTOM.

Cult Classic: Duke Pearson Featuring Bobby Hutcherson-The Phantom. By June 1968, Atlanta-born pianist Duke Pearson was thirty-five, and was about to begin record the twelfth album of his career, The Phantom. It would be the seventh album he had recorded for Blue Note Records since he first signed for the label in 1959, and later …

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CULT CLASSIC: JIMMY SMITH WITH STANLEY TURRENTINE-PRAYER MEETIN’.

Cult Classic: Jimmy Smith With Stanley Turrentine-Prayer Meetin’. When Jimmy Smith entered Van Gelder Studio on February the ‘8th’ 1963, he was about to record his fourth album in a week. This meant that he had fulfilled the terms of his contract with Blue Note and could sign with Verve. The album he was about …

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GENE RUSSELL-NEW DIRECTION.

Gene Russell-New Direction. Label: Real Gone Music. Format: CD. In 1969, pianist Gene Russell and percussionist Dick Schory founded Black Jazz Records in Oakland, California. The nascent label’s raison d’être was “to promote the talents of young African American jazz musicians and singers.” This was only part of their vision for their new label. They …

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CULT CLASSIC: KELLEE PATTERSON-MAIDEN VOYAGE.

Cult Classic: Kellee Patterson-Maiden Voyage. When pianist Gene Russell and percussionist Dick Schory founded Black Jazz Records in Oakland, California, in 1971, the nascent label’s raison d’être was “to promote the talents of young African American jazz musicians and singers.” This was only part of their vision for their new label. They were determined that …

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CULT CLASSIC: DOUG CARN FEATURING THE VOICE OF JEAN CARN-SPIRIT OF THE NEW LAND.

Cult Classic: Doug Carn Featuring The Voice Of Jean Carn-Spirit Of The New Land. Doug Carn was one of the first artists that Gene Russell and Dick Schory signed when they founded Black Jazz Records in 1971. His debut solo album Infant Eyes was the nascent company’s third release and featured vocals from his wife …

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