Gilles Peterson, well known for his record label (Brownswood), BBC radio show and deep crates, takes the challenge and pays tribute to one of his favourite labels, Black Jazz. An overview of Black Jazz Records’ lost archive of spiritual 1970’s modal/free jazz/funk, is being made widely available for the first time on CD and digital formats.
Gilles successfully links the disparate corners of a first-class soul/jazz/funk catalogue (Black Jazz, 1971-1976) with tracks by Calvin Keys, Doug Carn, Kellee Patterson and label head Gene Russell, while making the listener nearly forget the thread that ties the tracks together. At the apex of the mix, he drops one of the all time great spiritual jazz cuts ‘Higher Ground’, its hymn-like quality a surprisingly apt lead-in to Cleveland Eaton’s funk chant ‘All Your Lover, All Day, All Night’ a tribute of a different sort – and yet the mood remains constant. The mix could easily incorporate tracks by other early-mid 1970’s like-sounding giants Tony Williams, EWF, Sugarcane Harris, or Funkadelic, but the label’s five years of existence more than suffice to provide enough raw material for this devastating jazz/funk journey.
Snow Dog Records is debuting as an ambitious reissue imprint, with the oft-referenced Black Jazz Records entire output as the first focus, re-releasing the entire library into a three disc mix series curated by Gilles Peterson, DJ Mitsu (Jazzy Sport, Japan) and a third yet to be decided curator. This move to make the catalogue available on CD, including the reissue of Walter Bishop Jr.’s ‘Coral Keys’ and Gene Russell’s ‘New Direction’ stays true to the original LP edition’s artwork, featuring additional liner notes by Downbeat writers Frank-John Hadley and John Ephland and newly discovered photographs and artwork. The Black Jazz label, with its short life and prolific output during its existence, is like a family photo album from 1971-1975. It's out February 11, for tracklisting and more info, check: http://snwdg.com/