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Jazz 22/03/2024

Acoustic Sounds, Verve/UMe's Acclaimed Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series, Announces 2024 Slate Of Jazz Classics

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Acoustic Sounds, Verve/UMe's Acclaimed Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series, Announces 2024 Slate Of Jazz Classics
New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Since launching in 2020, Verve/UMe's Acoustic Sounds series has delivered best-in-class, all-analog, audiophile-grade pressings of some of the most legendary jazz records from their extensive and eclectic catalog, each mastered from the original tapes and produced with the utmost care. The slate of releases for 2024 is no exception, with a slew of classic records from the likes of Ben Webster, Billie Holiday, Chet Baker, Diana Krall, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz & Bill Evans and many more. The full release schedule is below.

As with all Acoustic Sounds series titles, the LPs will be mastered from the original analog tapes pressed on 180-gram vinyl, and packaged in high-quality tip-on gatefold jackets, replicating the original packaging. The majority of the albums will be mastered by Ryan K. Smith at Sterling Sound while Bernie Grundman at Bernie Grundman Mastering will master the Diana Krall titles and a number of others. As always, all releases are supervised by Chad Kassem, CEO of Acoustic Sounds, the world's largest source for audiophile recordings, and will utilize the unsurpassed production craft of Quality Record Pressings.

Throughout the year, the Acoustic Sounds series will feature one to three new releases monthly from the Verve Label Group's vaunted catalog, including records originally released on Verve, Impulse!, Philips, EmArcy and Limelight. The 2024 series kicked off in January with Ben Webster's mighty 1957 Norman Granz-produced album, Soulville, featuring the great tenor saxophonist at his peak leading a stellar combo of Oscar Peterson on piano, Ray Brown on bass, Herb Ellis on guitar and Stan Levey on drums through a program of mostly vintage pop tunes, including inspired takes on "Where Are You?" and "Makin' Whoopee," and his sublime original title number. Soulville is quintessential Webster: intimate, tender and endlessly expressive. Several additional Webster albums will be released throughout the year including two acclaimed 1960 platters, Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Webster (July 26) and Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson (November 1), and 1964's See You At The Fair (November 15).

Stan Getz's and Bill Evans' one and only studio collaboration, recorded in 1964 but not released until 1973 as the understatedly titled Previously Unreleased Recordings, was released February 23. Evans and Getz are about as close as musicians can get in terms of artistry, musical philosophy and technique and these sessions, recorded in 1964 with drummer Elvin Jones and bassists Ron Carter (day one, side one) and Richard Davis (day two, side two), are a perfect blending of their strong individual styles and collaborative sensibilities—with both artists at the peak of their creative powers. Despite the more than compelling results, it's likely this album was shelved after Getz soared to global popularity on the bossa nova wave fueled by his monumental Getz/Gilberto album released earlier that same year as this is a departure from the smooth samba jazz he helped pioneer.

Ella Fitzgerald's 1961 album, Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie!, will arrive March 29th and follows several other of her albums that have received the Acoustic Sounds treatment. In contrast to her classic Songbook albums for Verve, this LP captures the essence of Fitzgerald as most people got to see her live—with a swinging quartet. The program is made up mostly of repertoire from the Swing and early Bebop periods with Fitzgerald mixing soulful ballads and hard-driving swingers.

April 26th will see the release of baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan's 1963 soothing nocturnal delight, Night Lights, with Kenny Burrell's 1965 Grammy-nominated jazz-guitar, Gil Evans-arranged and conducted classic, Guitar Forms, May 10th. Duke Ellington & Johnny Hodges' swinging and sumptuous 1959 instrumental sojourn, Back To Back: Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges Play The Blues, releases May 24th.

As part of the Acoustic Sounds series, three of Diana Krall's most beloved albums will be reissued on vinyl throughout the year, with the first, her dazzling Grammy-winning 2001 album, The Look of Love, to bow May 31st. The record boasts such standouts as "S' Wonderful," "Cry Me A River," and her bewitching take on the Burt Bacharach-penned title track. Krall's 1999 album, When I Look In Your Eyes, will follow July 5th with her 1996 LP, All For You: A Dedication To The Nat King Cole Trio, to come September 27th. The two-time Grammy-winning album, which was also nominated for Album of the Year, When I Look In Your Eyes, features Krall and her excellent ensemble performing a sultry set of updated standards, including highlights like "Let's Fall In Love," "I've Got You Under My Skin" and "Let's Face The Music and Dance." All For You: A Dedication To The Nat King Cole Trio is a superb salute to the mighty Nat King Cole Trio with Krall putting her unique spin on 12 of Cole's classic cuts like "Frim Fram Sauce," "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," "You Call It Madness" and "Hit That Jive Jack." The albums will be mastered by Bernie Grundman from the original tapes and pressed on 2LP black vinyl.

The second half of the year will include Billie Holiday's timeless 1957 album, Body and Soul, June 14th, a second Johnny Hodges record in 1958's beautiful and brokenhearted Blues A-Plenty June 28th, Sonny Stitt's excellent 1960 bop and blues outing, Blows The Blues, July 12th and Gerry Mulligan and Ben Webster's 1960 astonishing yet understated Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Webster July 26th. Sonny Rollin's 1967 free jazz experimentation of East Broadway Run Down will hit August 16th with Stan Getz's 1967 superlative and soulful Sweet Rain August 30th.

The fall slate of releases will kick off with two of jazz's most important and influential women: Nina Simone, and her immortal 1964 live album, In Concert, September 6th, and Sarah Vaughan, with her sensational 1956 LP, Sassy, September 20th. Chet Baker's exquisite 1965 showcase of Billie Holiday tunes, Baker's Holiday will debut October 11th followed by Mel Tormé's 1958 Verve debut, Tormé, October 25th. The series will culminate with a pair of releases each from Ben Webster and Jimmy Smith, with Webster's 1960 standout, Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson, November 1st and his final American recording, 1964's See You At The Fair, November 15th, and Smith's 1964 joyful, Hammond B3-filled The Cat December 6th and 1972's vital live album, Root Down, December 13th.

The Acoustic Sounds series has been celebrated by music fans and the press alike for exceeding expectations. Of the Nina Simone LPs, vinyl authority Analog Planet exclaimed, "The sound of both of these records is the best that's been produced from these tapes and both records are well worth owning." Paste meanwhile declared, "the mastering engineers at AS have achieved some astonishing results. The Armstrong/Peterson collaboration is spotless, with a presence that makes it feel like drummer Louis Bellson is playing in the same room, and a clarity that lets little details and noises from these 60+ year old sessions float to the surface. The groundbreaking collaboration between saxophonist Stan Getz and Brazilian guitarist/vocalist João Gilberto is perhaps even better. The spell that this album of cool bossa nova casts feels as heady and intoxicating as ever, with guest vocalist Astrud Gilberto popping up throughout to curl around every note like a rich green vine. These are, without question, the definitive pressings of these albums." Of the Cannonball Adderley Quintet's In Chicago reissue, Paste remarked, 'this album sounds as alive as it did nearly 70 years ago," adding, "it's just as wonderful to hear in crystalline clarity, thanks to the work of engineer Ryan Smith, just how the rhythm section reacts in turn. Pianist Wynton Kelly shines perhaps the brightest only due to his melodic attack and smooth right hand."

January 26 - Ben Webster - Soulville (Verve, 1957)
February 23 - Stan Getz & Bill Evans - Previously Unreleased Recordings (Verve, 1973)
March 29 - Ella Fitzgerald - Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie! (Verve, 1961)
April 26 - Gerry Mulligan - Night Lights (Philips, 1963)
May 10 - Kenny Burrell - Guitar Forms (Verve, 1965)
May 24 - Duke Ellington & Johnny Hodges - Back to Back: Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges Play The Blues (Verve, 1959)
May 31 - Diana Krall - The Look of Love (Verve, 2001)
June 14 - Billie Holiday - Body and Soul (Verve, 1957)
June 28 - Johnny Hodges - Blues A Plenty (Verve, 1958)
July 5 - Diana Krall - When I Look In Your Eyes (Verve, 1999)
July 12 - Sonny Stitt - Blows The Blues (Verve, 1960)
July 26 - Gerry Mulligan & Ben Webster - Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Webster (Verve, 1960)
August 16 - Sonny Rollins - East Broadway Run Down (Impulse, 1967)
August 30 - Stan Getz - Sweet Rain (Verve, 1967)
September 6 - Nina Simone - In Concert (Philips, 1964)
September 20 - Sarah Vaughan - Sassy (EmArcy, 1956)
September 27 - Diana Krall - All For You: A Dedication To The Nat King Cole Trio (Impulse!, 1996)
October 11 - Chet Baker - Baker's Holiday (Limelight, 1965)
October 25 - Mel Tormé - Tormé (Verve, 1958)
November 1 - Ben Webster - Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson (Verve, 1960)
November 15 - Ben Webster - See You At The Fair (Impulse, 1964)
December 6 - Jimmy Smith - The Cat (Verve, 1964)
December 13 - Jimmy Smith - Root Down (Verve, 1972)

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