I stopped saving printed copies of my published pieces long ago–I threw most of them out when I put together the Teachout Reader–but I recently pried open a half-forgotten cardboard box stuck in the back of a closet and found a short stack of fading newspaper clips, one of which I thought worth calling to your attention.
In 1999 I wrote a piece for the Sunday New York Times called “Loved the LP, Waiting for the CD” in which I listed “13 first-rate jazz albums recorded from 1955 to 1982, none of which has ever appeared on CD in the United States.” Since then, six of the albums I mentioned have finally made it to compact disc: Jim Hall Live!, Bobby Hackett’s Gotham Jazz Scene, Ahmad Jamal’s Chamber Music of the New Jazz, Roger Kellaway Cello Quartet (but not Come to the Meadow, the Cello Quartet’s second album for A&M), Gerry Mulligan Meets Johnny Hodges, and Pee Wee Russell’s New Groove. (A seventh, Stan Getz’s Poetry, was reissued in 2001 but quickly went out of print, though it’s still available as a Japanese import.)
Here are the remaining albums, all of them still in limbo, along with what I wrote about them six years ago:
– Sidney Bechet Has Young Ideas (World Pacific, 1957). “The great New Orleans reedman spent much of the 1950s fronting bands made up of second-rate European musicians, but his last album, a quartet set in which he was accompanied by the French bebop pianist Martial Solal (with ur-bop drummer Kenny Clarke sitting in on six tracks), is a thrilling exception. Bechet always rose to a challenge, and Solal’s probing playing kept him on his toes.”
– JoAnne Brackeen, Keyed In (Columbia, 1979). “Ms. Brackeen’s lone flirtation with a major label produced two albums, both of which went out of print with unseemly haste (Columbia’s late-’70s commitment to serious jazz was momentary) and are now unjustly forgotten. This one, a vibrant collection of originals that teams her with the bassist Eddie Gomez and the drummer Jack DeJohnette, ranks among the most impressive piano trio albums of the past quarter-century.”
– Gary Burton Quartet, Easy as Pie and Picture This (ECM, 1980 and 1982). “Mr. Burton rarely works with horn players, but this superlative quartet, which featured Jim Odgren on alto saxophone, is the strongest working group the vibraphonist has led since the Larry Coryell-Steve Swallow-Roy Haynes lineup of the late ’60s. Why ECM hasn’t reissued its two studio albums is a mystery–they’re both gems.”
– Bud Freeman and Two Guitars, Something Tender (United Artists, 1962). “George Barnes and Carl Kress, who worked together from 1961 until Kress’ death in 1965, were the foremost jazz guitar duo of the postwar era. The tenor saxophonist Bud Freeman joined them in the studio for this exquisite trio album, ideally suited for after-hours listening.”
I’m still hoping to see these classic albums on CD–and Come to the Meadow, too. Is anybody listening out there in reissueland?