The legendary Black Jazz Records was founded in 1969 in Oakland, California by pianist Gene Russell and percussionist Dick Schory and released its first records in summer of 1971. From then on, it became a home for many emerging African-American jazz performers across a range of styles, including free jazz, soul-jazz, funk, fusion, and spiritual jazz. Though it was only around for four years, Black Jazz Records issued a total of twenty albums, bringing Doug Carn, Cleaveland Eaton, Kellee Patterson, and many more to a new audience.
Gene Russell’s New Direction was the first Black Jazz release and it’s set for release on RSD Drop Day 1 on August 29. Released exclusively for the event, the album will be pressed on clear vinyl with heavy black swirls and presented in a replica of the original album art. Here, pianist Russell is joined by bassist Henry “The Skipper” Franklin and drummer Steve Clover on the majority of the tracks, with Larry Gates taking over on bass on the opening and closing tracks. While it’s more straight-ahead than the Black Jazz releases to come, there are hints of soul jazz and modal jazz that would inform the label’s trajectory.
Others are imminently available, with more planned reissues down the line…
DOGHOUSE RECORDS, a classic 90s house label that released some of DERRICK CARTER and JAZZ-N-GROOVE’s earliest tracks is back with this 4 track house EP from Dallas native & DOLFIN RECORDS’ own BEN HIXON. Deep underground house with a touch of Detroit beatdown.
Amy Oelsner’s homemade pop songs sparkle with these eternal truths: that story-telling is part of being alive, and excavating the past is part of growth. Oelsner, who records as Amy O, is a lifer of the indie-pop underground for whom songwriting is a way of processing the passing of time. Her latest, Shell, brims with poetic granular details of everyday life; it’s her third studio album, and tenth including her many years of home recordings.
Following 2017’s Elastic, Oelsner continues living up to that album’s namesake: Shell similarly stretches with melodies upon melodies. But here there is greater use of space and pace and patience. Perfectly minimal riffs slowly build, ebb, erupt and recoil; guitars and keys layer and swell; there are moments of steady piano-pop, intricate drums and pristine criss-crossing vocal melodies.
At long last, a new album of Eilen originals is arriving in August, 2019! Eilen is calling this her favorite album yet. New sounds. Old sounds. Electric guitar driven rockers. Classic country. Tender ballads. A Pinto Bennett cover. A protest song. Preorder now!