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Craft Recordings Expands Its Original Jazz Classic Series With 5 Iconic Reissues

Titles available now for pre-order on 180-gram vinyl and HD audio include In Orbit, The Quest, Monk’s Music, Blue’s Moods, and Latin Kick.

Craft Recordings Original Jazz Classic Series Vinyl Reissues 2024

Craft Recordings has been extremely active over the past 24 months releasing a flurry of jazz and blues reissues and it has been genuinely hard to find a bad release based on what we’ve been sent or purchased ourselves.

The label has announced the final batch of 2024 reissues for its Original Jazz Classics series, beloved by collectors and critics alike. The latest reissues include Clark Terry Quartet & Thelonious Monk’s In Orbit, Mal Waldron’s The Quest, Thelonious Monk Septet’s Monk’s Music, Blue Mitchell’s Blue’s Moods, and Cal Tjader’s Latin Kick. All of these titles can be pre-ordered today.

As with previous releases, these new reissues will boast lacquers cut from the original tapes (AAA) by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio, 180-gram vinyl pressed at RTI, and tip-on jackets, replicating the original artwork. All titles will also be released digitally in 192/24 HD audio. Original Jazz Classics was created in 1982 (under Fantasy Records) and relaunched in 2023. 

This audiophile series has thus far reissued a staggering 850+ jazz albums, drawing from its dazzling jazz catalog, which has grown to include thousands of artist-defining titles originally released by Prestige, Galaxy, Milestone, Riverside, Debut, Contemporary, Jazzland, and Pablo.

Clark Terry Quartet & Thelonious Monk – In Orbit 

Trumpeter Clark Terry plays the flugelhorn on this 1958 release, which earned much attention for one important, flattering detail: Monk appears here as a sideman. The other support talent is nothing to sneeze at: Cannonball Adderley’s frequent bassist Sam Jones and Philly Joe Jones, whom Bill Evans raved about being his favorite drummer.

At this point Clark was at a peak, having become a frequent presence on the stage with Count Basie and Duke Ellington. To that end, AllMusic commented that In Orbit was, true to its title, “A spirited, boppish date.” Monk fans will revel in the more rarified track “Let’s Cool One” (the pianist’s only composition here). Other standouts include Terry’s silky-smooth “One Foot in the Gutter” and the wistful “Argentia.”

$38.98 at Amazon (Available August 30, 2024)

Mal Waldron – The Quest 

Back in 1962, Billboard mused that this album from Waldron, one of Billie Holiday’s go-to pianists, “Contains two ingredients that show his deep-rooted talent, melody, and swing.” An alluring mix of avant-garde and hard bop, the sextet is a well-rounded showcase of talent featuring Eric Dolphy on alto sax, Booker Ervin on tenor sax, Ron Carter on cello, Joe Benjamin on double bass, and Charlie Persip on drums. 

Even after decades, Waldron’s compositions such as the sentimental “Duquility” and escapist “Warm Canto” remain unparalleled in their willing transcendence of genre and expectations. Meanwhile, “Fire Waltz” is a bright, cerebral-bop delight.

$38.98 at Amazon (Available September 27, 2024)

Thelonious Monk Septet – Monk’s Music

This swoon-worthy, seminal album in the Monk cannon was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001. The 1957 release by the piano-great also features the talents of Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax), Art Blakey (drums), and John Coltrane (tenor sax) to glorious effect. 

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The album, wrote Pitchfork, “Helped define the future of jazz and the mind of Monk.” His songs “Ruby, My Dear,” a study in nostalgia, and in contrast, the lively, confident “Well You Needn’t” are highlights in Monk Music’s aural field of dreams.

$38.98 at Amazon (Available October 25, 2024)

Blue Mitchell – Blue’s Moods

Upon Blue’s Moods release in 1960, DownBeat observed that the work “reflects the attainment of a measure of self-assurance and restraint, hallmarks…of the mature artist.” To that end, this release from Mitchell (on both trumpet and coronet) continues to be a classic, thanks to leaning into the spirited ease that captures hard-bop’s spirited, groove-driven ease. 

Joined by a solid rhythm section (pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Roy Brooks). Blue’s Moods exudes warmth and curiosity in covers such as the chilled-out, sauntering “Sweet Pumpkin” and the edgier, life-affirming “Avars.” Blue’s Moods is as seemingly effortless as effortless gets.

$38.98 at Amazon (Available November 15, 2024)

Cal Tjader – Latin Kick

As legend has it, Tjader’s music has been sampled in more than 200 tracks. There’s a reason why: His pioneering work as a bandleader and (mostly) vibraphonist in the Latin jazz genre is an irresistible entwining of Afro-Cuban rhythms and jazz fundamentals that immediately transports you to another time and place.

“Everything cooks in a bright yet disciplined manner,” AllMusic said of Latin Kick, his unforgettable release from 1956. “Tjader’s elliptical, swinging vibes preside genially over the ensemble.” This is true: You’d have to try pretty hard to not feel a contact high while listening to effervescent tracks, such as his cha-cha take on Cole Porter’s “I Love Paris,” and an ironically carefree “Lover Come Back to Me,” a cover of the Oscar Hammerstein II song.

$38.98 at Amazon (Available December 18, 2024)

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. ORT

    June 25, 2024 at 1:25 pm

    “I think the music situation today has reached the point where it isn’t necessary for categories. I think what people hear in music is either agreeable to the ear or not. And if this is so, if music is agreeable to my ear, why does it have to have a category? It either sounds good or it doesn’t” – Duke Ellington

    And now? Now you has Jazz.


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