Craft Recordings Unveils New Original Jazz Classics Reissues

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Craft Recordings, home to one of the world’s largest and most essential collections of master recordings, has announced the final batch of 2024 reissues for its acclaimed Original Jazz Classics series. This latest offering includes five titles spanning over a decade of groundbreaking jazz recordings from the 1950s and 60s.

The Original Jazz Classics series, created in 1982 under Fantasy Records and relaunched in 2023, has become a hallmark of audiophile-quality reissues, meticulously remastered from the original analog tapes. With over 850 jazz albums already reissued, the series draws from Craft’s dazzling catalog, which encompasses thousands of artist-defining titles originally released by esteemed labels like Prestige, Riverside, Contemporary, and Pablo.

Before delving into the latest reissues, it’s worth highlighting Craft Recordings’ unique position in the music industry. The label is a custodian of some of the most iconic and influential recordings in history, with a storied repertoire that includes landmark releases from artists like Joan Baez, John Coltrane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Miles Davis, and R.E.M., among many others.

Renowned imprints with catalogs issued under the Craft banner include Fania, Fantasy, Prestige, Riverside, Stax, and Vanguard, ensuring that these recordings endure for new generations to discover. Craft’s commitment to quality and preservation is evident in their thoughtfully curated packages, meticulous attention to detail, and dedication to preserving the legacies of cultural trailblazers like Billie Holiday, Thelonious Monk and many more.

As with previous releases in the Original Jazz Classics series, these new reissues will boast lacquers cut from the original analog tapes by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio, ensuring exceptional sound quality. The vinyl pressings will be 180-gram and pressed at RTI, with tip-on jackets replicating the original artwork. Additionally, all titles will be released digitally in 192/24 HD audio, catering to both vinyl enthusiasts and digital audiophiles.

The series has garnered widespread critical acclaim, with publications like PopMatters, Clash, Tracking Angle, and All About Jazz praising the exceptional sound quality and attention to detail. PopMatters enthused about the reissue of Bill Evans’ “Sunday at the Village Vanguard,” stating that “the bright, inventive performances are captured perfectly in these new vinyl releases.” Clash declared the same reissue “a must-have,” while Tracking Angle gave a perfect score review to the reissue of “Waltz for Debby,” calling it “the best-sounding of all the pressings.”

With the final batch of 2024 reissues, Craft Recordings continues its commitment to preserving and celebrating the rich legacy of jazz, ensuring that these timeless recordings remain accessible to both longtime enthusiasts and new generations of listeners. Below is a list the latest reissues. All releases are now available for pre-order.

Clark Terry Quartet & Thelonious Monk – In Orbit

Kicking off the latest batch is the 1958 release “In Orbit” by the Clark Terry Quartet featuring Thelonious Monk. This album earned attention for the flattering detail of Monk appearing as a sideman, alongside talents like Sam Jones on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums. At the time, Clark Terry was at a peak, having become a frequent presence on stage with Count Basie and Duke Ellington. The album, described by AllMusic as “a spirited, boppish date,” includes standouts like Terry’s silky-smooth “One Foot in the Gutter” and Monk’s rare composition “Let’s Cool One.”

Mal Waldron – The Quest

Next up is “The Quest” by Mal Waldron, one of Billie Holiday’s go-to pianists. Released in 1962, this album showcases Waldron’s alluring mix of avant-garde and hard bop, featuring a well-rounded sextet with Eric Dolphy on alto sax, Booker Ervin on tenor sax, and Ron Carter on cello. Waldron’s compositions, such as the sentimental “Duquility” and the genre-transcending “Warm Canto,” remain unparalleled in their willingness to defy expectations.

 

Thelonious Monk Septet – Monk’s Music

A seminal album in the Monk canon, “Monk’s Music” from 1957 was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001. Featuring the talents of Coleman Hawkins, Art Blakey, and John Coltrane, this swoon-worthy release helped define the future of jazz, according to Pitchfork. Highlights include the nostalgic “Ruby, My Dear” and the lively, confident “Well You Needn’t.” This is without doubt one of Monks best albums from his Riverside period.

 

Blue Mitchell – Blue’s Moods

Released in 1960, “Blue’s Moods” by Blue Mitchell (on trumpet and coronet) continues to be a classic, capturing the spirited ease of hard-bop. Joined by a solid rhythm section featuring Wynton Kelly, Sam Jones, and Roy Brooks, the album exudes warmth and curiosity in covers like the chilled-out “Sweet Pumpkin” and the edgier “Avars.” As DownBeat observed upon its release, “Blue’s Moods” reflects “the attainment of a measure of self-assurance and restraint, hallmarks…of the mature artist.”

 

Cal Tjader – Latin Kick

Rounding out the batch is “Latin Kick” by Cal Tjader, a pioneering bandleader and vibraphonist in the Latin jazz genre. Released in 1956, this unforgettable album seamlessly intertwines Afro-Cuban rhythms and jazz fundamentals, transporting listeners to another time and place. AllMusic praised the album, noting that “everything cooks in a bright yet disciplined manner,” with Tjader’s “elliptical, swinging vibes presiding genially over the ensemble.” Highlights include his cha-cha take on Cole Porter’s “I Love Paris” and an ironically carefree rendition of the Oscar Hammerstein II song “Lover Come Back to Me.”

 

 

Last modified: June 19, 2024