Reliving the Classics
DJ/musician Theo Parrish has collected 12 of his favorite Black Jazz Records tracks for his latest compilation, Black Jazz Signature. In the 1970s, Black Jazz Records was a short run record label operating for only six years. Nonetheless, in that brief span of time Black Jazz Records was able to create a reputation for itself. History has heralded it as being a beacon to artists interested in an alternative to traditional jazz during that era, and many DJs and jazz enthusiasts the world over agree.
The first track presented is “Trance Dance” by Doug Carn. Theo Parrish made a wise choice leading with this song. It represents the jazz roots the label is famous for and is also flavored with some funk and soul, two attributes that go hand in hand with the label. The same cannot be said though for the following song, “My Favorite Things” by Gene Russell. From the get go, we are introduced to what sounds like musicians fumbling with their instruments and, at the moment it seems they are getting it together, random plucking and banging occurs like an epileptic in a silverware drawer.
One-third of the songs chosen by Theo Parrish are from the group The Awakening. Their first offering, “March On,” incorporates a funk/soul feel. In the middle of the song, the band gives the drummer some room and in that space he delivers one hell of a solo lasting for a minute-plus. “Convulsions” and “Jupiter” are the next two Awakening tracks, both displaying the same amount of vigor and technique as the first. “Mirage” is the group’s final song represented here, which further displays why Parrish chose to include several cuts by this ensemble.
Calvin Keys, Rudolph Jonson and Walter Bishop Jr. are three other artist whose songs are also included. Fans of jazz will find this to be a treasure trove of songs representing a type of music that is hard to come by nowadays. For those not interested in the genre, this album might give you a different impression.