DownBeat Dozen: A Shopper’s Guide To RSD 2020


Miles Davis is among the artists whose LPs will be sold as part of Record Store Day drops. Legacy will release Double Image: Rare Miles From The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions on Oct. 24.

(Photo: Don Hunstein/Sony Music Entertainment)

This year, Record Store Day will be presented as three shopping events on Aug. 29, Sept. 26 and Oct. 24, which organizers have called “drops.” On each date, there will releases that fall into three categories; vinyl titles exclusive to RSD; ultra-rare pressings available in a limited geographic region; and RSD First titles, which initially are sold only at indie retailers and then widely available at a later date.

Below is a guide to a dozen titles that will be available on the three dates. In addition to the artists cited below, shoppers will also be scooping up titles by the Allman Brothers Band, Booker T. & The M.G.’s, Canned Heat & John Lee Hooker, Suzanne Ciani, Brittany Howard, Gary Clark Jr., Dr. John, Bill Evans, Fleetwood Mac, Ellie Goulding, the Grateful Dead and the Tom Tom Club.

Below are titles, sorted by release date.

Aug. 29

Ron Carter, Foursight: Stockholm (In+Out Records)

This release chronicles a 2018 concert by the bassist and DownBeat Hall of Fame inductee in Sweden. Backed by pianist Renee Rosnes, saxophonist Jimmy Greene and drummer Payton Crossley, the program offers a mix of Carter’s compositions as well as a few standards. Limited to 1,999 numbered copies hand-signed by Carter, this is an RSD First title.

Penderecki/Don Cherry & The New Eternal Rhythms, Actions (Our Swimmer)

Recorded live at the Donaueschingen Music Festival on Oct. 17, 1971, this album captures Cherry soon after he had moved to Sweden and started investigating Europe’s free-jazz scene. He collaborates here with Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki, known for his work scoring The Exorcist (1973) and The Shining (1980), and is accompanied by some titans of European jazz, including Peter Brötzmann, Han Bennink, Terje Rypdal, Albert Mangelsdorff and Gunter Hampel. The RSD site describes the outing as incorporating “elements of African rhythms, Turkish folk idioms and Indian classical music.” This reissue is exclusive to RSD, limited to 1,000 copies and is pressed on translucent red vinyl.

Bob James, Once Upon A Time: The Lost 1965 New York Studio Sessions (Resonance)

Featuring previously unavailable recordings from Bob James, captured at Columbia University’s Wollman Auditorium in 1965, this limited edition, 180-gram LP features the pianist performing a mix of jazz standards and original compositions in two different trio settings. One is with bassist Larry Rockwell and drummer Robert (Cleve) Pozar, and the other is with bassist Bill Woods and drummer Omar Clay. The deluxe gatefold set includes an extensive booklet of essays plus new interviews with James and rare photographs. It’s exclusive to RSD in a run of 2,500 copies.

Charlie Parker, Jazz at Midnite (UMe/Blue Note)

Capturing performances recorded live in 1952 and 1953 at the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C., this release presents this material both as a standalone album and on vinyl for the first time. The legendary saxophonist is backed by Max Roach, Charlie Byrd, Zoot Sims and others. Limited to 4,000 copies, this is an RSD First title, pressed on “midnite” blue vinyl, and it includes original liner notes from producer Bill Potts. The package is designed to resemble the aesthetic of a 1950s Blue Note LP.

Sun Ra, Egypt ‘71 (Strut)

Capturing Sun Ra’s December 1971 impromptu trip to Egypt, this five-LP box, limited to 600 copies, features concerts by the eccentric Arkestra leader at Ballon Theatre in Cairo and at German musician Hartmut Geerken’s house in Heliopolis. Some of the material in the box originally came out on three LPs in the ’70s, and it’s compiled here alongside two LPs of previously unreleased recordings, rare photos and extensive new liner notes.

Sept. 26

Charles Mingus, Mingus Ah Um Redux (Get On Down)

This 2,000-copy run presents the classic 1959 album Mingus Ah Um on two LPs available as an RSD First title. The second LP features alternate takes from the album session previously unreleased on vinyl.

Dave Pike, Jazz For The Jet Set (Nature Sounds)

The RSD website describes this reissue of the vibraphonist and marimba player’s 1966 debut for Atlantic Records as “a perfect blend of jazz, Latin, soul and r&b.” Produced by Herbie Mann, the album features Herbie Hancock on organ, Clark Terry on trumpet, Billy Butler on guitar and Grady Tate on drums, among others. This run is limited to 1,000 copies, and it is a “regional focus” release.

Camille Yarbrough, The Iron Pot Cooker (Craft Recordings)

Exclusive to RSD, this is the first-ever vinyl reissue of the difficult-to-classify soul singer’s 1975 album on Vanguard. It features “Take Yo’ Praise,” which Fatboy Slim sampled for his 1999 hit “Praise You.” Speaking to Scottish newspaper The Herald in 1999, Yarbrough said the song “was written for all the people who had come through the Black Civil Rights movement who had stood up for truth and righteousness and justice, because human beings need to praise and respect one another more than they do.” The release boasts all-analog mastering, with 1,500 copies pressed on 180-gram black vinyl.

Oct. 24

Miles Davis, Double Image: Rare Miles From The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions (Legacy)

Fifty years after the release of Bitches Brew, Davis’ pioneering work continues to be explored and re-contextualized. Among the heavy-hitters recruited for the sessions were Wayne Shorter, John McLaughlin, Joe Zawinul, Chick Corea and Larry Young. This double album, exclusive to RSD in a run of 6,000 copies pressed on opaque red vinyl, features 10 recordings from the Bitches Brew sessions never presented together on vinyl before.

Dexter Gordon, The Squirrel (Rhino/Parlophone)

Originally released in 1997, this double-LP reissue of a 1967 live performance by the saxophonist was recorded at the famous Jazzhus Montmartre in Copenhagen, Denmark, by Danmarks Radio. The DownBeat Hall of Fame inductee is backed by Kenny Drew on piano, Bo Stief on bass and Art Taylor on drums. This pressing of 1,500 copies is exclusive to RSD.

J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding, Stonebone (UME)

The RSD website points out that this 1970 album by the two trombonists has not been made available since its initial release in Japan and that an original edition of this LP can sell for upwards of $1,000. Initially, coolly credited to “J & K,” Stonebone was produced by Creed Taylor and sees the two leaders backed by an all-star lineup: George Benson, Herbie Hancock, Bob James, Ron Carter and Grady Tate. It’s made available here on RSD first in a run of 4,000 copies on red vinyl.

Frank Zappa, You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore (UME)

The guitarist and composer’s You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore was initially released in the late ’80s and early ’90s as a series of six volumes, each of them double-disc releases on CD, spanning decades of Zappa’s career. It was a lot to process, even for hardcore fans. When the first volume emerged in 1988, Zappa smartly assembled this 12-song vinyl sampler “to promote the project and provide motivation to embrace the CD series,” according to the RSD site. It’s reissued here as a RSD First release, pressed as a double LP in a run of 5,000 copies. DB

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