Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Impulse Records

Legendary producer Creed Taylor launched the legendary Impulse label 50 years ago, wrapping his roster in a definitive look and an instantly iconic logo. First Impulse: The Creed Taylor Collection, an exciting 4-disc collection from Verve Select, includes all six albums produced by Taylor for the label that proudly wore its signature colors of orange and black on its spines – plus rare tracks including unreleased John Coltrane rehearsals. The included 84-page hardbound book features essays by Mr. Taylor and associate producer Ashley Kahn, author of the best-selling book on Impulse, The House That Trane Built, as well as session photos and reproductions of the original LP artwork.

The six Taylor-produced albums in the set: Ray Charles’s Genius + Soul = Jazz, inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2011; John Coltrane’s Africa/Brass, the label debut of the great artist, who would have been 85 in September this year; Gil Evans’ Out Of The Cool; Oliver Nelson’s Blues and The Abstract Truth; along with two albums by trombonist Kai Winding, The Great Kai & J.J. (with J.J. Johnson) and The Incredible Kai Winding Trombones, both on U.S. CD for the first time [sic]. The set includes such radio hits and jazz anthems as Charles’ “One Mint Julep” – the rare mono single version is also included at Mr. Taylor’s request – Coltrane’s “Africa,” Evans’ “La Nevada” and Nelson’s “Stolen Moments,” plus rare alternate takes and unused performances, that offer a comprehensive look at the diverse range of music recorded during the label’s first six months.

First Impulse: The Creed Taylor Collection also features a remarkable discovery: never before available performances by John Coltrane, originally recorded in a demo session 50 years ago for Africa/Brass. The three performances include the standard “Laura” and two original compositions by Cal Massey, who arranged the session: “The Damned Don’t Cry” (later recorded at the Africa/Brass sessions) and “Nakatini Serenade” – a slower version than the one Coltrane recorded for Prestige in 1958.

From 1961 through ’76, Impulse was an important part of a pivotal, fertile period in jazz history. Through the exciting and rapid changes of the ’60s and ’70s, Impulse Records was arguably the most effective label bringing the exciting world of jazz to a new generation of listeners.

Check out the official Impulse Records 50th Anniversary site - here! - with release news, updates and special concert events!

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