Monthly Archives: January 2020

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

If this world were mine, I’d place at your feet / All that I own; you’ve been so good to me / If this world were mine / I’d give you the flowers, the birds and the bees / For with your love inside me, that would be all I need / If this world were mine / I’d give you anything


It’s been a sad week in our “City of Angels.” The Kobe crash is weird and sad karma, and many are now asking why this is effecting us Los Angelenos so deeply. Of course I spent much of the early days of the week listening to sad songs. Today’s playlist muse, “Sadsong Street,” was penned by Richard Swift, another brilliant soul who met his end way too early. I used to tease Richard about his sad songs. Adored by many, somber tunes don’t often lead to fame and fortune in the record biz. Yet for my Idelic heart, I reach for these tunes in times of healing.

This week I couldn’t be help but think about basketball. I’ve long since stopped trying to explain the game’s significance to my upbringing in New York City. At a young age (ironically about the same age as my son Jonah) I wandered out to Central Park to play hoop. What I found was a world, community, a group of friends, heroes and villains, apart from my family and school.

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TVD Live Shots:
Monster Magnet at
the O2 Forum, 1/24

The first time I saw Monster Magnet was in 1999 in my home town of St. Louis, Missouri. The band was touring in support of their breakout masterpiece Powertrip and Kid Rock was opening the show. I remember thinking that Kid Rock was going to be the next big thing. He was touring in support of this debut for Atlantic Records, and he was brilliant (something I would never end up saying again). I would have never guessed that the opener would surpass the headliner in popularity in this situation as Monster Magnet were at their peak, both commercially and creatively.

The band had finally crafted the perfect, universally appealing single with “Space Lord,” and it dominated rock radio and MTV. You couldn’t go anywhere without hearing this song. And it was quite a departure from the band’s earlier work, such as the record that introduced me to the group, 1993’s Superjudge. It was about damn time the world took notice of Monster Magnet, and that success was enough to keep the band rolling for another two decades.

Fast forward thirty years and Monster Magnet is on tour celebrating the legacy of Powertrip with a dedicated tour across the UK. It’s hard to believe that main man Dave Wyndorf is 63 years old. He looks great and can still rock with the best of them.

Unlike most bands who play their celebrated album in its entirety, Monster Magnet is taking a slightly different approach. I was told by a friend of the band that playing the songs as they appear in order on the original record doesn’t work for a live show. So ten of the thirteen songs from Powertrip mark a celebration of the album instead of playing it from start to finish—and it worked beautifully. An extended version of “Space Lord” closed out the set in epic fashion, and the crowd responded accordingly.

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TVD Radar: Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets, Live at the Roundhouse 2LP in stores 4/17

VIA PRESS RELEASE | “Immense, electrifying, galvanizing, mesmerizing and still deeply strange, bending the formats of primal rock into all kind of weird and wonderful shapes…a set of such startling intensity it seemed to mock the very notion of nostalgia.”
Neil McCormick, The Daily Telegraph

Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment is proud to announce the release of Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets Live At The Roundhouse, an extraordinary all-new concert recording featuring an array of Pink Floyd classics rarely performed by the band during its lifetime. The 22-track collection arrives April 17 as a double-CD/DVD package, double-vinyl, and on Blu-ray; pre-orders are available now. Additionally, the band today shares the song/video for “Fearless” as an exclusive video trailer.

Also, in collaboration with Trafalgar Releasing and Sony Music Entertainment, Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets Live At The Roundhouse will be coming to cinemas in selected cities worldwide for one night only on March 10, 2020. This theatrical event will also include a pre-recorded cinema exclusive Q&A with Nick Mason and the band where they will answer questions submitted by fans. Tickets are on sale now from

Nick Mason—founding drummer and the only constant member of Pink Floyd since their 1965 formation—united Gary Kemp (guitar, vocals), Guy Pratt (bass, vocals), Lee Harris (guitar), and Dom Beken (keyboards) as Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets in 2018, fueled in part by the desire to perform the legendary band’s pre-Dark Side of the Moon material, timeless songs which had not been played on stage in decades.

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The Gutter Daisies,
The TVD First Date

“My first experience with vinyl was as a young kid growing up in New Jersey. My parents had this record player in the living room that they would play all the time. My father was particularly into jazz, easy listening, and other popular music from the 1950s and ’60s. Artists like Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and Dean Martin we’re always spinning on this record player. This might explain why this music grew on me later in life.”

“My mother, on the other hand, was from Poland. Her musical taste was all over the place. She loved Fleetwood Mac and Abba; she used to teach herself how to speak English by learning the words to the songs! She owned a lot of their music on vinyl as well as a ton of other stuff ranging from disco polo (a popular genre of dance music originating in Poland) to traditional American holiday music towards the end of the year. We got a lot of use out of that record player in my house for sure.

Fast forward to my early 20s and a long time since I had operated a record player, I found myself caught up in a huge Phish phase. The second time I saw them live at Randall’s Island in New York City, I wound up buying their album A Picture of Nectar on vinyl…with no way to play it…because I didn’t own and hadn’t owned a record player in years. I feel like this helped me to appreciate vinyl the way I do today though. By the time I got my hands on my own record player and listened to the album, it felt like I was hearing it for the first time again. The music had this warm and crispy yet delicate essence to it that filled the room in a way that brought me back to my parents’ house as a kid.

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Graded on a Curve:
Rush, Rush

Sounding less like a bird of prey than a castrati with a gerbil up his ass, Geddy Lee is trying to tell us something. Xanadu, subdivisions, the spirit of radio, how we’re all trees in the forest and if you happen to be a stunted one you’re shit out of luck—your guess is as good as mine. The late Neil Peart, may he rest in peace, wrote ‘em, and your average 13-year-old with a unicorn glitter notebook would have rubbed his nose on the playground gravel.

Behind Geddy, prog-metal bric a brac: 2012’s ping-ponging title track (Rush isn’t a band, it’s a kid with attention deficit disorder) boasts seven parts including a grand finale, and is less a suite than a Frankenstein monster of ill-fitting parts. As for the band’s concept albums, Geddy himself has been quoted as saying, “Even I can’t make sense of them.”

Either you love Rush or you loathe ‘em, and I loathed ‘em up until the day I realized they were a comedy act. Now I love ‘em. Geddy cracks me up every time he opens his beak. “Closer to the Heart” is my all-time favorite song.

But there was an old Rush before the new Rush, and the old Rush can only be heard on the band’s 1974’s eponymous debut. With the soon-to-be-booted John Rutsey on skins, and nary a tedious 19-minute musico-philosophical discourse on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead in sight, everybody’s favorite Molson belchers made like Led Zeppelin on Beaver Tails, and while your critic types derided Rush as a turd hamburger, I like it cuz I’ll take good old-fashioned hard rock over mutant mullet metal any day.

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In rotation: 1/31/20

AU | Executive changes at AMRA & Record Store Day: Changes are afoot at the top of the Australian Music Retailers Association (AMRA) and one of its main initiatives, Australian Record Store Day. AMRA CEO Ian Harvey and head of membership Sara Hood, are stepping down to follow other pursuits. They have run AMRA for 20 years and Record Store Day for 11. “The general plan is to keep it running as it has,” says AMRA president Blake Budak, who operates the long-running store Landspeed Records in Canberra. “Sara and Ian have put a lot of mechanisms in place and done a lot of groundwork to establish Record Store Day in Australia in such a good way. “AMRA wouldn’t be where we are today without them.” It’s little wonder that Record Store Day plays a vital role in AMRA’s operations. “We do as much trade on that one day as we do in the four days leading up to Christmas,” Budak explains. The event returns this year in April. Last year 195 stores were involved, drawing around 85,000 customers.

Dallas, TX | After 46 years, Hit Records will close, take its final spin this weekend: Say goodbye to Hit Records at a two-day closeout sale this weekend. Hit Records was anything but a one-hit wonder. The record store in the Casa View Shopping Center will close after 46 years in business. Owner Ron Ross said on Facebook that the store’s lease is up, and he doesn’t agree with the new terms. He would rather sell than try to move, according to the post. A two-day closeout sale will take place from 3-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the record shop at 10253 Ferguson Road. “Come see Ron and buy a piece of record store history,” the Facebook post said. Ross began working at Hit Records in 1974, and bought the store in 1986, CultureMap reported. Over the years, rock bands, such as The Ramones, AC/DC and Aerosmith, have come through its doors. Every inch of Hit Records is covered in memorabilia, from Chuky dolls to baseball cards to a pair of Chuck Taylors signed by Marky Ramone. Oh yeah, the store sells records too.

Eastbourne, UK | Eastbourne record store announces it is closing: An Eastbourne record store has announced it will be closing in March. The owner of Pebble Records in Gildredge Road said the decision was made due to ‘tough conditions’ on the high street taking its toll. Michael Kerton said, “It’s been great fun to do it. We have met lots of lovely people and made new friends. “It’s really hard on the high street at the moment. It’s inevitable change.” The online side of the business will continue trading at, but the shop itself will shut by the end of March. Michael said, “There’s the social part of it you miss when shops close. That’s what we are losing.” But he said, “It’s been great, we have had a great time doing it. No regrets, it’s been fun. “It’s come to an end. Thank you for the supporters of the shop.”

Minneapolis, MN | Tes de Luna and Jason Hughes: The Curators: Tes de Luna and Jason Hughes’ introduction sounds straight out of an indie-rock rom-com. The owners of south Minneapolis record store/art boutique Rock Paper Scissors Goods initially crossed paths in Seattle, where de Luna was a regular at Hughes’ Sonic Boom Records. After hitting it off at an Elliott Smith concert in 2000, they went on their first proper date. Eventually, they would run small businesses next door to each other, get married, and have kids. De Luna, a Minneapolis native who graduated from MCAD in 1999, wanted to move the family back home. So they sold their Pacific Northwest shops and opened Rock Paper Scissors in 2018—a shop that combines their shared love of art and music under one roof. “We just wanted to use the knowledge from our former shops to start something new,” de Luna says. “Starting small in a new city made sense, and we hoped that creative folks would appreciate both art and music.”

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TVD Live Shots:
Grace Potter and
Devon Gilfillian at
The Anthem, 1/25

Grace Potter brought her considerable talents to Washington, DC’s Anthem this past weekend, touring in support of her new release, Daylight. In tandem she brought one very special guest for the evening, Devon Gilfillian

Potter’s latest album was released to critical acclaim in October of 2019 and is a big step in a new direction, leaning more than ever toward the pop side of her blues-rock roots. For Saturday’s performance she was in excellent form and simply as exuberant as ever. Dancing straight through the first few songs of the set, she appeared elated during “Love is Love” and “Back to Me” which proceeded the title track of the new record, “Daylight.”

Potter even honored some older fan favorites such as the soulful “Big White Gate” off of 2007’s This is Somewhere which was a request just four songs in. Throughout the evening Potter also seemed to glow and radiate from within, and it’s obvious that her new band suits her well as she’s hit a whole new stride. Daylight was released via Fantasy Records and is available on gold-tiger vinyl.

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TVD Live Shots: Dimmu Borgir and Amorphis at the O2 Forum, 1/22

Two metal giants on one stage at the legendary O2 Forum in London; Dimmu Borgir and Amorphis are both celebrating 20 plus years of incredible dark metal. They are both still touring with strong support from an incredibly loyal fanbase which happens to overlap perfectly.

2018 saw both metal giants releasing arguably their strongest albums ever, leading to a resurgence of a very crowded metal subgenre that continues to push what was formerly known as death metal into new territory. While the heaviness and satanic overtones still exist, you would never guess that you were watching two bands who basically invented the genre across their respective regions of Norway and Finland. The evolution and addition of symphonic overtones begs the question—is this really just an extreme version of progressive metal?

Either way, the fans are still coming in droves to see these two metal legends. Both bands did headline sets with Amorphis’ set being just a tad bit more accessible for my metal leanings. Their Queen of Time record, which was released in 2018, has been hailed as a modern prog-metal masterpiece. When they mix in the older material, for example, a song like “Sign From the North Side” (classic textbook thrash/ death metal from their early days) and then go straight into a song like “House of Sleep” (mid 2000s), it shows how these guys have matured and learned how to write a magnum metal opus. Queen of Time takes it up a notch by finding a balance of old and new while pushing the production level to something rarely heard in the world of metal. It’s awe-inspiring on the record, but even more of a spectacle to see them pull it off live.

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TVD Radar: Hamell on Trial, Ed’s Not Dead—Hamell Comes Alive!
20th anniversary vinyl reissue in stores 3/13

VIA PRESS RELEASE | On March 13th, Saustex Records will release the 20th anniversary edition of Hamell On Trial’s live album Ed’s Not Dead—Hamell Comes Alive! on digital and hyper-limited vinyl format.

March 13th, 2020 will mark Saustex Records’ re-release of the Hamell on Trial live album Ed’s Not Dead—Hamell Comes Alive!. The album is culled from live shows in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and San Diego back in 2000, when Ed was the regular opening act for Ani DiFranco and was also on the roster of her Righteous Babe Records. Ani had her front-of-house engineer record Ed’s show nightly, with the unspoken intention of releasing a live album for her label.

Things were going well…Ed was playing for much larger audiences than he was used to and Ani’s audiences were very gracious and receptive. Then, tragedy struck. Following some dates with Ani, Ed resumed his club touring, and had a serious automobile accident that laid him up for nine months. He broke three vertebrae, his wrist, ankle, and had 52 staples in his head. He had to wear an upper body brace for the duration of the nine months.

As a working musician whose bread and butter is live performances, this was devastating. Luckily, some friends came to the rescue, in the form of Ani’s manager Scott Fisher, who gave Hamell the tapes so that he could self-release an album and keep the money, and his good friend George Fontaine (now president of New West Records) who ponied up the money for CD manufacturing. Ed’s longtime road manager Ricki C sifted through the tapes and culled the best performances.

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Dave Jordan’s vinyl release party is at the Maple Leaf Saturday night, 2/2

Local singer, guitarist and songwriter Dave Jordan is getting a lot of props for his latest album, Burning Sage. Yours truly reviewed it in December issue of OffBeat magazine writing, “Dave Jordan has crafted a great album; perhaps the best of his long career as one of New Orleans’ foremost roots-rockers.” You can read the full review here. He will celebrate the vinyl release on Saturday night at the Maple Leaf Bar.

The editors of OffBeat also selected the album as one of the Top 40 of the year. He is up for two awards at the Best of the Beat on Thursday night, and is also playing as a trio at the Ogden Museum this evening, 1/30.

The show at the Leaf, which is also Jordan’s annual birthday celebration, will feature a seven-piece band including Alex Mallet on guitar, Rurik Nunan on violin, Will Repholz on bass, David Shirley on drums, and Jeff Watkins and Sage Rouge on saxes. This is the core group of musicians that appear on the album.

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TVD Video Premiere: ØZWALD, “Too Clever”

Nashville duo ØZWALD specialize in golden, honey-dipped vibes filtered through modern sensibilities. It’s an ineffable brand of warm, glowing desert folk rock that eschews the mainstream grunge pop of the two conspirators’ previous work—Jason Wade fronts the band Lifehouse and Steve Stout is formerly of Lost Beach.

Their latest single sets their retro, lo-fi tunings to early ’60s space age visuals, making their quietly eccentric lyrics come to life in between the blips and bleeps of NASA stock footage. The effortless vocals glide over the snappy, nuanced production, connecting the paranoia of the Atomic Age to our current socio-political climate.

Their gorgeous new album, Born in a State, is chock-full of similarly dialed-in hushed folk pop which manages to trigger deep feelings of nostalgia while pointing a finger toward the future of Nashville’s singer-songwriter scene.

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Graded on a Curve: New in Stores for January 2020, Part Four

Part four of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued releases presently in stores for January, 2020. Part one is here, part two is here, and part three is here.

NEW RELEASE PICKS: Squarepusher, Be Up a Hello (Warp) When I learned Tom Jenkinson (the Englishman who is Squarepusher) had a new record out, I was surprised, excited and worried all at once. Surprised, because there hasn’t been a Squarepusher record in five years, excited because Jenkinson was amongst the first artists (along with Aphex Twin, Autechre, Boards of Canada and a couple more) to turn me around to electronic stuff, and worried because such a long hiatus can foretell a diminishment of inspiration. Well, my fears were misplaced, as this set is a total success. Much of this is like video game music marinating in caffeine and adrenaline, but the anthemic pop angle in opener “Oberlove” is a cool twist. “Detroit People Mover” blends Nintendo and Moroder and offers contemplative regality. A-

Ross Goldstein, Timoka (Birdwatcher) Composer Goldstein’s latest continues the progressions established on his prior LP, 2018’s The Eighth House, specifically a change in direction away from psychedelia. 2017’s Inverted Jenny struck me as an orchestral pop record, and so, a transitional work, perhaps. Timoka definitely has moments, like right out of the gate with “Obsidian Cat,” that one could describe as orchestral (a digital version of the Mellotron is being used), but pop it is not. Instead, like The Eighth House, it exudes a soundtrack-like sensibility, in part through the record’s non-vocal nature, but also because Goldstein’s work is reminiscent of developments in creative film scoring from the ’60s-’80s, but without coming off like a faux OST. This last observation is very important to Timoka’s success. A-

Jason McMahon, Odd West (Shinkoyo) Here’s the solo debut of a Brooklyn guy who’s been in a lot of bands, most prominently The Skeletons (not the rootsy and defunct Missouri Skeletons), and if a first effort on his own, in large part due to experience it lacks in the tentative, which is doubly impressive as it finds McMahon, already an accomplished guitarist, diving into the deep end of the pool that is advanced fingerpicking technique, and with gusto. I said this was doubly impressive, but the achievement grows as McMahon offers more than Fahey-disciple moves. There are certainly flourishes of string glisten descended from the more ornate end of the American Primitive spectrum, but Odd West reminds me more of post-rock, and I really dig how McMahon integrates vocals into his scheme. A-

REISSUE/ARCHIVAL PICK: Jolie Holland, Esconidida (Cinquefoil) When I heard that Holland’s second album from 2004 was getting the first-time on vinyl treatment (through her own Kickstarter), I danced a little jig. It’s quite the special set, and in some ways her solo debut, as prior effort Catalpa was a demo that burst out beyond its original intention through sheer force of quality. Esconidida, first released by ANTI (who also gave Catalpa a wider pressing), avoids even a trace of a letdown; in fact, it’s even better, and a sterling example of quality in the Americana style. A major reason why has to do with her lack of politeness/ affectedness as she rewrites “Old-Time Religion” as “Old Fashioned Morphine” (and references “Billy” Burroughs) and drops a “motherfucker” at the end of “Do You.” A classic. A

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In rotation: 1/30/20

Eastbourne, UK | Popular Record Store to close!: This evening (28th January) it has been announced that the popular Pebble Records will be closing its doors. Pebble Records is a leading independent record shop, which is located not far from the mainline railway station in Eastbourne at 14 Gildredge Road. They sell vinyl, CDs, tapes, merch and record decks. Their range includes indie, rock, garage, psych, funk, soul, reggae, dub, dance, electronica, hip hop, r & b, blues, jazz, folk, country and soundtracks. In an official statement by Michael and Chris on the shop’s Facebook page they stated:” I’m sorry to be letting you all know that the tough conditions on the high street have taken there toll on the retail shop and we will closing at the end of the March. Pebble will continue to trade online but in more specialised niche areas more information to follow soon.”

Montreal, CA | Montreal Allows Record Stores to Extend Opening Hours: Shops were fined thousands by the province late last year. After raising concern with the province of Quebec over opening hours leading to thousands of dollars in fines, Montreal record stores will now be permitted to keep doors open later as of this spring. Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante confirmed the forthcoming changes on Twitter today, writing that governments will “invite merchants and boroughs to make the rules surrounding store hours more flexible.” She added, “You have to be able to adapt and that’s what we are doing!” Plante’s announcement comes weeks after Phonopolis co-owner Jordan Robson Cramer explained how his shop and fellow record stores Sonorama, La Rama and Death of Vinyl had received warnings and thousands in fines for staying open past 5 p.m. on weekends.

Wilmington, NC | From new to old rarities, Record Bar opens in Wilmington after nearly 30 years of brand-dormancy: It’s been nearly 30 years since music lovers have seen any stores for the previously Durham-based Record Bar, which was acquired by Blockbuster Video in the early ’90s. With more than 150 stores nationwide at its peak, the store eventually went the way of Blockbuster — until now. Tony Stroud has lived in Wilmington for years and has made a career as a CPA, but he can now add ‘record store owner’ to his resume after reviving the previously dormant brand. Now, along with his partner Donna Hoehlein he’s brought the Record Bar back, located next to Beach Bagels off Oleander Drive. The shop opened in December of 2019, but Stroud has been working on the project since 2018, acquiring a large inventory of albums and working to acquire the name and the brand from its dormant status.

Dallas, TX | One of Dallas’ oldest remaining record stores is closing with a big sale: One of Dallas’ oldest remaining record stores is closing. Hit Records, located in the Casa View Shopping Center at 10253 Ferguson Rd., will close after 46 years in business. According to owner Ron Ross, the store’s lease was up and he “couldn’t meet the new terms.” That entire intersection at Ferguson and Gus Thomasson is in churn. The shopping center is getting a $10 million makeover, and some longtime tenants such as Casa Jewelers, which had been at the center since 1954, have been nudged out. Hit Records was almost more museum than shop, with an extensive display of photos and memorabilia. Most of the photos were Ross’ own; he was a music photographer for 20 years, shooting for record labels and publications such as Buddy.

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TVD Live Shots: The Winter 2020 DC Record Fair in Photos

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | The DC Record Fair, now in its eleventh year, just gets bigger and better.

Vendors arrived early to seize prime real estate before the venue opened to the general public at 11 a.m. on Sunday, January 26th, while early bird buyers paid $3 more to beat the crowds. Dozens were busy digging—upstairs and down—as soon as the doors opened. They surely weren’t disappointed: veteran vendors and freshman sellers alike brought their best discs, from high-priced collectibles to $10 must-haves.

At Penn Social, elbow room is in short supply, but most people didn’t seem to mind, gamely trading places and taking turns so everybody got a chance to eyeball everything and hopefully go home happy. The bar opened for business along with the doors for diggers to drown their sorrows or celebrate big scores.

Downstairs a rotating regiment of District DJs kept things grooving, while the coffee bar did a roaring trade in liquid pick-me-ups. Lindsey Mastis—ABC7 news anchor, vinyl enthusiast, and human pick-me-up—made the rounds, interviewing buyers and sellers and livestreaming the event on Instagram, complete with her trademark jumps for joy.

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Demand it on Vinyl:
Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, The Best of the Columbia & RCA/Vik Years (1956-1959) in stores 3/6

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers were the greatest incubator of talent the jazz world has ever known, and the late-‘50s were arguably the outfit’s most fertile period, as Blakey led not one, not two, not three, but four aggregations that spawned the next generation of jazz superstars.

While Blakey recorded for a number of labels during that period, his sessions for the Columbia and RCA/Vik labels formed the core of his repertoire along with his Blue Note sides, and this 2-CD, 17-track set throws in six rare live performances in France (led by Blakey’s impossibly polyrhythmic playing, the Jazz Messengers were one of the greatest live bands in jazz history) to create a crucial document of the era.

The set begins with three tracks from the 1956 Columbia album The Jazz Messengers featuring the jaw-dropping line-up of Blakey, Donald Byrd on trumpet, Hank Mobley on tenor, Horace Silver on piano, and Doug Watkins on bass; two Horace Silver compositions, “Nica’s Dream” and “Ecaroh,” join the Tin Pan Alley song “The End of a Love Affair.” After that album, Silver split and took Byrd, Mobley, and Watkins with him, but Blakey turned around and hired soon-to-be-legendary alto saxman Jackie McLean along with trumpeter Bill Hardman, pianist Sam Dockery, and bassist Jimmy “Spanky” DeBrest to replace them.

This unit recorded the next three tracks including the McLean composition “Little Melonae.” “The Sacrifice” and “Cubano Chant” hail from album sessions with The Art Blakey Percussion Ensemble featuring, among others, bassist Oscar Pettiford and pianist Ray Bryant, while the last two tracks on Disc One, “Almost Like Being in Love” and “Couldn’t It Be You,” add tenor titan Johnny Griffin to the Jazz Messenger mix.

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