Spiritual jazz, soul jazz, black jazz, free jazz: these terms emerged in the late 60s / early 70s to describe a moment in music that was being increasingly defined by the rife socio-political climes surrounding the jazz world. Some of these recordings have gone on to such adoration, they eclipse the decades of foundational jazz that precede it; others languish in obscurity and are quickly forgotten, only to be dredged up by discerning sound seekers like the gang at UK’s Jazzman Records. This first volume of the Spiritual Jazz series was originally released in 2008, collecting 12 sides of avant-garde and politically-charged soul jazz by scene fixtures from the American underground and beyond. From Egyptian drummer Salah Ragab to third-string Arkestra bassist Ronnie Boykins, none of these artists will likely be familiar even to the most seasoned heads, let alone household names. As such, many of the original pressings from whence these recordings originally appeared are now impossibly rare - Jazzman does the deep digging (and licensing) here so you don’t have to. The series has since grown to become one of the most reliable surveys of this music and its various strains plucked from the worldwide jazz diaspora, and volume 1 is a near-perfect primer for anyone humbly looking to expand their jazz horizons. Check out James Tatum Trio Plus’ neutralizing “Introduction,” Morris Wilson Beau Bailey Quintet’s funky “Paul's Ark,” Hastings Street Jazz Experience’s widescreen “Ja Mil” or The Frank Derrick Total Experience’s self-explanatory “No Jive” for a taste. Limited double vinyl repress with remastered audio and extensive liner notes executed in signature Jazzman style, recommended.
- black double vinyl pressing
- remastered 2019 pressing, originally released in 2008
- housed in gatefold sleeve w/ extensive liner notes
- limited edition of 1000
- music label: Jazzman 2020
reviewed by nick nightingale 10/2019