Prior to his years leading Cuba's explosive Irakere, pianist Chucho Valdés was hard at work developing his jazz chops in small combo formations with future Irakere bandmates.
The amazing recordings he cut between January and July 1964, originally released as the Jazz Nocturno and Descarga LPs, have never been widely distributed outside of Cuba. That is, until the Malanga Music subsidiary of Spain's Disconforme label recently reissued them from the master tapes with killer bonus tracks, full liner notes and immaculate 24-bit sound as The Complete 1964 Sessions disc. But whereas those early recordings present the young Valdés as a formidable stylist, his 1972 trio session, Jazz Batá, would demonstrate his emerging compositional artistry.
Happily, Malanga has also given that recording the deluxe reissue treatment, repackaging it with bonus material drawn from 82's sought-after Tema De Chaka LP. Even better news, this is just the beginning of Malanga Music's Cuban archival project, with more releases due soon. Catch 'em while you can. www.disconforme.com.
A graduate of the Alpha Boys School , which has come to be known as Jamaica's nursery for brass players, late tenor saxophonist Wilton "Bogey" Gaynair - older brother of tenor great Bobby Gaynair - moved to England early on to make his way in the lively British jazz scene of the early 60s. He made three albums as a leader, but released only two before dying in Germany in 1995.
The third, Africa Calling, recorded at IBC Studios back in 1960 with Horace Silver-inspired pianist Terry Shannon , bassist Jeff Clyne , drummer Bill Eyden and trumpet ace Ellsworth "Shake" Keane , was likely intended for release on Tempo , but the recording was shelved when the label went out of business.
Now, 47 years on, Gaynair's bluesy, playing on Africa Calling (Candid) can finally be heard. It's a soulfully deep delight from start to finish, showing off the impressive early development of Gaynair, who'd clearly been listening to a lot of Coleman Hawkins and Don Byas before having his head turned around by Coltrane. Sweet.
Over the years, I've picked up many stunning soul scorchers onthe Minaret label and Shelby Singleton's variousimprints, like SSS International, unaware that a good chunk ofthem were cut by the singers, songwriters, arrangers and playersthat Finley Duncan brought to his Playground RecordingStudio, built with Singleton's help in Valparaiso,Florida.
The good news is that all the master tapes for the more than 30Southern soul singles that came out of the studio between 1968 and 72have been found in good condition, with unreleased material, andSouthern Americana is putting the best stuff out inits Soul Resurrection series.
The first volume boasts stunning tracks from underappreciatedSouthern greats Reuben Howell, Doris Allen, Big JohnHamilton, Len Wade, Count Willie, JimmyGresham, Leroy Lloyd and Johnny Soul, all of whichcould've been regional hits. It's an incredible find for soulfans, and I can't wait to hear what they'll dig up next.