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"Strata-East At 50: How a Revolutionary Record Label Put Control In Artists' Hands


ghost of miles
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I've listened to about 3/4 of this Jazz Night In America episode and it's quite good--interviews with Charles Tolliver, Billy Harper, Cecil McBee, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Greg Tate, plus some Strata-East recordings I hadn't heard before.  I've had a Night Lights Strata East show on the drawing board for years, but this one is more wide-reaching than anything I would've been able to put together:

Strata-East At 50: How A Revolutionary Record Label Put Control In Artists' Hands

Edited by ghost of miles
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It's a fair question to ask how much control the artists had once the label went out of business. Some got their masters back, some didn't, and so it goes. And maybe some of the various reissues have been legit.

As far as what got recorded, though, yes, a milestone, and cause for a true and deep celebration.

All things considered, a major, if not long-lasting, milestone.

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Agreed with props for the first few years of their existence.  They did what were, to me, some pretty marginal releases toward the end of the 70's (though some good ones also).    But some of the early releases are just magnificent, even beyond the Tolliver's and "Capra Black".

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11 minutes ago, GA Russell said:

I saw them in the stores, but never heard one. 

I remember picking up a political black-power vibe, maybe from the liner notes or maybe from the cover art.  Was this my imagination, or was there something to that?

It was there for some titles: Billy Harper - Capra Black (though that was a very spiritual as opposed to political foundation), Gil Scott-Heron - Winter In America, Mtume - Alkebu-Lan, the two albums by Juju all come immediately to mind.  It was not there for other titles such as the Charles Tolliver's, the Clifford Jordan's, Shirley Scott, Harold Vick etc.   Again, in many cases, the vibe was more spiritual than political (Descendants of Mike and Phoebe is another example of that).

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Felser's list of Strata East albums most in need of initial CD issue (many others are in need of newer/better CD reissue):

SES 1972-2    Jazz Contemporaries    Reasons in Tonality    
SES 1972-4    Mtume Umoja Ensemble    Alkebu-Lan: Land of the Blacks    
SES 7410    The Cosmic Twins    The Waterbearers    John Lewis, Ron Burton
SES 7416    Keno Duke/Contemporaries    Sense of Values    
SES 7425    Charles Davis    Ingia!    
SES 7431    Harold Vick    Don't Look Back    
SES 19752    The Brass Company    Colors    
SES 19780    John Gordon    Erotica Suite
 

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On 10/12/2021 at 9:15 AM, ghost of miles said:

I've listened to about 3/4 of this Jazz Night In America episode and it's quite good--interviews with Charles Tolliver, Billy Harper, Cecil McBee, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Greg Tate, plus some Strata-East recordings I hadn't heard before.  I've had a Night Lights Strata East show on the drawing board for years, but this one is more wide-reaching than anything I would've been able to put together:

Strata-East At 50: How A Revolutionary Record Label Put Control In Artists' Hands

Cheers, just listened - hadn't previously heard the Billy Parker/Dee Dee Bridgewater track

very familiar with the Tolliver, Harper, Cowell, Jordan material

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  • 1 month later...

I searched "Strata East" here and pulled up this thread, after looking at the list of Strata East vinyl reissues being put out by Pure Pleasure in the UK. I have 3 Charles Tolliver titles in this series and am interested in exploring more.

Felser's list above is helpful; a few of them are among those being reissued by PP.

Anyone here into vinyl should check this series out. They are very nicely done.

 

Edited by riverrat
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9 hours ago, riverrat said:

I searched "Strata East" here and pulled up this thread, after looking at the list of Strata East vinyl reissues being put out by Pure Pleasure in the UK. I have 3 Charles Tolliver titles in this series and am interested in exploring more.

Felser's list above is helpful; a few of them are among those being reissued by PP.

Anyone here into vinyl should check this series out. They are very nicely done.

 

Go immediately to get Billy Harper's 'Capra Black' (but then of course, I would recommend that, given my avatar) and to the Clifford Jordan 'Glass Bead Games'.  Also, the mandatory Tolliver's are the two LIve at Slug's volumes, the Live at Loosdrecht, and the two Music Inc. big band volumes (1971 and 19757).  But there are a lot of wonderful albums on that link.

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Totally agree with felser's call on Capra Black, Glass Bead Games, and the Tollivers.

I would also put Harold Vick's Don't Look Back in that same "essential" category.   (I'd also add Shirley Scott's One for Me -- but that's been reissued by ARC, not Pure Pleasure.)

 

Edited by HutchFan
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1 minute ago, HutchFan said:

I would also put Harold Vick's Don't Look Back in that same "essential" category.   (I'd also add Shirley Scott's One for Me -- but that's been reissued by ARC, not Pure Pleasure.)

And that one desperately needs a CD release!

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