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Charles Mingus, The Thelonious Monk Quartet, Weather Report with Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter

NEW YORK, May 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The ultimate year-round jazz festival of Legacy Recordings continues to set a new industry standard with three new Complete Album Collections from the Columbia and RCA archives by the greatest names in modern jazz:

WEATHER REPORT – THE COLUMBIA ALBUMS 1971-1975 (Columbia/Legacy) – 6 titles, 7 CDs.

Newly assembled and affordably priced, this latest wave of jazz titles in the Complete Album Collections box set series will be available at the PopMarket.com website – http://complete.popmarket.com – as well as at all general retail starting July 30th through Columbia/Legacy, a division of SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT.

These three new entries follow up the first 16 box sets in the series, released through PopMarket.com in 2011 – 2012. Those titles covered the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Stanley Clarke, Miles Davis (2009), George Duke, Stan Getz, Dexter Gordon, Billie Holiday, the original Mahavishnu Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis, Return To Forever, Woody Shaw, Wayne Shorter, Grover Washington Jr., and Weather Report 1976-1982 (all on Columbia/Legacy); and Paul Desmond and Nina Simone (on RCA/Legacy).

Each multi-disc box set contains the artist’s entire album output during their original label tenure (Columbia, Epic, RCA, Arista, and so on), or focuses on some aspect of their output. Each album is packaged in a replica mini-LP sleeve reproducing that LP’s original front and back cover artwork. Where applicable, the albums in each box include the bonus tracks that have been released on the various Legacy expanded CD editions over the years. Booklets are included with each box set, containing new liner notes essays and complete discographical information, including any bonus material.

For example, of the six titles in the new WEATHER REPORT 1971-1975 box set, five of them will include either one or two bonus tracks each. These bonus tracks come from two sources: material from Live & Unreleased, the double-CD release of 2002; and material that was previously unreleased at the time it was included on Forecast: Tomorrow, the four-disc (three CDs plus DVD) box set retrospective released in 2006. In every case, the bonus material is contemporaneous with the original album on which is has now been appended.

The box sets in the Complete Album Collections series have been produced by longtime Grammy Award®-winning and Grammy Award®-nominated Legacy producers Richard Seidel, Michael Cuscuna, Michael Brooks, Didier Deutsch and Bob Belden. All packaging has been supervised by Grammy Award®-winning former Legacy Vice President of Jazz Marketing Seth Rothstein, and art directed by award-winning designer Edward ODowd, who has worked on more than 150 CD packages in various genres.
Virtually all of the CDs in these box sets have been remastered by Sony Senior Mastering Engineer Mark Wilder. He has received seven Grammy Award® nominations and 3 Grammy Awards® in his nearly 25 years at Sony. All of the jazz CDs in the Complete Album Collections are produced from the most up to date and best-sounding masters available.

As the dominant jazz record label for most of the 20th century, Columbia was home to a myriad of leading jazz figures during the LP era, and into the digital age.

The next three titles in the Complete Album Collections series feature the music of four of the all-time greatest jazz composers – Charles Mingus and Thelonious Monk, both giants of the acoustic era, and Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul, whose works span both the acoustic and electric era. They are as follows:

A true American visionary, master bassist, composer-arranger, and irascible bandleader, Charles Mingus (1922-1979) had been steeped in music training since childhood – imagine his high school band in South Central L.A. (Watts) with Mingus, Dexter Gordon, Chico Hamilton, and Ernie Royal onboard. The young Mingus was writing music since his teens, and apprenticed in bands and combos led by Louis Armstrong, drummer Lee Young, Illinois Jacquet, Lionel Hampton, and others. The early ’50s West Coast trio with vibist Red Norvo and guitarist Tal Farlow helped usher in the cool jazz movement, and Mingus was part of the landmark 1953 Toronto Massey Hall bebop concert with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, and Max Roach. (Mingus and Roach co-founded the Debut Records label in ’52). Mingus organized his Jazz Workshop band in 1955, and it became the home base for his multifarious projects which melded his roots in blues, church gospel, and every stream of jazz, from New Orleans to swing and bebop, and of course the Third Stream classical fusion ideas of which he was a pioneer.

By the time he recorded the 5-song Tijuana Moods for RCA in 1957, Mingus was already something of a legend. The album was inspired by an uninhibited bachelor getaway to the Baja California border town, accompanied by perennial drummer Dannie Richmond. The album version in this box set is the spectacular 22-track, 2-CD edition of 2001. Mingus signed with Columbia in 1959, and recorded four marathon medium-sized ensemble sessions in May and November that are heard on three CDs here – 1959’s Mingus Ah Um and 1960’s Mingus Dynasty, and Alternate Takes, which is comprised of alternate takes from both Mingus Ah Um and Mingus Dynasty.

After historic album stints at Atlantic and Impulse!, Mingus was rarely heard for five to six years, until he returned to Columbia in 1971. Two releases put Mingus back on the front page: Let My Children Hear Music and Charles Mingus and Friends In Concert (a celebration with the full Mingus Jazz Workshop band plus guests Gerry Mulligan, Gene Ammons, Lee Konitz, James Moody, Randy Weston and many others, including Bill Cosby as MC). Finally, there is the 2-CD masterwork of 1989, Epitaph, in which jazz scholar/conductor Gunther Schuller’s rediscovery of the original Mingus charts were produced as a grand tribute to their creator, with guests Wynton Marsalis, Randy Brecker, John Handy, George Adams, and dozens of others participating.

The boxed set contains extensive liner notes by Sue Mingus, his widow, and long-time manager of the various Mingus ensembles in constant existence since his death.

Many of Mingus’ greatest pieces may be heard over the course of the box including “Ysabel’s Table Dance,” “Scenes In The City,” “Better Get It In Your Soul,” “Goodbye Porkpie Hat,” “Fables Of Faubus,” “Song With Orange,” “The Shoes Of The Fisherman’s Wife Are Some Jive Ass Slippers,” “The Eye Of The Hurricane Sue,” “Peggy’s Blue Skylight,” and many others.

Tijuana Moods (RCA, 1957, double-CD)
Mingus Ah Um (Columbia, 1959)
Mingus Dynasty (Columbia, 1959)
Alternate Takes (Columbia, 1959)
Let My Children Hear Music (Columbia, 1971)
Charles Mingus & Friends In Concert (Columbia, 1972, double-CD)
Epitaph (Columbia, 1989, double-CD)

THE THELONIOUS MONK QUARTET – THE COMPLETE COLUMBIA STUDIO ALBUMS COLLECTION (6 titles, 6 CDs; Columbia/Legacy) After nearly a decade of historic, career-defining LPs for top jazz independent labels Blue Note, Prestige and Riverside from 1952 to 1961, piano colossus Thelonious Monk (1917-1982) arrived in 1962 at Columbia, the first and only major record label affiliation of his career. There he released six masterful, distinctive albums (all produced by Teo Macero) that are as integral to his lifetime’s work as anything he created before or after. Monk’s Dream was his Columbia debut, a quartet date with longtime stalwarts tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, bassist John Ore, and drummer Frankie Dunlop. The program consisted of Monk originals along with solo performances on the standards “Body and Soul” and “Just a Gigolo.” The quartet returned with Criss Cross in ’63, again a program of Monk originals (including his classic “Crepuscule For Nellie”) offset by two standards, a trio take (sans Rouse) of the stride piano workout “Tea For Two” and a solo on “Don’t Blame Me.”

The backdrop for the 1964 album It’s Monk’s Time was Monk’s presence on the cover of Time magazine in February, just months after JFK’s assassination (the week of which the cover had originally been scheduled). Monk and Rouse were now playing with bassist Butch Warren and drummer Ben Riley. The LP showcased them on three originals and a Monk-styled send-up of “Lulu’s Back in Town.” Monk’s (by now expected) solo standards comprised “Nice Work if You Can Get It” and Eubie Blake’s sweet “Memories of You.” In ’64, Monk. (period!), featured new bassist Larry Gales, and a program heavy on standards like the Al Jolson chestnut “Liza (All the Clouds’ll Roll Away),” and “Just You, Just Me” which is credited as the source for Monk’s signature, “Evidence.” The same lineup (with Rouse, Gales and Riley) was intact for 1966’s Straight, No Chaser, which benefits from the extra time of the 1996 CD. It added alternate takes and unreleased material (“I Didn’t Know About You” and Monk’s “Green Chimneys”) plus full-length versions of tracks that were severely edited for the LP.

1968’s Underground, Monk’s Columbia swan song as well as the last assembly by this quartet, earned a place in many LP collections because of its Grammy Award®-winning ‘underground’ bunker cover photo. Several new pieces are introduced by the composer including “Ugly Beauty,” “Boo Boo’s Birthday,” and “Green Chimneys” (although first recorded during the earlier Straight, No Chaser sessions — as above — the first released version of “Green Chimneys” to have actually been released was this one on Underground). We end with a bow to fellow piano great Bud Powell, “In Walked Bud,” with hip new lyrics and vocal by Jon Hendricks.

Over the course of this box many of Monk’s most beloved compositions are heard in new versions including “Bye-Ya,” “Rhythm-A-Ning,” “Criss-Cross,” “Think Of One,” “Pannonica,” “Epistrophy,” “Straight, No Chaser,” and many more.

Monk’s Dream (1962)
Criss Cross (1963)
It’s Monk’s Time (1964)
Monk. (1964)
Straight, No Chaser (1967)
Underground (1968)

WEATHER REPORT – THE COLUMBIA ALBUMS 1971-1975 (6 titles, 7 CDs; Columbia/Legacy)
The origins and sound of Weather Report in 1971 are credited to the bonding of jazz veterans Joe Zawinul on keyboards (1932-2007) and saxophonist Wayne Shorter (b. 1933). They were acquaintances for a decade before working together with Miles Davis on his transitional sessions of 1969 that led to In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew. It was not long after that before Shorter and Zawinul decided to form their own group, partnering with Czech bassist Miroslav Vitous (b. 1947), who had been playing and recording with the likes of Shorter, Herbie Mann, Chick Corea and Stan Getz. As award-winning journalist/critic and jazz/fusion scholar Bill Milkowski’s liner notes to this box set point out, “They began forging a new direction in instrumental music with a signature sound that incorporated elements of rock, funk, folkloric melodies and collective group improvisation along with touches of electronic abstraction and pan-global exotica.”

Weather Report’s self-titled debut album of 1971 brought in the first of many sidemen (drummer Alphonse Mouzon and percussionist Airto Moreira) that the group would employ. Recorded in three days, it was (said Zawinul) “a feeling-out period” for the band, as they had not previously played together as a group. It received a 5-star review from Dan Morgenstern in Down Beat, and went on to win Jazz Album of the Year in the annual Readers Poll; also, Japan’s prestigious Grand Prix Award for winning Swing Journal magazine’s Readers and Critics Polls. Live in Tokyo, recorded in January 1972 with a new touring drummer (Eric Gravatt) and percussionist (Dom Um Romao), was released that year in Japan on LP, and later on CD, but has never been issued in the U.S. before. The tracks on Tokyo reprised several of the debut’s pieces, mostly in lengthy, highly-charged medleys, with cuts ranging from 11 to 26 minutes.

Weather Report’s official second LP, 1972’s I Sing the Body Electric, juxtaposed highly-edited versions of three Tokyo tracks with four new studio pieces. It was followed in 1973 by Sweetnighter (highlighted by double drummers and percussionists), which found Weather Report moving towards a more structured approach to offset its nightly collective improvisations. Also (for the first time), an outside funk bassist replaced Vitous on certain tracks that Zawinul felt needed more groove, the precursor to Vitous leaving the band. The LP earned Weather Report the Jazz Group of the Year honor in Down Beat’s Readers Poll of 1973. 1974’s Mysterious Traveller brought young Philadelphia bassist Alphonso Johnson into the lineup, as Zawinul expanded his keyboard textures with the ARP 2600 synthesizer supplanting his Fender Rhodes electric piano. The record was named Jazz Album of the Year in the annual Down Beat poll. A new drummer, Ndugu Leon Chancler was recruited from Santana to record 1975’s Tale Spinnin’, as Weather Report moved even deeper into the Latin/funk song-driven grooves that would provide familiar sounds for fans at their concerts. The annual Down Beat poll named the LP Jazz Album of the Year, with Weather Report named Jazz Group of the Year.

Over the course of the six albums included in this box set, Zawinul and Shorter introduce many of their most memorable and celebrated compositions including “Orange Lady,” “Dr. Honoris Causa,” “The Unknown Soldier,” “Boogie Woogie Waltz,” “Nubian Sundance,” and “Man In The Green Shirt” by Zawinul; and “Tears,” “The Moors,” “Manolete,” Mysterious Traveler,” and “Lusitanos” by Shorter.

1976, of course, saw the debut of 25-year old South Florida bass prodigy Jaco Pastorius on the Black Market sessions. Jaco’s entry on that album marked the start of the next phase of Weather Report, as presented in the 6-CD box set, Weather Report – The Columbia Albums 1976-1982 Featuring Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter And Jaco Pastorius. That previous box set entry in this Complete Album Collections series traces the group’s evolution from Black Market through 1982’s self-titled Weather Report, “the Jaco years.”

Weather Report (1971) – plus one bonus track
I Sing the Body Electric (1972) – plus one bonus track
Live in Tokyo (1972, double-CD) – first ever U.S. release
Sweetnighter (1973) – plus one bonus track
Mysterious Traveller (1974) – plus two bonus tracks
Tale Spinnin’ (1975) – plus two bonus tracks

Source: PR Newswire and Legacy Recordings