Club DJs and "private press" jazz hounds have long appreciated the self-produced recordings that saxophonist Nathan Davis released in small quantities on the Tomorrow International label during the 70s, which is why original copies of the LPs now go for two bills and up. Fortunately, Davis has decided to recirculate his moving Suite For Martin Luther King, Jr. and the jazz-funk classic If album through a licensing deal with Japan's P-Vine operation, which has put out super-limited vinyl pressings along with the CDs magnificently mastered from the original tapes.
While many collectors are after If for dance-floor-tested faves Stick Buddy and Tragic Magic, the album serves as a showcase for Davis's versatility as a composer and player; he demonstrates his soulful skills on a variety of saxophones as well as clarinet, bass clarinet, flute and alto flute in a snappy quintet setting. Yet another hugely underrated talent.
Sound Library score
Some of the most graphically exciting record sleeves of the past 40 years were created for sound library recordings by in-house designers at production music companies in London, Paris and Berlin. But because most of the LPs never saw commercial release, the nutty marvellous images and crazy typography remained largely unknown to those outside the television and film business and the dusty-fingered cult of sound library fanatics.
One of those obsessive collectors, Jonny Trunk , has kindly put together The Music Library Book (Fuel), a fab hard-bound coffee-table book containing a stunning assortment of some 325 full-colour sleeve images originally issued by imprints such as Amphonic, Boosey & Hawkes, Bruton, Chappell, Conroy, De Wolfe, Edi-Pan, Golden Ring, Hudson, Impress, Lupus, Montparnasse 2000, Musique Pour L'Image, Neuilly, Patchwork, Peer, Sonimage, Sonoton, Telemusic, Themes and Vedette. In addition, Trunk has compiled a 17-track companion disc of quirky library joints by Basil Kirchin , Pierre Dutour , Guy Pedersen , Herve Roy and others to set the right mood for scanning his engrossing sleeve study.
More Miami magic
The Soul Jazz label's Miami Sound compilation was a swell introduction to the deep soul and funk recordings connected with the lively Florida scene of the 60s and 70s, but there's loads more to be uncovered, as Germany's foremost funk fiend, Tobias Kirmayer , well knows. He's just reissued a couple of corkers on his Tramp label, namely an Oceanliners double-sider with the floor-shaking Funky Pants backed by the equally dope Cutting Room, along with both parts of the Mighty Dogcatchers ' brutally battering It's Gonna Be A Mess.
As if that weren't enough, Miami madness, the Numero Group has scheduled a third volume of its great Eccentric Soul series for January, and it's a killer Deep City label retrospective boasting early sides by Betty Wright and the underrated Paul Kelly in addition to choice burners by Helene Smith , Frank Williams and a few previously unissued surprises. If you need to be the first on your block to hear the Numero Group's remarkable reissues on deck for 2006, the label now has a one-time subscription offer on its site ( www.numerogroup.com ) for the next six comps that's well worth investigating. Just between us, Detroit and Chicago soul surveys, a funky gospel set and a killer Brooklyn disco-rap mix are coming up.