Real Gone has announced a pair of vinyl reissues due on April 26, and we've got the detail for you right here.
First up is a new edition of Dorothy Ashby and Frank Wess' Minor Groove album from 1958. Ashby was a jazz harpist who made her first headlining album the year before on the Regent label. For her third album (now on the New Jazz label), she was joined by flautist Wess who was a member of Count Basie's band and who had made several solo recordings himself. Here is how Real Gone describes their reissue of Minor Groove:
"Dorothy Ashby was probably the greatest--and certainly the most swinging--jazz harpist of all time, re-purposing an instrument best known for ethereal glissandos into a fully versatile voice in combo settings, capable of providing both instrumental embroidery and rhythmic drive. But she was always fighting an uphill battle in terms of garnering critical and commercial success; both her gender and the exoticism of her instrument often prevented her from being taken seriously among the hidebound environs of late '50s and '60s jazz. But it is that very uniqueness of her sound and station in the jazz world that has made her one of the most collectible musicians of her era, as her music has been sampled and celebrated by modern-day hip hop and world music artists (e.g. Jurassic Five, Bonobo) alike. In a Minor Groove is one of two albums she made in 1958 with flautist/saxophonist Frank Wess, and it is a marvel; backed by fellow Detroit native Herman Wright on bass and the great Roy Haynes on drums, she and Wess weave mesmerizing melodic threads through standards like 'Alone Together' and 'Yesterdays.' But perhaps the most amazing track is 'Bohemia After Dark,' which displays Ashby's uncanny ability to turn her harp into a rhythm guitar! For this first-ever domestic vinyl reissue of In a Minor Groove, we are using the original mono sources--not the re-channeled stereo and jumbled track listing that showed up on Prestige's later repackaging called Dorothy Ashby Plays for Beautiful People--and pressing up a limited edition of 1,000 in neon green vinyl! Original album art with Ira Gitler's sleeve notes, too."
Next up, Real Gone jumps 15 years for the soundtrack album to Cleopatra Jones. The 1973 Blaxploitation comedy starred Tamara Dobson as the title character secret agent who battles against drug lord Mommy played by Shelley Winters. The film was a success, with a sequel arriving two years later. The soundtrack is mix of songs and score pieces. Joe Simon, who had had teamed with Gamble and Huff for hits "Drowning In The Sea of Love" and "Power of Love" in 1971 and 1972, was one of the featured performers on the album. Jazz trombonist J.J. Johnson wrote the score. Two songs from Millie Jackson are also included. They would also appear on her 1973 album It Hurts So Good. Here is what Real Gone has to say about the reissue:
"One of the great Blaxploitation film scores of the '70s, finally back on vinyl where it belongs! This 1973 feature introduced one of the great characters in the whole genre, starring the indomitable, six-foot-two Tamara Dobson as Cleopatra Jones, a taller, hipper, and blacker James Bond. In this film, she thwarts a lesbian L.A. drug lord as played by Shelley Winters, all accompanied by the musical efforts of what is pretty much a '70s soul/jazz/funk dream team. On vocals, you had the leading male and female lights of the Spring label, the great Joe Simon (performing the hit title theme) and Millie Jackson. And on the instrumental side, jazz trombone giant J. J. Johnson (in collaboration with the underrated Carl Brandt of Mod Squad score fame). The result: a prime example of the symphonic funk that became the siren song for Blaxploitation soundtracks throughout the '70s. For its first domestic vinyl reissue, we've pressed up just 700 copies in red and blue starburst vinyl, with original artwork intact...oh so tasty!"
If you would like to explore these two albums featuring these jazz and R&B greats further, we've got the full tracklistings and pre-order links below.
Dorothy Ashby and Frank Wess, Minor Groove ("Neon Green" Vinyl Edition) (Originally released on New Jazz LP PRLP 8209, 1958 - reissued Real Gone Music, 2019) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
- You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To
- It's a Minor Thing
- Bohemia After Dark
- Autumn in Rome
- Alone Together
Various Artists, Cleopatra Jones (Original Soundtrack From The Motion Picture) ("Red and Blue Starburst" Vinyl Edition) (Originally released on Warner Bros. Records LP BS 2719, 1973 - reissued Real Gone Music, 2019) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
- Theme from Cleopatra Jones (Produced and sung by Joe Simon)
- The Wrecking Yard (Carl Brandt)
- Love Doctor (Jackie Avery; Sung by Millie Jackson)
- Airport Flight (Carl Brandt)
- Emdee (J. J. Johnson)
- Desert Sunrise/Main Title Instrumental (J. J. Johnson and Joe Simon)
- It Hurts So Good (Phillip Mitchell; Sung by Millie Jackson)
- Goin' to the Chase (J. J. Johnson)
- Go Chase Cleo (J. J. Johnson)
- Cleo and Reuben (J. J. Johnson)
- Wrap Up (Carl Brandt)
- Theme from Cleopatra Jones/ Instrumental (Joe Simon)