Two new vinyl titles are being reissued November 3rd as part of Jazz Dispensary‘s Top Shelf Series: Azar Lawrence’s Bridge Into The New Age, the long out of print spiritual jazz masterwork originally released on Prestige, and Pucho & The Latin Soul Brothers’ incendiary Latin-funk boogaloo get-down, Jungle Fire!, also from thePrestige catalog. This will be the first time in over 30 years these releases will be made available on 180-gram vinyl and the first-ever vinyl reissue of Lawrence‘s material.
In celebration of Bridge Into The New Age‘s reissue release, Lawrence is confirmed to perform two shows at Jazz Standard in New Yorktomorrow (10/24)and Wednesday (10/25), followed by a show at Zebulon in Los Angeleson Sunday, November 12. The Los Angeles show will be DJ’d by Aquarium Drunkard and Lawrence will be playing the album in its entirety backed by an all-star band: Steve Turre (trombone), Benito Gonzalez (piano), Roy McCurdy (drums), Jeff Littleton(Bass) and special guests. More info about both releases below.
As with all Top Shelf releases, both albums have been remastered from the original analog tapes, pressed on 180-gram audiophile-quality vinyl at Quality Record Pressings (QRP), and housed in faithfully reproduced, old-school style replica jackets. Each LP will have a limited-edition worldwide run of 1,000 copies, complete with a Jazz Dispensary “Authorized Dealer” window cling. The titles will also be available at streaming outlets, mastered for iTunes, and in Hi-Res digital (96/24 and 192/24).
The Top Shelf Series launched March 31st with Rusty Bryant‘ sincendiary soul-jazz statement, Fire Eater and Charles Kynard‘s deeply funkyAfro-Disiac. Followed by reissues of Joe Henderson & Alice Coltrane‘s The Elements and Gary Bartz NTU Troop‘s Harlem Bush Music – Uhuru this past July. Recently The 3 Pieces’ Vibes of Truth and Funk Inc.’s self-titled album shared the spotlight. The album-centric program, which is focused on reintroducing rare and previously unavailable titles, offered eight releases in 2017 with more on the way for 2018.
More about Azar Lawrence and Bridge Into The New Age:
Embarking upon his musical journey as a very young man, Azar Lawrence honed his craft among musicians who would be remembered as larger than life: Miles Davis, Elvin Jones, and John Coltrane to name a few. Lawrence composed, produced and performed with acclaimed jazz luminary McCoy Tyner for over five priceless yearsand for three years with the late great Elvin Jones, two-thirds of the classic John Coltrane Quartet made an indelible mark on Lawrence‘s life and music, imbuing him with a spirituality that would last a life time.
While still a teenager, he began playing with legends and, at just 17, he played his first professional gigs abroad with Clark Terry and Muddy Waters. By age 21, Lawrence had worked with War, Ike & Tina Turner, and Charles Watts 103rd St Band. Lawrence would follow that playing for almost the next decade with two Coltrane alumni, drummer Elvin Jones and pianist McCoy Tyner. In 1974, Lawrence recorded with Miles Davis on Dark Magus: Live at Carnegie Hall, performed on Marvin Gaye‘s Here My Dear and saw his compositions recorded by Stanley Turrentine and Earth, Wind & Fire, among many others.
A powerful musical force not to be slowed by the relentless gigging, before the age of 25, Lawrence recorded and released several albums of his own: Bridge Into The New Age, People Moving, Summer Solstice, and Shadow Dancing.
An absolute masterwork collection from Lawrence (tenor sax), recorded during a fertile period for adventurous jazz, Bridge Into The New Age is an expansive, forward-leaning, spiritual-tinged outlier in the Prestige Records catalog for its ambitious embrace of a large lineup, including heavyweights Julian Priester (tb),Woody Shaw (trumpet), Ray Straughter and Hadley Caliman (flute), Arthur Blythe(alto sax), Joe Bonner (piano), Clint Houston and John Heard (bass), Billy Hart(drums), Leon “Ndugu” Chancler, Mtume, Guillerme Franco, and Kenneth Nash(percussion), Woody Murray (vibraphone), and the inimitable Jean Carn (vocals). Sonically the sound is close to a recording from the Black Jazz label – richly textured, conversational, and powerfully intimate, with knotty unison lines bending and twisting around Carn‘s supple yet strident delivery, especially on the title track. Elsewhere, the group stretches out and explores the ethereal, free-flowing world of “The Beautiful and Omnipresent Love,“ and propels itself mightily through the modal-funk burners,“Forces of Nature” and “Warriors of Peace.“
This is the first-ever vinyl reissue of Lawrence‘s masterful statement, Bridge Into The New Age (recorded in 1974 at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA). An essential addition to any jazz collection, this landmark recording proudly displays its ancestral roots as a forbearer of the current jazz revival as embodied by Kamasi Washington and the West Coast Get Down. A transcendent and powerful statement.
More about Pucho & The Latin Soul Brothers and Jungle Fire!:
A pivotal figure in the Latin boogaloo movement that fused Latin, jazz, and funk styles during the sixties, Harlem-born percussionist and timbalero Henry “Pucho” Brownled the Latin Soul Brothers through seven fiery, hard-grooving albums for the Prestige label that showed off the depth and breadth of the all-star group’s musical stylings, covering artists as diverse as James Brown, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, Duke Ellington, and the Beatles.
One of the greatest, most sought-after albums by legendary combo Pucho and the Latin Soul Brothers, Jungle Fire! lives up to its name with five extended, incendiary instrumental cuts. Joined by hard-grooving cohorts Neal Creque (electric piano),Bernard Purdie (drums), Billy Butler (guitar), Eddie and Al Pazant (horns), Joe Armstrong (congas), and Billy Bivins (vibes), Pucho demonstrates why he’s considered the absolute master when it comes to combining Latin, soul, funk, and jazz into a signature, danceable sound. With cuts like the group’s incendiary take on the Temptations‘ hit “Cloud 9,“ to the buoyant swagger of Gladys Knight & The Pips’“Got Myself A Good Man,“ the drum-driven double team of Pucho and Purdiedelivers a crackling backbone of groove throughout. Producers take note: the aforementioned track contains the drum break used in the Chemical Brothers’ 1997 hit, “Block Rockin’ Beats.“