Monday, October 12, 2009

Wounded Bird Flies Again

The great reissue label Wounded Bird has announced a heady brew of releases for November 10 including many pre-CD pop albums of the 1970s and early 1980s as well as several never-before-issued CDs by pianist Ramsey Lewis and, surprisingly, trumpeter Doc Severinsen.

The Ramsey Lewis releases include Love Notes (Columbia, 1977), Blues For The Night Owl (Columbia, 1981 – a compilation of more or less straight-ahead material Lewis recorded between 1972 and 1980), Live at the Savoy (Columbia, 1982), Chance Encounter (Columbia, 1982) and Les Fleurs (Columbia, 1983).

But while Wounded Bird previously issued Lewis’s Don’t It Feel Good (Columbia, 1975), Salongo (Columbia, 1976) and Legacy (Columbia, 1978), this batch of releases still does not include Ramsey Lewis’s excellent Routes (Columbia, 1980), half of which was produced by the legendary Allen Toussaint and the other half by Earth, Wind & Fire’s Larry Dunn. Perhaps it’s an oversight that will be corrected upon a future release.

Johnny Carson’s former musical sidekick, Doc Severinsen, sees an abundance of his nearly forgotten solo work get issued by Wounded Bird on November 10 with such titles as Brass Roots (RCA, 1971 – arranged by Don Sebesky), Brass on Ivory (RCA, 1972 – with Henry Mancini), Doc (RCA, 1972), Rhapsody For Now (RCA, 1973 – arranged by Oliver Nelson, among others), Night Journey (Epic, 1975 – Doc’s breakout disco album, arranged by Fred Crane) and the jazz fusion classic Brand New Thing (Epic, 1977 – produced and arranged by Tom Scott) all on the way.

I’ve sung the praises of the terrific Brand New Thing here some months ago, bemoaning the fact that this was unlikely to ever see the light of day on CD. I’m pleased to report the perspicacious folks at Wounded Bird have discovered these buried treasures and are releasing them to their (probably somewhat small) fan base and to crate diggers anxious to discover some excellent forgotten music from the days before the so-called compact disc.

In addition to my request to see Ramsey Lewis’s Routes considered for a future release on Wounded Bird, I would also ask Wounded Bird to consider reissuing Dutch flautist Tys van Leer’s 1978 American jazz fusion album Nice To Have Met You (Columbia, 1978), which, like Brand New Thing, is also helmed by Tom Scott and many of the fusion greats who made the Doc Severinsen album such a classic of the genre.

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