Jump to content

Milestone Celebrates 40th Anniversary


Recommended Posts

from a press release I just got:

Concord/Fantasy Celebrates Milestone Records’ 40th Anniversary

In celebration of Milestone Records’ 40th Anniversary, Concord/Fantasy proudly announces the release of retrospective collections by five of the venerable label’s most extraordinary artists – Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner, Joe Henderson, Jimmy Smith and Jimmy Scott.

When legendary producer Orrin Keepnews founded Milestone in 1966 – with the assistance of pianist/producer Dick Katz – the fledgling label valiantly forged against the currents of a rapidly changing environment that threatened the very existence of straight-ahead progressive acoustic jazz. In the late sixties, the rapidly growing influence of progressive rock as an art form, coupled with Miles Davis’ bold explorations into electric music signaled hard times ahead for those artists who were committed to the pure jazz tradition. Previously hardcore jazz labels like Blue Note, Impulse and Verve abandoned their founders’ ideals and attempted to follow the trend into the commercial mainstream. Milestone provided a fertile haven for those seriously committed artists who refused to surrender to the trend.

By 1972, when it joined the Fantasy group of labels, Milestone boasted a roster that included a good number of Jazz’ most formidable talents, including Tyner, Rollins and Henderson, along with veteran altoist Lee Konitz and upstart reedman Gary Bartz. For 40 years Milestone has continued to mine the richly diverse veins of the Jazz tradition with artists like Smith, Scott, Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette, Hank Crawford, Flora Purim and Jerry Gonzalez’ Fort Apache Band.

The five single-disc retrospective includes some of the music’s finest and most renowned musicians accompanying the five master artists who are featured in this release.

Sonny Rollins’ 35+ year relationship with Milestone is spanned in its entirety with Skylark from his first Milestone album, Sonny Rollins’ Next Album, and Why Was I Born? from his 2006 Grammy Award-winning Without A Song. The remainder of the collection contains the tenor sax titan’s familiar tradition of combining brilliant originals (Biji, Global Warming, Duke of Iron) with an eclectic array of standards (Tennessee Waltz, Autumn Nocturne, Where or When and The Moon of Manakoora). Sidemen include pianists Tommy Flanagan and Stephen Scott; drummers Jack DeJohnette, Tony Williams, Al Foster, Kimati Dinizulu; and his current group of trombonist Clifton Anderson, drummer Perry Wilson and longtime bassist Bob Cranshaw.

McCoy Tyner’s extremely prolific output is well represented with selections from nine different albums. The line-up of sidemen is a virtual who’s who of progressive Jazz, including reedmen Sonny Fortune, Gary Bartz, John Stubblefield, Frank Foster, Benny Maupin and Ricky Ford; brass players Freddie Hubbard, Slide Hampton and Oscar Brashear; flautist Hubert Laws; vibist Bobby Hutcherson; bassists Ron Carter, Stanley Clarke and Buster Williams; drummers Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, DeJohnette and Billy Hart; and percussionists Airto, Mtume, Bill Summers and Guilherme Franco. The piano giant’s expansive musical vision is on full display from solo piano on Naima, the deeply moving tribute to his mentor John Coltrane, to large-scale ensembles on the string-driven Song of the New World and the nine-horn Search For Peace. Three-horn ensembles are featured on Sama Layuca and One of Another Kind; powerful quartets deliver Ebony Queen and Enlightenment Suite, Part 1: Genesis; and the trio format offers The Greeting and another Trane staple, Impressions.

All nine Joe Henderson albums are mined for his collection, which provides some tastes of Joe’s soprano sax and flute stylings along with his muscular tenor sax. Live dates from Tokyo and L.A.’s landmark Lighthouse respectively provide Out ‘n’ In and the Kenny Dorham classic, Blue Bossa. A 5-piece rhythm section fuels Black Is The Color (Of My True Love’s Mind), while the more traditional 3-horn sextet is featured on No Me Esqueça and the funky groove of Mamacita. Large ensembles of multiple horns and extended rhythm drive Gazelle and Canyon Lady. The Bead Game and Black Narcissus employ piano, bass and drums. The stellar array of sidemen includes trombonists Julian Priester, Curtis Fuller and Grachan Moncur III; trumpeters Woody Shaw, Oscar Brashear and Snooky Young; pianists Herbie Hancock, Kenny Barron, George Duke, George Cables and Don Friedman; bassists Ron Carter, Dave Holland and Stanley Clarke; and drummers Louis Hayes, Lenny White and DeJohnette.

Jimmy Smith’s short, but highly productive stint at Milestone produced two studio dates and three live recordings, all represented in this collection. The renowned West Coast arranger Johnny Pate produced, arranged and conducted the six-horn and rhythm ensemble (including legendary reedman Buddy Collette and guitar hero Phil Upchurch) on ‘Round the Corner and the title cut from Sum Serious Blues. Upchurch also plays on the leaner Here Comes C.T. from the Prime Time album. From that same recording comes the timeless Ellington rollicker, C Jam Blues. The electric-powered tenor sax of Eddie Harris is featured on a revisit to Smith’s Blue Note hit The Sermon, recorded live at the Keystone Korner (from All The Way Live). The Blue Note days are further recalled by the reunion of Jimmy with the soulful tandem of tenorman Stanley Turrentine and guitarist Kenny Burrell, along with master drummer Grady Tate, on Midnight Special, Back at the Chicken Shack and Summertime – all recorded at New York City’s Fat Tuesday’s (from Fourmost and Fourmost Return).

Balladeer Jimmy Scott’s collection is a change of pace. Not only is he the only vocalist and a Milestone artist only for two years (2000-01), but he emerged from relative obscurity to a personal renaissance with the four Milestone albums covered by this collection. A model of tenacity, dedication and perseverance, Jimmy Scott has consistently turned adversity into triumph. A rare hormonal deficiency that caused his uniquely high-pitched voice transformed into one of the most sensitive and expressive instruments in Jazz vocal history. Lovingly produced by Todd Barkan, these recordings enfold Jimmy’s distinctive voice with the highly empathetic support of a remarkable group of musicians, including saxophonists David ‘Fathead’ Newman, Hank Crawford and Eric Alexander; pianists Cyrus Chestnut, Renee Rosnes and Larry Willis; guitarist Joe Beck; bassist George Mraz; and drummers Grady Tate and Lewis Nash. The arrangements are by Scott, Tate, Beck, Barkan and Robert Sadim, and cover 11 popular songs from The Great American Songbook – Smile, Moonglow, Mood Indigo, Without a Song, Darn That Dream, You Don’t Know What Love Is, Strange Fruit, Pennies From Heaven, How Long Has This Been Going On, If I Should Lose You, and Please Send Me Someone To Love.

The original dates were mostly produced by Orrin Keepnews and the compilations were assembled by Nick Phillips, Vice President, Jazz and Catalog A&R for the Concord Music Group, which acquired Milestone in 2004. Each collection also contains a bonus disc featuring an additional track from each of the five artists, along with one additional selection each by Flora Purim, Jim Hall & Ron Carter, and Hank Crawford & Jimmy McGriff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...