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Summer Sounds: Soul Jazz Records

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Soul Jazz Records, out of Great Britain, produces some of the most distinctive re-issues and compilations around, all lovingly assembled with remastered sound, and extensive liner notes.

Three new Soul Jazz titles are perfect for summer listening.

Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, Tales of Mozambique (Soul Jazz, $23.99) – Count Ossie was one of the pioneers of Rastafari hand drumming, known as nyabinghi. He integrated the drums and chanting of nyabinghi with popular music on early records, and the drummers also welcomed Haile Selassie on his arrival in Jamaica in 1966. Tales of Mozambique, released in 1975, was the result of two groups coming together: Count Ossie’s group, the African Drums, and the jazz saxophonist Cedric Brooks’s group, the Mystics. A wonderful combination of a saxophone section and hand drumming and chanting. The album contains two bonus tracks.

Coxsone’s Music 2: The Sound of Young Jamaica: More Early Cuts from the Vaults of Studio One 1959 – 63 (Soul Jazz, 2 CDs, $23.99) – Clement “Sir Coxsone” Dodd was a producer and founder of Studio One, who was responsible for so much ska and early reggae. Coxsone’s Music 2 includes hits by the Maytals, the Wailers, Don Drummond, Delroy Wilson, the Skatalites, and many others. The two CDs contain over 40 tracks, plus a 28-page booklet.

Nigeria Freedom Sounds!: Popular Music and the Birth of Independent Nigeria 1960 – 63 (Soul Jazz, $23.99) – The sounds of highlife, calypso, mambo, apala, jújù were all in the air around the time of Nigerian indepnence, on October 1, 1960. Artists on the compilation include I.K. Dairo, Haruna Ishola, Sammy Akpabot, and E.C. Arinze. The CD comes with a 48-page booklet filled with liner notes, photographs, artist bios, and period ads and record-sleeve artwork.



CD Cover Leslie Odom, Jr (S-Curve Records, $14.98) – Leslie Odom, Jr. starred as Aaron Burr in the Broadway smash, Hamilton—and won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. After performing the role both in Off-Broadway and Broadway productions, he left the show last month. Now Mr. Odom has released a fine jazz album of standards, such as “Autumn Leaves” and “Look for the Silver Lining,” and from such productions as Spring Awakening, Willie Wonka, Most Happy Fella, and Flower Drum Song.


Gramophone Magazine’s Recording of the Month: August

CD CoverBacewicz: Complete String Quartets (Chandos, 2 CDs, $18.99) – The works of Polish composer Grazyna Bacewicz (1909 – 1969) are finding new champions, especially her string quartets. These seven works, composed between 1938 and 1965, are played by the Silesian Quartet. Gramophone says, “these works constitute an achievement worthy to stand alongside the quartet cycles of Tippett, Britten, Shostakovich and Bartók.”