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Dave Garrett

Don Was on Blue Note - Forbes interview

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BellThe label still puts out a significant number of reissues each year, correct?

Was: Yeah. The last couple of years have been less, so we’re going to use the 80th anniversary to set up an extensive reissue campaign that will last for years.

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What is this going to be I wonder? More of the same reissues many of us have many tiimes over or much of  the 80's and 90's catalog via digitally? Wasn't there a plan to reissue titles as CD's in those Grundman masters that had previously been RVG's, Conn's, McMasters??  I stopped with the BN upgrade game last reissue I replaced was "Point of Departure" to get rid of the awful RVG, but I wonder what they are gonna do.

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Seems the focus is on vinyl ("very big vinyl campaign"), not on CDs. Fine with me. I am curious as well, which titles they are going to select.

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I wonder if Tony Williams "Tokyo Live" will be a title.  As I said years back I was able to obtain a copy, but I still feel the album is that band's best work and more people should hear it, especially for newer fans exploring his late period acoustic work.  I don't do vinyl for the practicality, because when you only have one hand to use, handling vinyl correctly is very difficult.

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9 hours ago, mjzee said:

BellThe label still puts out a significant number of reissues each year, correct?

Was: Yeah. The last couple of years have been less, so we’re going to use the 80th anniversary to set up an extensive reissue campaign that will last for years.

That was the moment to say something about anything "new" from the vaults, or some earth-shaking plan to offer downloads of unissued material.

So, same old same old and it gets a big pass from me. YMMV.

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9 hours ago, mjzee said:

BellThe label still puts out a significant number of reissues each year, correct?

Was: Yeah. The last couple of years have been less, so we’re going to use the 80th anniversary to set up an extensive reissue campaign that will last for years.

More of the same I suppose. Maybe it will get more people interested in the music. I doubt it but you can always hope. 

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Oh, good. More reissues of the same reissues many have multiple copies of already. 

No, Mr. Was, you actually HAVE given up on Jazz. 

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Just an observation: the main alternative to repetitive reissues presented in this thread is "stuff recorded a long time ago but still in the vaults", not new music.

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Was: Initially, we thought about doing a magazine with a CD inside. I liked the idea of an exclusive anthology album. When I was first learning about jazz in the mid-’60s, there was an album that Impulse! put out called The New Wave in Jazz that had Coltrane, Archie Shepp, Albert Ayler, and all these guys, and that’s how I found out about them. I knew Coltrane, but that was my first exposure to Shepp and Ayler. There’s also a label out in New York called ESP that does some pretty radical s**t. They put out an ESP-sampler vinyl that you could buy for a $1.99. It didn’t have whole songs, but it had bits of everything from Sun Ra to William Burroughs to Pharoah Sanders. It was all very extreme music, and that’s how I learned about it.

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23 minutes ago, clifford_thornton said:

Was: Initially, we thought about doing a magazine with a CD inside. I liked the idea of an exclusive anthology album. When I was first learning about jazz in the mid-’60s, there was an album that Impulse! put out called The New Wave in Jazz that had Coltrane, Archie Shepp, Albert Ayler, and all these guys, and that’s how I found out about them. I knew Coltrane, but that was my first exposure to Shepp and Ayler. There’s also a label out in New York called ESP that does some pretty radical s**t. They put out an ESP-sampler vinyl that you could buy for a $1.99. It didn’t have whole songs, but it had bits of everything from Sun Ra to William Burroughs to Pharoah Sanders. It was all very extreme music, and that’s how I learned about it.

I had The ESP Sampler.  It was actually 99 cents.  I bought it at King Karol on 10th Ave. & 42nd St. in Manhattan in 1970, when I also bought Trout Mask Replica and An Evening With Wild Man Fischer.  Those were the days!

R-3497282-1332751206.jpeg.jpg

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Yeah, got that too as well as a couple later samplers that were included with The Levitts and a Billie Holiday record.

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Hell, Pacific Jazz did a bunch of samplers, never mind the classic WB Loss Leaders series.

I still have the BN sampler from the 90s. I like samplers.

 

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The themed samples from the 90s held together very well but none compare to my personal compilation disc, Sidewinder and Sons.

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One of my best friends said to me a while back because we we talking about this same issue with Blue Note, that they are focusing on making pop records.  I think he was talking about people like Benmont Tench (that was a decent album, didn't keep it though) and Aaron Neville on the label and such and maybe the  whole  Glasper thing. I like what Glasper is doing for a different generation of listeners, although I hear so much Herbie in it, I like Terence Blanchard and Ambrose Akinmusire's work on the label too. Maybe in the sense of "jazz" as we know it in the way we love Blue Note maybe it did die I'm not sure. I am sorry to say I feel a bit uncomfortable pronouncing it's "death" as I try to keep an open mind about new jazz out there, especially in what I review.  I am definitely interested in the Nels Cline and Blanchard releases forthcoming.  Do other labels like Rare Noise put out far more compelling music? Sure, especially when it relates to free improv like the release "Rosebud", but that isn't the main issue here.  The issue at hand is Blue Note really committed to jazz as in decades past.  The answer is probably not, but it does exist

I think of it more as we are in the Blue Note hits a new note era again but the music is just a bit better than the UA era.  I've disagreed with another friend of mine for 20 years almost over the Mizell stuff, but I acknowledge now it's not so bad but just not my taste.  The whole "exclusivity" thing with these boutique sets is off putting to me and I didn't spring for it.  What they are doing is gonna alienate people from the music if it's not available any other way.  I enjoy the new Dr. Lonnie Smith album, but its way too short, feels too much like a producer controlled live album in spots and I have a feeling some extended cuts  will only be made for the Blue Note Review sets.  There is definitely something to the sense Mr. Was "gave up on jazz" but at the same time, things like Glasper and Derrick Hodge's IMO are just as valid that and other jazz releases they should be offered as much as these reissues.  I am not sure this audience is the target for what they are doing with reissue after reissue of the same, but if it gets one new person interested, great. 

1 hour ago, JSngry said:

Hell, Pacific Jazz did a bunch of samplers, never mind the classic WB Loss Leaders series.

I still have the BN sampler from the 90s. I like samplers.

 

Yeah I remember the one from 1999, definitely

Edited by CJ Shearn

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We are never going to return to the halcyon days of the Conns and West Coast Classics, that is for sure.

I get the feeling that they are targetting an aspirational ‘gold card’ brigade. Same thing has happened over here at Ronnie Scotts Club. Could be worse though I guess i.e. 1970s.

Edited by sidewinder

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My hope for the 80th anniversary is for BN to issue complete artist box sets, similar to what Sony/Columbia is releasing, but hopefully with the most recent masterings (and at reasonable prices).  I know we've seen recent complete Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock BN boxes, but those were with older masterings.

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If they put out all of those nice Japan-only SHM-CDs domestically, that would raise my interest. Especially if they priced them like the Atlantic 1000 Yen series.

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I have all of the Blue Note recordings - in some form or other - that I need. If they're not going to issue worthwhile new jazz recordings, the label is irrelevant to me.

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11 minutes ago, paul secor said:

I have all of the Blue Note recordings - in some form or other - that I need. If they're not going to issue worthwhile new jazz recordings, the label is irrelevant to me.

Unfortunately, this can said for many of the legacy Jazz labels. They’ve only been treading water by repackaging the same tired material for decades now. I actually applaud Blue Note for taking that chance on Norah Jones all those years ago in an attempt to remain fresh and viable in the market. 

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Just a thought - some of the titles that probably will be reissued went out of print before some people discovered jazz/Blue Note, so these reissueswill be new to them. There is always a market, but not necessarily us.

 

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Will there be another free BN watch with the purchase of 10 titles?

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9 hours ago, Scott Dolan said:

Why not both? 

I didn't articulate well.  I meant to say that (at least prior to my post) the complaints in this thread were entirely about what was being reissued, nobody was complaining about the focus on reissues vs. new music.  "Jazz's corpse - should we burn or bury?"

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