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Joe Castro Box Set on Sunnyside

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Sunnyside Releases Recordings from
the Archives of Joe Castro (Nov. 20th)!


 016728139120
 

It is the chance events that occur over a lifetime that make life worth living. For some, the choice to pursue certain paths leads them on unpredictable journeys. Sometimes these paths are incredible.
 
Pianist, bandleader and composer Joseph Armand Castro led an extraordinary life. He was a son of first generation Mexican-Americans, born in an Arizona mining town, who happened to be raised in surroundings where jazz music became his greatest inspiration, the highly trafficked Bay Area of California. As a teenager, Castro was able to learn the rudiments of the genre from attending many concerts, jamming regularly, and constant practice.
 
Against the odds, Castro was able to co-lead a successful combo - 3 Bees and a Queen - that played a mixture of jazz and popular tunes. It was on the group’s first tour of Hawaii that Castro met and subsequently fell in love with the richest woman in the world, Doris Duke.
 
Castro and Duke’s romantic relationship had its ups and downs, but it provided many opportunities that the pianist wouldn’t have been able to gain on his own, though there were some disadvantages, like Castro being constantly underrated, envied and thought to have everything and, therefore, in need of nothing. Castro was able to travel the world, lived in wonderful homes that were furnished with performance spaces where he and his musician friends would jam and record and, finally, Duke financed a recording label put under Castro’s control, Clover Records.
 
The legacy of Joe Castro was passed down in hours of invaluable recordings of interviews and his music, including jam sessions with some of the leading musicians of his generation and long lost, never released recordings from Clover. Sunnyside Records has collaborated with the Castro estate to have the musical recordings mastered and compiled for release on the new boxset Lush Life – A Musical Journey.
 
The recordings provide an intriguing view of Castro’s eclectic musical world and that of the musicians he befriended along the way. Listeners will hear the tremendous contributions of legendary musicians, like Stan Getz, Chico Hamilton, Teddy Edwards, Zoot Sims, Oscar Pettiford, Lucky Thompson, Leroy Vinnegar, Paul Motian and Billy Higgins.
 
There are recordings of casual jam sessions that were held at either of Doris Duke’s residences, Falcon Lair in Beverly Hills, California or Duke Farms in New Jersey. There are also studio sessions from small groups and large ensembles led by Castro and Teddy Edwards that were initially recorded for release on Clover.
 
The project was taken on under the lead of Castro himself from his Nevada home. After he passed in 2009, researcher Daniel Richard and Castro’s son James worked closely together to find photos, gather reminiscences and mix the audio material, mostly left on analog tape. Further in depth research by Richard at Duke Libraries at Duke University and regular trips to New York and Nevada have uncovered a remarkable treasure trove of unique and unheard material, most presented here for the first time.
 
This box set is Sunnyside’s initial release of material from Joe Castro’s discography. Included are six discs of diverse musical settings from different periods in Castro’s life. There will be subsequent releases with more gems from his catalog to look forward to. There is also an interactive website that contains a full biography and discography, expertly researched by Daniel Richard and James Castro. It can be found at www.joecastrojazz.com.
 
Disc 1: Joe Castro’s Jam Sessions: Abstract Candy – Jam sessions recorded at Duke’s Falcon Lair home which feature trumpeter John Anderson, woodwind expert Buddy Collette, drummer Chico Hamilton and bassists Buddy Woodson and Bob Bertaux.
 
Disc 2: Joe Castro’s Friends: Falcon Blues – Teddy Wilson’s Jam Sessions – Three sessions, two from July 1955 and one from January 1956 at Falcon Lair, that feature the great Teddy Wilson on piano and feature saxophonists Stan Getz and Zoot Sims.
 
Disc 3: Joe Castro’s Jam Sessions: Just Joe – Two sessions from February 1956 provide a look at Castro’s own playing with the illustrious lineup of trombonist Sonny Truitt, saxophonists Zoot Sims and Lucky Thompson, bassist Oscar Pettiford and drummer Ron Jefferson.
 
Disc 4: Joe Castro: Feeling the Blues – The Quartet Sessions – Castro leads his tremendous working quartet of saxophonist Teddy Edwards, bassist Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Billy Higgins at Falcon Lair in January 1959.
 
Disc 5: Joe Castro Big Band – Reflection – Initially recorded for Castro’s own Clover label but never released, the Joe Castro Big Band’s music was the leader’s most ambitious project. The Band performs pieces by Castro and friends Leroy Vinnegar and Teddy Edwards with aplomb and features some of the West Coast’s most legendary musicians, including Al Porcino, Conte Candoli, Frank Rosolino, Bob Cooper and Stan Levey.
 
Disc 6: Teddy Edwards Tentet – Angel City – Another project that went unreleased on Clover sees the great saxophonist Teddy Edwards leading his own midsized ensemble of Los Angeles based greats.

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Details on the Castro website:

http://www.joecastrojazz.com/discography

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I'm sorry but all I can say is HOLY FUCKING SHIT.

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the pic currently on amazon's website:

919DAPKRKjL._SL1500_.jpg

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Wonder if this, previously released on Pablo, will be on it; recorded April 1, 1956:

 

51PF4S9V3HL.jpg

Edited by mjzee
Punctuation

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Yes the discography linked above shows it's the Pablo release.  And there are two tracks on the Teddy Edwards quartet disc that were on a Metro Jazz LP that I've had for many years.  The rest seems to be all new (and I don't own the Pablo so it's new to me).  And I expect to do a pre-order for the first time in my life.

That Big Band track here

http://sunnysidezone.com/album/joe-castro-lush-life-a-musical-journey

sounds really good to these ears.

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Looks very interesting indeed ....

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Wonder if this, previously released on Pablo, will be on it; recorded April 1, 1956:

 

51PF4S9V3HL.jpg

Yes the discography linked above shows it's the Pablo release.  And there are two tracks on the Teddy Edwards quartet disc that were on a Metro Jazz LP that I've had for many years.  The rest seems to be all new (and I don't own the Pablo so it's new to me).  And I expect to do a pre-order for the first time in my life.

That Big Band track here

http://sunnysidezone.com/album/joe-castro-lush-life-a-musical-journey

sounds really good to these ears.

I would assume no, as that discography seems to aim at a complete Joe Castro discography, not merely a listing of what's in the box.

Disc three is the one that could contain it, but it seems to be quite full with other recordings.

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Ah, of course you are correct.  My bad.

Looks like the only problem I am going to have with this set is the  inclusion of false starts and break downs.  I'd go for the Band Camp FLAC download option so I can burn the meat and skip the gristle but the physical set looks really nice with informative liners and photos.

So I guess I'll do both.

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Good heavens ...very tempting, indeed ....

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The postage to Germany when pre-ordering ist $ 18 - I'll rather wait until amazon.de sellers offer this. It already has a product page, but no availabilty date.

Listened to all of the streaming samples on the Sunnyside website - nice music. The big band an tentet tracks do it the most, for me. 

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Yup, will wait as well - but definitely will buy this!

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Always happy to know there is more Lucky Thompson to be heard.

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I found that Castro CD with Zoot on alto to be disappointing, and I'm a great admirer of Zoot on alto from that period (which admittedly is the only period when he played alto). Don't recall exactly why it fell flat for me, but I think it was that Zoot himself seemed rather unfocused and also was too far back in the mix.

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1) in that pic above, isn't Zoot holding an alto? Or are my eyes playing tricks?

2) that Getz solo on Someone to Watch over Me may be the first Stan Getz solo I have ever really liked; thought it was Richie Kamuca at first.

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Yes Allen, on that Pablo cd Zoot plays alto.

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1) in that pic above, isn't Zoot holding an alto? Or are my eyes playing tricks?

2) that Getz solo on Someone to Watch over Me may be the first Stan Getz solo I have ever really liked; thought it was Richie Kamuca at first.

The first Getz solo you ever really liked? Geez.

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Well there is like, like-like, and really like.

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yeah, and I like that Zoot disc just fine - not really like, I guess ;)

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this is nice!!!  - mostly unreleased Castro but the bonus for me is the involvement of Teddy Edwards & Lucky Thompson

probably going to be one of "the" reissues of the year

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sorry  Larry, I just do not like Getz and  have never been able to listen to him; his was one of the first LPs I ever owned; I am convinced now, though I had no idea at the time (hey I was only 14) that he was a sociopathic narcissist (got my degree from Phoenix U); and I truly think his playing reflects that very directly.

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I would assume no, as that discography seems to aim at a complete Joe Castro discography, not merely a listing of what's in the box.

it's not a complete Castro discography actually (which would include his two Atlantic albums, as well as his album called "Lush Life" which appeared on Clover records but does not seem to have any overlap with this release) but rather a complete listing of the sessions related to this box - making clear what was left off, and what appeared earlier on Metrojazz and the Sims CD (ie making clear there is no overlap with the latter two releases - everything appears to be new except for two tracks from the Big Band album which appeared as a promo single at the time)

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sorry  Larry, I just do not like Getz and  have never been able to listen to him; his was one of the first LPs I ever owned; I am convinced now, though I had no idea at the time (hey I was only 14) that he was a sociopathic narcissist (got my degree from Phoenix U); and I truly think his playing reflects that very directly.

Here is some of the most relaxed Getz I know, from the 1957 album “The Soft Swing.” This was the Getz album that converted the previously averse Martin Williams. IIRC Martin said in his DB review that he played some tracks from it for a musician, whose response was “It sounds like Zoot.”

 

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSYtbqYtk5Q

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4CJ-yPTqSU

 

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Does Anthony Ortega solo on any of those big band pieces?

Larry, thanks - never heard this Getz LP before.

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