The treasure trove of MPS Records album reissues that began last month from Germany’s first jazz label continued last Friday with vinyl and CD releases of albums by such luminaries as Ella Fitzgerald, Freddie Hubbard, George Duke, Oscar Peterson Trio and Baden Powell while albums by Bill Evans and Joe Henderson dropped as limited-edition colored vinyl LPs. The records arrived via Edel Germany in partnership with Bob Frank Entertainment.
Reissued in June as limited-edition color vinyl LPs exclusively through Vinyl Me, Please, Fitzgerald’s “Sunshine Of Your Love” and Hubbard’s “The Hub of Hubbard” are now available on traditional black vinyl and CD.
Known as the Queen of Jazz, Fitzgerald challenged herself by electing to sing an album of rock and pop classics by such artists as Eric Clapton, the Beatles, and Burt Bacharach along with a few standards. Half of “Sunshine Of Your Love” (1969) was recorded live using a big band while the other half features Fitzgerald’s longtime accompanists, the Tommy Flanagan Trio.
While on a European tour in 1969 with his world-class quintet, Hubbard trekked to the German Black Forest to record “The Hub of Hubbard” for MPS. The trumpeter had already forged a unique sound that mixed hard bop, soul and fusion. Hubbard and the band, which features saxophonist Eddie Daniels, pianist Roland Hanna and a taut rhythm section formed by bassist Richard Davisand drummer Louis Hayes, stretch out on the four-song set that includes a 13-minute exploration of the standard “Without A Song.”
A pair of jazz-fusion albums by Duke, “Feel” and “I Love the Blues, She Heard My Cry,” were reissued on vinyl and CD. When “Feel” was released in 1975, it came at a transitional time when Duke was establishing himself as a solo artist after being a noted sideman. Mixing fusion and rock, the keyboardist exhibits experimental use of synthesizers to create orchestral textures on the disc that includes appearances from frequent collaborator Frank Zappa and a Brazilian jazz expedition alongside iconic vocalist Flora Purim and percussionist Airto Moreira.
On “I Love the Blues, She Heard My Cry” (1976), Duke diversifies his blend of fusion further while singing frequently throughout the record. He packs a punch on metal/hard rock tracks mashed up with funk, soul and blues. With the rhythm section anchored by longtime collaborator Ndugu Chancler on drums, among the guitarists who shred on the record are Lee Ritenour and George Johnson (Brothers Johnson). Purim and Moreira reappear to provide Brazilian nuances.
Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson leads an astute trio completed by bassist Georg Mraz and drummer Ray Price on a set list that includes some of Peterson’s original compositions along with pages from the Great American Songbook on 1970’s “Walking The Line.” The vinyl and CD reissues capture the threesome reimagining timeless tunes by Cole Porter, Michel Legrand, Sammy Cahn, Richard Rodgers and Johnny Mercer.
Powell began his nine-year association with MPS with 1966’s “Tristeza on Guitar,” and despite the title, it is far from a sad-themed outing. Deploying sambas and Afro-Brazilian rhythms, the Brazilian guitar master runs the gamut of emotion - from intimacy and mystery to celebration and exuberance - on the reissued vinyl LP and CD.
Released as a limited-edition orange vinyl LP, Evan’s “Symbiosis” is an adventurous outing by the legendary jazz pianist who typically performed in trio settings. This 1974 album is a rare treat, pairing Evans with a philharmonic conducted by prolific composer-arranger Claus Ogerman. Whether on acoustic or electric piano, Evans’ lyrical play guides listeners through sprawling expanses ranging from big band grandiosity to minimalism, from exotic samba to jazz, and from lavish string arrangements to dramatic film music.
Henderson’s “Mirror Mirror” garnered reissue as a limited green vinyl LP. The GRAMMY-winning tenor saxophone titan surrounds himself with greatness on this all-star 1980 recording that could have been attributed to a quartet since the musicians – pianist Chick Corea, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Billy Higgins - share the spotlight equitably.
For more information and to see what else is coming soon from MPS, please visit https://www.mps-music.com.