Welcome to our final Release Round-Up of 2019! This edition covers today’s releases as well as those of the next two weeks, the quietest time of the year for new releases. The weekly Release Round-Up will be back on January 10. In the meantime, Happy Holidays to all!
Frank Zappa, The Hot Rats Sessions (Zappa/UMe)
This 6-CD box set explores Frank Zappa’s 1969 primarily instrumental solo album Hot Rats from every angle. The first three and a half discs present the basic track recording sessions recorded at T.T.G. Studios in Hollywood, California on July 18, 28, 29 and 30, 1969. Disc Four also boasts remakes, alternate takes, complete versions, and isolated tracks. Following the session material, the box’s fifth and sixth discs have the original Hot Rats album plus Zappa’s 1987 compact disc digital remix, adding numerous extras such as audio advertisements, mono single mixes, and more than a dozen vintage alternate mixes. The original mix of the album, as mastered in 2008 by Bernie Grundman, will also be available on standalone vinyl. Read more here, and watch this space for a full review!
ATO continues its long-running series of live releases from the late Jerry Garcia with this January 23, 1973 San Francisco concert featuring him alongside Merl Saunders, John Kahn, Bill Vitt, and Sarah Fulcher. On the 3-CD set, the virtuosic duo are heard improvising their way through a number of favorites such as “That’s All Right, Mama,” “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You),” “Honey Chile,” “Georgia on My Mind,” “Expressway to Your Heart,” and “Georgia on My Mind.”
UMe premieres the soundtrack to the HBO documentary about the acclaimed Harlem theatre on CD, LP, and digital platforms. The soundtrack features such luminaries as James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gaye, Duke Ellington, Pearl Bailey, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Etta James, and more.
The much-talked-about film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s mega-musical has arrived in theatres and along with it a disc of soundtrack highlights featuring Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, and company. Available on CD and digital.
John Williams’ stirring score for the ninth and final film in Star Wars‘ Skywalker saga is also out today on CD and digital platforms. The Target-exclusive edition has a pair of collectible art cards.
Also available to today for pre-order…
Various Artists, Arthur Schwartz Revisited (Kritzerland)
Kritzerland continues digging into the vaults of Ben Bagley’s Painted Smiles Records for this tribute to the late composer Arthur Schwartz of “That’s Entertainment” and “I Guess I’ll Have to Change My Plan” fame. As usual, Bagley assembled an illustrious cast – including Phyllis Diller, Blossom Dearie, Cab Calloway, and Gloria DeHaven – to bring to life some of Schwartz’s least-known works. As usual, Kritzerland has spruced up the sound. Limited to 500 units, this release will ship by the last week of January but pre-orders from the label typically arrive earlier.
Valmouth: Original London Cast Recording (Kritzerland)
This 1958 musical featured book, music, and lyrics by Sandy Wilson, and while it didn’t repeat the success of Wilson’s international smash The Boy Friend, it boasted a tuneful score performed by a cast led by Cleo Laine. For this reissue, Kritzerland has remastered the sound and enlisted legendary set and costume designer Tony Walton (Pippin, Chicago, Mary Poppins) to provide new liner notes. Limited to 500 units, this release will ship by the last week of January but pre-orders from the label typically arrive earlier.
Franz Reizenstein, Three Concertos (Kritzerland)
Kritzerland celebrates German-born British composer Franz Reizenstein (Hammer’s The Mummy) with this new collection of his 1941 piano concerto and 1954 violin concerto as well as the 1956 Concerto Popolare. The label explains of the latter, “The Popolare became an instant hit and has been performed many times since, always to delighted audiences. This is the live performance from the 1956 festival. The premise of the concerto is that the orchestra believes it is playing Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto, but the pianist thinks he/she is playing the Grieg piano concerto. A musical battle ensues, with the back-and-forth including bits of concertos by Rachmaninov, Gershwin, Addinsell’s ‘Warsaw Concerto,’ and others. It is breathtakingly brilliant and, as you’ll hear, the audience was indeed falling out of their seats.” James Nelson has remastered these vintage recordings, and the whole package, a limited edition of 500 units, is due to ship by the last week of July. Pre-orders placed with Kritzerland usually arrive earlier.
Shipping December 27:
Various Artists, Motown in Mono [Box Set] (Motown/UMe)
UMe marks Motown Records’ 60th Anniversary with a vinyl box set of five classic Motown titles remastered in mono by renowned engineer Kevin Gray. Limited to 2,500 sets available directly from Universal’s uDiscoverMusic store/The Sound of Vinyl, this exclusive collection includes a custom turntable slipmat. All five albums have been newly remastered from their original analog master tapes by Gray at Cohearent Audio, pressed on audiophile-quality 180-gram vinyl, and packaged in deluxe Stoughton tip-on jackets. Titles include: The Four Tops’ Reach Out (1967), The Marvelettes’ Sophisticated Soul (1968), The Miracles’ You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me (1963), Diana Ross & The Supremes’ Reflections (1968), and The Temptations’ The Temptations Sing Smokey (1965). Reflections has never before been commercially released in mono (the original mono LP was a DJ promo), and Sophisticated Soul makes its U.S. mono debut.
Due on January 3, 2020:
The earMusic label takes Deep Purple fans back to the band’s Now What?! tour of 2013 with this release featuring Ian Gillan, Ian Paice, Roger Glover, Steve Morse, and Don Airey. Available on 2 CDs, 3 LPs, or digital formats.