If I had an extra grand lying around, I probably would've picked up an original German CBS copy of the Joki Freund Sextet's über-rare Yogi Jazz Deutsche treat long ago, but instead I decided to wait until someone reissued it.
Hardly surprising that it wasn't Sony behind the re-release, but Japan's Euro-jazz reissue specialists Atelier Sawano, and thankfully so because the packaging and remastering job on this 1963 soulfully swinging modal marvel is exceptionally great.
When you hear the inspired group improvisations of pianist Wolfgang Dauner, flutist Emil Mangelsdorff, bassist Eberhard Weberand drummer Peter Baumeister on saxophonist Freund's own free tunes Yogiana and HL 20, you'll know why this is one of the most sought-after modern Euro-jazz titles of the era. Well worth the effort of seeking it out.
More Nitzsche nuggets
Perhaps best known to Canuck music fans as the Neil Young go-to-guy who played a key role in the creation of Harvest and Tonight's The Night, songwriter/producer/pianist Jack Nitzsche earned his stripes as Phil Spector's conductor and arranger during his wall-of-sound peak years but did hundreds of other sessions as well.
The second volume of the excellent Jack Nitzsche Story, Hard Workin' Man (Ace), continues filling in the gaps left by the first set, collecting 26 awe-inspiring tracks he tweaked during the 60s and 70s. Along with the Monkees' unusual head trip Porpoise Song, the delightful solo debut of the Lovin' Spoonful's Zal Yanovsky on As Long As You're Here, Danny Whitten's soulful Crazy Horse classic I Don't Want To Talk About It (later covered by Rod Stewart) and Don Van Vliet's snarling Hard Workin' Man, backed by Ry Cooder from the 1978 soundtrack of Paul Schrader's Blue Collar, are just a few of Nitzsche's overlooked thrillers that you really need to hear.
Planet Rock... don't stop
Those eagerly anticipating the Toronto return of hiphop pioneer and mix maestro supreme Afrika Bambaataa - who'll be rocking the Halloween Funk party at the El Mocambo Saturday (October 28) - should check out the head-turning cover of Soul Sonic Force's b-boy classic Planet Rock recorded by the Breakout crew from Hanover, Germany, and released by Melting Pot as a 25th anniversary salute. Admittedly it starts off slow with just high-school-marching-band-style drums and wah-wah guitar, but just watch the faces light up once the Hammond organ kicks in with the Kraftwerkian hook-line. Oooh, it's dope. My other favourite cover this week is Orgone's Afrobeat blast through Funky Nassau, retouched for maximum dance-floor damage by Danny Krivit and released on the nuffrope label. Perhaps even better are Orgone's two killer originals on the flip, Hambone and Sophisticated Honky, which suggests these L.A. sessioneers should've stepped out from behind the Pharcyde and Plantlife much sooner than they did.