DEFINITIVE AUDIOPHILE GRADE VERSIONS OF CLIFFORD BROWN & MAX ROACH’S A STUDY IN BROWN, SARAH VAUGHAN’S SELF-TITLED ALBUM, GEORGE RUSSELL’S NEW YORK, N.Y. AND PEGGY LEE’S BLACK COFFEE AVAILABLE NOW AS PART OF VERVE/UMe’s ACCLAIMED AUDIOPHILE VINYL REISSUE SERIES ACOUSTIC SOUNDS
LPS MASTERED FROM ORIGINAL ANALOG TAPES AND PRESENTED ON 180-GRAM VINYL IN HIGH-QUALITY PACKAGING
Los Angeles – January 29, 2021 – Clifford Brown and Max Roach’s hard bop classic A Study In Brown, George Russell’s innovative and important New York, NY and superstar jazz and pop singer, songwriter and composer Peggy Lee’s sumptuous Decca debut, Black Coffee, are the newest releases in Verve Records and UMe’s acclaimed Acoustic Sounds audiophile vinyl reissue series. Available now, the LPs were mastered in stereo from the original analog tapes, pressed on 180-gram vinyl and packaged by Stoughton Printing Co. in high-quality tip-on gatefold jackets. Like all Acoustic Sounds titles, the releases were supervised by Chad Kassem, CEO of Acoustic Sounds, the world’s largest source for audiophile recordings, and utilized the skills of the top mastering engineers and the unsurpassed production craft of Quality Record Pressings.
These definitive vinyl pressings which highlight several of the storied labels spanning Verve/UMe’s extraordinarily rich archive, follow the release of Sarah Vaughan’s self-titled album earlier this month and cap off the first year of exciting audiophile-grade vinyl pressings that also includes Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto’s Getz/Gilberto, John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme and Ballads and Nina Simone’s I Put a Spell on You and Pastel Blues.
Purchase Sarah Vaughan’s Sarah Vaughan: https://Verve.lnk.to/SVSarahVaughan
Purchase Peggy Lee’s Black Coffee: https://Verve.lnk.to/PLBlackCoffee
Purchase Clifford Brown & Max Roach’s A Study In Brown: https://Verve.lnk.to/CBMRStudyInBrown
Purchase George Russell’s New York, N.Y.: https://Verve.lnk.to/GRNewYork
PEGGY LEE – BLACK COFFEE (DECCA)
A star of the golden age of ‘40s big bands, especially for her two years under the leadership of Benny Goodman, Peggy Lee broke onto the recording scene as a solo act with several short-form discs (78s and 10-inch LPs) with Capitol Records. In 1952, as she was garnering fame for her role in the remake of Al Jolson’s 1927 musical, “The Jazz Singer,” she left Capitol to join Decca Records, enticed by producer Milt Gabler’s promise that she could record anything she wanted.
Her first offering for Decca was 1953’s Black Coffee, an eight-song 10-inch LP produced by Gabler and recorded across three sessions in April and May of that year with pianist Jimmy Rowles, bassist Max Wayne, drummer Ed Shaughnessy and Pete Candoli on trumpet, famously credited as Cootie Chesterfield as he was under contract for another label. As uDiscover details, “Sipping cognac sweetened with honey in between takes, Lee and her band recreated the intimate vibe of a jazz club performance, putting down eight tracks whose blend of languor and nocturnal reverie helped to cement Lee’s status as a torch-song goddess.”
As a result of the album’s success, Black Coffee was expanded in 1956 with four additional tunes, recorded with a new ensemble that included guitarist Bill Pitman, bassist Buddy Clark, pianist Lou Levy, drummer/vibraphonist Larry Bunker and harpist Stella Castellucci.
Lee opens the LP with a sumptuous rendition of the title song written by Paul Francis and Sonny Burke that Sarah Vaughan put on the map in 1949. Her smooth, aching vocals of loneliness are terrifically echoed by Candoli’s muted trumpet. Lee and the quartet deliver exquisite, upbeat renderings of two Cole Porter gems – “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “My Heart Belongs to Daddy,” followed by a
sensual read of the Gershwins’ tune, “It Ain’t Necessarily So” and the slow, ravishing number “Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good for You” which closes out Side One. Side Two is highlighted by Lee’s sublime takes of two Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart standards, “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” and “There’s a Small Hotel,” and the essential torch song, “You’re My Thrill,” which decades later would be hailed by Joni Mitchell as one of her favorites when recorded for her 2000 album, Both Sides Now.
Considered one of the first concept albums ever produced, each song on Black Coffee has to do with love in its many forms, with Lee threading together the 12 tantalizing tracks into a captivating narrative that results in something much more than just a collection of songs. Lauded as the crowning achievement of her Decca years, 68 years later Black Coffee stands as one of the most acclaimed albums of Lee’s remarkable career.
- Black Coffee
- I’ve Got You Under My Skin
- Easy Living
- My Heart Belongs To Daddy
- It Ain’t Necessarily So
- Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You
- A Woman Alone With The Blues
- I Didn’t Know What Time It Was
- (Ah, The Apple Trees) When The World Was Young
- Love Me Or Leave Me
- You’re My Thrill
- There’s A Small Hotel
GEORGE RUSSELL – NEW YORK, N.Y. (DECCA)
1959 was a seminal year in the history of jazz with a bumper crop of landmark recordings that continue to be championed. A short list of the essentials: Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue, John Coltrane’s Giant Steps, Dave Brubeck’s Time Out, Charles Mingus’s Mingus Ah Um, Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz to Come. While too often overlooked, one of the most forward-looking albums of the year was composer/arranger George Russell’s New York, N.Y., his second of three LPs for Decca Records.
This set of five compositions features innovative big band music from swing to Latin to balladry built on the theoretical concept of modal music. Liner note writer Burt Korall summed up its significance: “New York, N. Y. is important in that a statement of depth and scope is made. Never self-conscious, though often quite impressionistic, it is challenging to the senses, yet has the feeling of emotional completeness.” This LP is a brilliant extended work expressing Russell’s love for his adopted hometown of Manhattan. He not only captured the love and hate, cheer and despair of the city (expressed especially by Jon Hendricks’ poetic commentary as the narrator), but he also shined a spotlight on some of the most promising rising-star jazz artists of the city. For example, he gave ample improvisational space for John Coltrane to blow tenor beauty over the orchestra vamp on Rodgers & Hart’s “Manhattan” and Bill Evans to create innovative piano solos on “East Side Medley” that ties together the standards “Autumn in New York” and “How About You.” Russell’s original “Manhatta-Rico” celebrates the black-Latin diversity embraced by jazz (the leader plays chromatic drums on the piece), and the party of original voices ends with another Russell composition, “A Helluva Town” that Max Roach takes over from beginning to end with his muscular, rhythmic drumming.
New York., N.Y. is a full-sound, post-bop masterpiece that deserves to come out of the shadows of the other 1959 game changers when Russell was introducing a new harmonic language to the jazz world.
- Big City Blues
- East Side Medley: (a) Autumn In New York (b) How About You
- A Helluva Town
SARAH VAUGHAN – SARAH VAUGHAN (EmArcy)
Known fondly by her nicknames Sassy and the Divine One, Sarah Vaughan sang her way into the jazz echelons with grace, class and swinging assurance. At the height of her career, she signed to EmArcy for several recordings highlighted by the self-titled Sarah Vaughan, which featured the dynamic trumpeter Clifford Brown on their one and only collaboration. Exceedingly inspired by the session, Vaughan considered this recording her favorite LP throughout much of her career. In 1999, Sarah Vaughan was inducted into the GRAMMY® Hall of Fame (10 years earlier she received the GRAMMY® Lifetime Achievement Award, the same year she was named an NEA Jazz Master).
On Sarah Vaughan, recorded when she was 30 in December 1954 and released the next year, she sings into the heart of the nine-song session of standards including “Lullaby of Birdland,” “April in Paris,” and “Embraceable You” with beauty and soul and swing. Joining her on this joyride are Brown, tenor saxophonist Paul Quinichette, flutist Herbie Mann and the rhythm section of Jimmy Jones on piano, Joe Benjamin on bass and the young Roy Haynes on drums. The lovely vocals by Vaughan have been described as blessed and incredible, making the album at the time of its original release, her career zenith. Brown provides powerful support throughout, particularly on the ballad “Jim,” where he compassionately solos into the spotlight.
- Lullaby Of Birdland
- April In Paris
- He’s My Guy
- You’re Not The Kind
- Embraceable You
- I’m Glad There Is You
- September Song
- It’s Crazy
CLIFFORD BROWN & MAX ROACH – A STUDY IN BROWN (EmArcy)
Like Sarah Vaughan, Clifford Brown linked up with EmArcy to record some of the greatest albums in his too-short career. In the case of 1955’s Study in Brown, the virtuoso co-leads the quintet with drummer Max Roach with whom he had previously recorded the well-received EmArcy albums Brown & Roach, Inc. and Clifford Brown with Strings. The Study in Brown liner note writer said at the time that this “new set of performances…is an event of major importance in jazz circles.” Indeed, this session is engaging from the get-go with a rousing take on Ray Noble’s gem “Cherokee” (with Brown’s most brilliant trumpet exhilarations) opening the sessions and ending with a creative spin on Billy Strayhorn’s “Take the A Train.”
Bold and fast, Brown leads the way, but what’s remarkable is how he and Roach lead the band to form a complete and formidable modern jazz unit without an overflow of ego. Listen to the unison lines of Brown and tenor saxophonist Harold Land on the latter’s melodic mid-tempo swinger, the relaxed “Lands End,” which became a jazz standard. Then there’s Roach’s percussive backbeat on Brown’s “George’s Dilemma,” which the drummer described as “a romance between Afro-Cuban and jazz rhythms.” With a warm and round sound, Brown sails above the beat with a sublime transcendence. A highlight is Brown’s soon-to-be standard “Sandu,” with its bluesy swing set into motion by the trumpeter’s lyrical touch and featuring Roach’s solo force. The finale is Strayhorn’s gem that follows the real A train route from its beginning, spiritedly swinging along the ride with saxophone glee and pianist Richie Powell’s sparkling fuel.
Study in Brown is just that—a masterclass on what made Brown such an exciting hard bop trumpeter who was ready for speed, beauty and soul in collaboration with his close collaborative friend Max Roach. Tragically, just a year later on June 26, 1956, Brown and Powell were killed in a car accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The 25-year-old trumpeter, as evidenced on Study in Brown was just getting ready to launch into the jazz stratosphere.
- Lands End
- George’s Dilemma
- Gerkin For Perkin
- If I Love Again
- Take The A Train
Now these albums are available to be heard better than ever as part of the exciting audiophile Acoustic Sounds series.