vendredi 15 janvier 2010
Blue Note Sugar
Without doubt one of the most essential jazz reppin’ independents of recent years has been the Paris based Heavenly Sweetness label and they continue their dedication to re-issue artistry by announcing an epic schedule for the year ahead. Their 09/10 release slate will see no less than 24 long gone Blue Note albums hit record stores once again for the first time since their original release, with the first wave of high quality 180g vinyls and their painstakingly duplicated original artwork already in some finer record stores just in time for Christmas. Watch now for Herbie Hancock’s - Inventions And Dimensions, Andrew Hill’s - Lift Every Voice, Duke Pearson’s - Wahoo!, Art Taylor’s - A.T.’s Delight, Bobby Hutcherson’s - Now! and Grachan Moncur III’s - Evolution…Nice!
I guess like many, my initial thoughts were “How?”, luckily Franck Descollonges from the label took some time out to give us the scoop on the project and how it came about. Franck a previous EMI (owners of the Blue Note rights) employee picks up on the project’s out the blue conception. “I had a call from an old EMI friend who had also left the company. He knew that I had set up a jazz label and he asked me the strange question…”Would you be interested in re-issuing some Blue Note LPs?” Obviously you can imagine my enthusiastic answer, however I had some real doubts about the chances of it’s success”.
Anything but simple the planning stages of the schedule would take over a year to pull together, so “patience and motivation” where pivotal watchwords in bringing it all together. Franck also cites in no small part Nicolas Plug’s (Boss at Blue Note France) contribution to the projects completion. “Nicolas helped us a lot. He really supported our project, even organising a meeting with Bruce Landval and Michael Cuscuna the bosses of Blue Note who are such a legends. We were really impressed!”
However, a great impression was obviously something mutually felt as access to the Blue Note catalogs hallowed vaults was soon offered “I think that our enthusiasm and our devotion to jazz seduced the jazz lovers. Surely our situation making them remember their own debut in the business…So, maybe this is a story about music lovers.” Once the legal paperwork was drawn up and the green light given the two jazz obsessors at Heavenly Sweetness now had the mind boggling task of selecting what to re-issue.
Once their initial list frenzy had dissipated a much clearer vision emerged, “We really wanted to avoid Blue Note classics (many of which have been re-issued), so we tried to focus on unknown or unsung records. We wanted people to discover some of the different (less well known) sounds of Blue Note”. Sticking with their own label ethos “We of course choose some spiritual jazz LPs, but we also tried to pick a large selection highlighting the variety of different styles and periods at Blue Note”.
With the short-list drawn up Antoine (Rajon) and Franck would soon have some serious searching to do as “Blue Note had all the masters, but had lost much of the artwork for the covers. So we had to find the original LPs in perfect condition [allowing us] to have the best result possible”…No mean feat for some of these titles! Luckily Heavenly Sweetness’ friend and photographer Fred Thomas would prove instrumental in find obtaining some of the illusive artwork. “Fred is a huge fan of Blue Note so it was a dream for him to work on this. He amazingly actually had some of the records and pulled in a few lps from other friends. He did the high resolution scans and spent hours clearing up those covers. Without his help nothing would have been possible!”. Franck proclaims “Blue Note Love”.
Next up the contentious audiophile vs purist debate “to keep it analogue or digitally remaster?”. “We chose to speak with many Blue Note fans, record dealers and audiophiles before deciding to have the perfect sound, we must use only analog sounds, no digits or remastering. “So, we ask Blue Note for copies of the original master tapes and they send us 1/4inch master tapes which where so old and full of dust it was impossible to do a lacquer!” After much fretting a solution was found “when we asked Capitol Studios to do new copy of the master tapes. At last the sound was great!”
There is no hesitation when I ask Franck to pick a favourite from the first six albums “My favourite is Bobby Hutcherson’s ‘Now’. What an atmosphere in this album, everything from the music, to the voices, the melodies has a strong vibe; maybe it’s due to the Eugene McDaniel’s presence!”. Looking for a surprise package in this first wave “It has to be the Art Taylor lp, pure Blue Note 60’s sound, just listen to the cover of Coltrane ‘Syeeda Song Flute’!”.
So, for jazz fans old and new this is nothing less than spectacular news and thanks to Antoine & Franck means your 2010 is guaranteed to be dusted in sweet Blue Note sugar!
Source : www.shock.fm