Various Artists -Jazz Haunts & Magic Vaults (review)

Various Artists – Jazz Haunts & Magic Vaults: The New Lost Classics of Resonance Records (Resonance) review

No label has done more to further the legacy of jazz in 2016

It’s been a banner year for Resonance Records. The independent, California jazz label has unearthed a treasure trove of archival material from legendary artists like Bill Evans, Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto, Sarah Vaughan, Larry Young and Shirley Horn. To celebrate, they’ve just issued Jazz Haunts & Magic Vaults, featuring a taste of all the aforementioned artists, plus samplers of future releases by Wes Montgomery, Dennis Coffey, and Gene Harris.

Resonance isn’t merely reissuing classic jazz, they’re adding to the language of the genre, by scouring the four corners of the Earth, in search of rare recordings that help enhance our understanding of some of the greatest artists in jazz.

Take for example, the label’s Bill Evans’ release, Some Other Time. This is the only known studio recording featuring the great Jack DeJohnette on drums. One listen to the propulsive percussion on “How About You?” and you understand the significance of this release (it also marks the first time a Resonance release topped Billboard’s Jazz Albums Chart). This isn’t a bottom-of-the-barrel release, but a missing piece in this hugely influential jazz pianist’s career.

Joao Gilberto and Stan Getz helped kick off the Bossa Nova craze of the 1960’s, but they rarely reunited after their initial pairing. “Aguas De Marco” is a sample of a rare live date, captured on Getz/Gilberto ’76.

There is a real human element that comes through all of this music. It’s as if we were secretly given the keys to a time machine and allowed to go back to when all of these great artists were still among the living. It is a veritable who’s who of classic jazz – from the hard funk of Freddie Hubbard’s “Happiness is Now,” to the Big Band swing of “Low Down” from Thad Jones & the Mel Lewis Orchestra. It’s also great to hear the contrast in singing styles in Shirley Horn and Sarah Vaughan. And the organ playing of Larry Young on “Luny Tune” is incredibly infectious.

Of the unreleased material – “Fuzz” falls outside Resonance’s usual jazz scope. Motown guitarist Dennis Coffey turns in a live extended, funky jam, complete with distorted guitar. The Wes Montgomery track, “The End of a Love Affair,” is of fine quality, and dates back to the start of the guitarist fronting his own band (listen to him quote “In the Hall of the Mountain King”). The Gene Harris track, teamed with the Three Sounds, comes from Groovin’ Hard: Live at the Penthouse (1964-68), and shows off the pianist’s deft playing. All three releases are coming soon from Resonance.

Because they wanted to keep the cost down, one thing that this sampler does not have is the typical, extended liner notes that have become a hallmark of Resonance releases. To get those, you need to track down these original, full-length albums. Because of the high quality of these performances, Jazz Haunts & Magic Vaults actually makes an excellent introduction to classic jazz, and to further listening from Resonance Records. Tony Peters