Monday, March 10, 2014

60 Years of Delmark Jazz Celebrated.

Since Bob Koester founded Delmar Records in St. Louis in 1953, Delmark Records has issued many important jazz recordings and over the years has built a catalog ranging from traditional New Orleans and Chicago style jazz to the first albums by members of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. It continues to produce new recordings that cover the entire range of jazz styles. Celebrating its 60 years, Delmark has issued a new compilation Delmark 60 Years Of Jazz that provides a small sampling of the jazz that is available on the label.

The twelve selections cannot convey the full range of jazz that Delmark has issued, but includes selections that range from the modernism of Josh Berman & His Gang reinventing the Austin Hill Gang twenties classic Sugar, as if it was an out-take from Eric Dolphy’s Out To Lunch, to The Fat Babies’ traditionalist revival of Fletcher Henderson’s The Stampede, from this ensemble’s most recent Delmark effort.

The earliest selection here is a 1952 rendition of the trad jazz warhorse, That’s a Plenty by St. Louis trumpeter Dewey Jackson and followed by a bouncy original by the marvelous flautist Nicole Mitchell. An early Lockjaw Davis rendition of Lover from a forthcoming “Honkers and Shouters - Volume 4” is followed by Ernest Dawkins’ straight ahead take on Coltrane’s tribute to Paul Chambers Mr. P.C., and Ira Sullivan backed by the Jim Holman Trio on Benny Golson's Along Came Betty.

Free bop can be heard on Rob Mazurek’s Spiral Mercury, Kahil El Zabar’s Ritual Trio on Crumb-Puck-U-Lent, with saxophonist Ari Brown and the late violinist Billy Bang, and Jason Adasiewicz’s vibes led trio on Bees. Other tracks include a strong Red Holloway track with organist Chris Foreman and the great Sonny Stitt tearing into Miles Davis’ Four with Don Patterson on organ and Billy Pierce on drums.

There is a nice balance of recent and older recordings and the more contemporary styled selections strike me as not being too far out and should be accessible to most listeners. For those familiar with Delmark’s blues recordings, this and other samplers may be a way to get introduced to the diverse offerings available.

I received a review copy from Delmark who have a companion sampler relating to Blues that I will post about in a few days. Here is
Kahil El Zabar’s Ritual Trio featuring Billing Bang

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