Demanding to be heard, now and then one of the LPs in the surviving Rifftides collection of vinyl records sends vibes—appropriately in this case. The album called Sunstroke appeared in 1979 on the Muse label with Charlie Shoemake on vibraharp in his first album as a leader. His stellar rhythm section had Kenny Barron on piano, Cecil McBee on bass and Al Foster playing drums, with David Schnitter on tenor saxophone. For the occasion, Shoemake wrote a piece commemorating how jazz transformed as the music moved from swing to bebop. He called it “42nd Street Changes.” In the sense of “changes” as harmonic progressions, the tune provided challenges to the musicians and—to the rest of us—exhilarating listening.
It is odd, in the case of so stimulating an album, that Sunstroke has never been reissued as a CD or in any other digital form.