It's anyone's guess how vintage jazz recordings originally released by Prestige are selected for Rudy Van Gelder 's special 24-bit RVG remastering treatment, because chronological or alphabetical order obviously has no bearing. But we can be thankful that Universal's latest set of reissue discs - including Mose Allison Sings (with three bonus tracks), Hammond heavyweight Richard "Groove" Holmes 's funky Soul Message, the mid-50s Thelonious Monk / Sonny Rollins throwdown and my fave of the bunch, Yusef Lateef 's magnificently mystical Eastern Sounds album.
For this stellar East-meets-West concept session recorded in 1961, multi-reed maestro Lateef is joined by pianist Barry Harris , bassist Ernie Farrow and drummer Lex Humphries , who steer clear of the corny exotica fad of the day to embark on a much more spiritual quest. Some soul jazz fans will already be familiar with Lateef's sublime rendition of Love Theme From Spartacus, but that's just a small part of what makes Eastern Sounds a timeless classic, no less powerful now than when I first picked up a hammered deep groove vinyl pressing 20 years ago.
In the contemporary hiphop version of the East-meets-West scheme, Brooklyn's Dr. Delay , aka Tom Thumz , overhauls your favourite crunk classics from the Dirty South by ingeniously mixing and mashing them with 70s Turkish psych, Hungarian prog and sundry stoned acid rock jams, which works surprisingly well on his 30-track Psycrunk (Funkweapons) mixtape.
Who would've guessed that Trilville 's Watch Me Do This would sound so good over 3 Hür-El 's Omür Biter Yol Bitmez? And listen in wonder to how well Big Boi 's Kryptonite fits with the bumping Illes beats of Zsuzsa Köncz 's Elszllt A Nyr, and ditto for Lil John 's Get Low and Mogollar 's Madimak. Just about every last one of Dr. Delay's innovative crunk reconstructions is an improvement on the original. Check it.
My dusty-fingered 'Bama buddy Jim Battey shares my passion for deep Southern soul from the golden era, so he thoughtfully sent me a copy of a great new archival comp, Birmingham Sound : The Soul Of Neal Hemphill, Vol. 1 (Rabbit Factory), assembled by Chicago vinyl hound John Ciba . Apart from famed Alabama-based singer/ songwriters Sam Dees and Frederick Knight , most of the artists featured here won't be familiar to anyone living outside of Jefferson County. But the compositions and recordings coming out of Hemphill's Birmingham studio were of such consistently high quality, even the tunes by local housewreckers like Bill Butterbean Flippo , Little Lois Barber , Ralph "Soul" Jackson , David Sea , Eddie Steele and Chuck Strong sound like shouldabeen hits. Looks like the boys at the Numero Group, Stones Throw, Ubiquity and Light in the Attic have a new crate-digging competitor.