Jul 15, 2021
The second Record Store Day of 2021 came and went this past weekend, and left in its wake some exciting archival releases from our old friend Zev Feldman and his cohorts at Resonance Records. Two of the albums that dropped on July 17 are of particular note.
The first is In Harmony, a rare duet recording of trumpeter Roy Hargrove and pianist Mulgrew Miller. Both jazz titans passed away far too soon, so to hear them performing at the top of their respective games is a real treat.
Co-produced by Feldman and Larry Clothier with executive producer George Klabin, In Harmony is the first posthumous Hargrove release, prepared with assistance from the Hargrove family and Aida Brandes-Hargrove, President of Roy Hargrove Legacy. Recorded in front of approving audiences at Merkin Hall in New York City (January 15, 2006) and Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania (November 9, 2007), the standards dominated sets go a long way toward further cementing the legacies of Hargrove (gone in 2018 at the age of 49) and Miller (who passed away in 2013 at the age of 57).
The second release of importance is Understanding, a 3 lp set of lengthy unreleased performances by drummer Roy Brooks, who assembled a crack band of Woody Shaw, Carlos Garnett, Cecil McBee and Harold Mabern for the live recording.
The project came about as a desire by Reel to Real Recordings to make a positive contribution to Black Lives Matter and was produced with the cooperation of McBee, Garnett and the estates of Roy Brooks, Harold Mabern and Woody Shaw. In his younger days in Detroit, Brooks started off drumming with Yusef Lateef. He played with Horace Silver from 1959-64, including on the classic album Song for My Father; in 1963 he released his first album as a leader.
Following this he freelanced in New York City through the 1960s and early 1970s, playing with Lateef again (1967-70), Sonny Stitt, Lee Morgan, Dexter Gordon, Chet Baker, Junior Cook, Blue Mitchell, Charles McPherson, Pharoah Sanders (1970), Wes Montgomery, Dollar Brand, Jackie McLean, James Moody (1970-72), Charles Mingus (1972-73), and Milt Jackson. His 1970 album The Free Slave featured Cecil McBee and Woody Shaw. Later in 1970 he joined Max Roach's ensemble M'Boom, and in 1972 put together the ensemble The Artistic Truth. You can read more out Roy Brooks and the importance of this release in Brad Faberman’s timely article in the New York Times.
Zev will also give us a sneak peak into other releases coming later this year, especially The Complete Live at the Lighthouse, the 4 1/2 hours of live music recorded by Lee Morgan at the California nightclub over a series of weekend dates in July 1970.