Verve By Request Series Resurrected with Vinyl Twist

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​Verve By Request albums will be newly remastered from original analog sources, when available, and pressed on audiophile-quality 180-gram vinyl.

(Photo: Verve/Third Man Records)

Verve Records/UMe and Third Man Records have partnered to resurrect the popular reissue series Verve By Request, with a vinyl twist. Focusing on rare gems and fan-requested jazz albums from the Verve Label Group’s stable of iconic labels, the series will offer two titles per month — each hand-picked by Verve and Third Man Records. The records will include long-out-of-print titles from the vault as well as the first-ever vinyl pressings for albums released in the ’90s and aughts that were only originally released on CD.

Albums will be newly remastered from original analog sources, when available, and pressed on audiophile-quality 180-gram vinyl at Third Man Pressing in Detroit. Each month, a limited Third Man Edition yellow color variant of each LP will also be available exclusively via Third Man Records and uDiscoverMusic. Each of the Third Man Editions will come in a limited edition, two-color, screen-printed jacket on archival French cover stock, custom printed and assembled in Detroit. The series launches on Nov. 11 with a nod to Third Man’s birthplace with two of Detroit’s finest: Alice Coltrane’s Ptah, The El Daoud (1970) and Roy Brooks’ long out-of-print Beat (1964).

Recorded at Motown’s legendary Hitsville USA studio for Workshop Jazz (Berry Gordy’s short-lived jazz imprint), Beat marks Roy Brooks’ debut as a leader and finds the innovative drummer fusing his hard-bop roots with a Motor City soul-jazz groove. Brooks, who served as a sideman for Horace Silver, Yusef Lateef and Chet Baker, is joined by fellow Detroit natives George Bohannon (trombone) and Hugh Lawson (piano), along with former Horace Silver Quintet bandmates Blue Mitchell (trumpet), Junior Cook (tenor saxophone) and Eugene Taylor (bass). They deliver a high-energy set that features tracks written by Brooks, Joe Henderson and Duke Pearson. Notably, the track “Soulsphere” was composed by Alice McLeod (erroneously credited as “McCloud” on the sleeve), who would blaze a new musical path a few years later as the incomparable Alice Coltrane. Beat is the first official reissue of any Workshop Jazz album.

Following the death of her husband John Coltrane in 1967, Alice Coltrane continued to forward the musical and spiritual version they set out on together and started to release records on her own as composer and bandleader. The hypnotic Ptah, The El Daoud was the fourth album to bear the pianist and harpist’s name released between 1968 and 1970, which also included her joint album Cosmic Music, partially recorded with John a year before his death. Recorded in the Coltrane home studio in 1970 and released later that year on Impulse!, Ptah, The El Daoud features an all-star lineup on four compositions, including Pharoah Sanders and Joe Henderson (both on tenor saxophone and alto flute). A masterpiece of spiritual jazz, the album’s title track is an ode to the Egyptian god Ptah (the El Daoud meaning “the beloved”), while many moments on the record can best be described by the Hindu word “Turiya,” which Coltrane defines in the liner notes as “a state of consciousness – the high state of Nirvana, the goal of human life.”

The releases continue on Dec. 9 with Chicken Fat, the 1967 Impulse! debut by blues guitarist Mel Brown. Brown’s clean picking style – honed while playing alongside John Lee Hooker, Bobby Bland and T-Bone Walker – marinates deliciously with the swinging soul-jazz organ of Gerald Wiggins. Featuring the simmering lament “I’m Goin’ To Jackson,” the electrifying “Greasy Spoon” and the standout title track, Chicken Fat is quite possibly the funkiest and most unique album ever released on the label.

Also available in December is James Brown’s Soul On Top. Originally released in 1970 via King Records, the album was a dream project for the godfather of soul, who is provided the full treatment with an 18-piece big band led by drummer Louie Bellson and arranged by Impulse! star Oliver Nelson. Joined by his soul consigliere, saxophonist Maceo Parker, Brown offers up a swinging set of jazz and pop standards while revisiting several of his classic hits, including “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” and “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag.” This reissue features a new mix of the original album by Christian McBride and UMe A&R Vice President Harry Weinger.

Future Verve By Request titles will include vinyl debuts of Wayne Shorter’s Footprints Live! (2002) and Herbie Hancock’s The New Standard (1996), plus reissues from Pharoah Sanders, Ahmad Jamal, Archie Shepp, Sun Ra and others. DB



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February 2023
Lakecia Benjamin
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