IN + OUT RECORDS Announces U.S. Nat'l Distribution Thru Allegro Music Group, 5/6
IN + OUT RECORDS, one of Europe's independent jazz labels, announced today, May 6, that there will now be a U.S. National distribution through the Allegro Music Group. Scheduled new releases for the distribution include Billy Cobham, Odean Pope, Sun Ra and James Blood Ulmer.
For over 20 years, IN + OUT RECORDS, has released both American and European artists. The objective of the label, which was founded by Frank Kleinschmidt in Freiburg, Germany in 1988, is to produce sound and video recordings of innovative contemporary jazz music using state-of-the-art technology. Named after the classic Blue Note album by saxophone great Joe Henderson, IN + OUT RECORDS' aim has consistently remained to make records of similarly groundbreaking music, which it has faithfully done for the past 22 years, beginning with its first releases by former Henderson trumPeter Woody Shaw (In My Own Sweet Way – his final recording under his own name) and bassist Buster Williams (Something More featuring Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock) on through its latest releases by three more master musicians, Billy Cobham, Odean Pope and James Blood Ulmer.
Drummer Billy Cobham has had a long and successful history with IN + OUT since the start of the 21st, having previously recorded five albums for the Company Beginning with 2001's critically acclaimed The Art of Three which returned the drummer to his acoustic jazz roots in the company of pianist Kenny Barron and former CTI label mate, bassist Ron Carter. Two more straight ahead records, The Art of Five and Art of Four followed with the label, teaming the leader with saxophonist Donald Harrison, trumpeter Guy Barker and pianists James Williams, Eric Reed and JulIan Joseph. At the same time Cobham broke new ground with his innovative group CultureMix, a highly versatile internationalist aggregation featuring Danish guitarist Per Gade and English steel drummer Junior Gill among others, blending fusion, jazz-rock and a variety of ethnic elements on two exciting albums Culture Mix and Colours.
Cobham's latest effort for IN + OUT, Meeting Of The Spirits – A Celebration of the Mahavishnu Orchestra (IOR CD 77086-2) Street Date 5/11/10, finds the pioneering fusion drummer playing the music for which he first earned his considerable reputation, but true to his forward looking nature, in a completely new context, i.e. as big band drummer. The brainchild of producer Olaf Stötzler, the date features Cobham powering the HR Big Band playing music director Colin Town's daring arrangements of compositions by guitarist John McLaughlin. The Hessische Rundfunk (Hessian Broadcasting) Big Band is internationally renowned for its courageous concerts pairing the orchestra with a surprising variety of guests playing everything classic big band to avant garde jazz to Gamelan music from Bali and contemporary sounds with DJ's and electronics. Cobham's indefatigable drumming energizes the group as it reinvents compositions from Inner Mounting Flame, Birds of Fire and other Mahavishnu classics on a record McLaughlin describes as "a dream come true."
Odean Pope, somewhat well known for his decades long tenure with the great Max Roach, remains relatively unrecognized for his unrelenting creative work as a saxophonist, bandleader, composer and arranger. Pope, who first came to notice as a member of the cooperative Philadelphia fusion quartet Catalyst gained international acclaim for his tenor work with the Max Roach Quartet, but garnered little attention for his own inventive ensembles, notably his "power trio" featuring electric bass and drums and Saxophone Choir, a large ensemble utilizing eight saxophones ranging from soprano to baritone plus an acoustic rhythm section, which has recorded for both Soul Note and Half Note Records. A truly imaginative improvisor whose mastery of split tones and multiphonics is virtually unequalled by any player in jazz today, he is also a talented composer and arranger, whether writing for small or large ensembles.
Pope makes his IN + OUT label debut with his Odeans List (IOR CD 77102-2) Street Date 5/11/10, a compelling demonstration of the man's multitude of talents and arguably his best effort to date. Fronting an allstar octet featuring fellow saxophonists Walter Blanding and James Carter (on tenor and tenor and baritone, respectively), trumpeters Terell Stafford and David Weiss, pianist George Burton, bassist Lee Smith (the father of Christian McBride) and the great Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums through a program of eight of his own originals, plus his late Catalyst bandmate, pianist Eddie Green's beautiful "Little Miss Lady" and the Jimmy McHugh and Frank Loesser Coltrane associated standard "Say It (Over And Over Again)" that combines the smooth elegance of a big band with the fiery improvisations of a small group. To quote album annotator Archie Shepp, "Mr. Pope is due credit for the work he has done in bringing music and art to the community at large. This album is another triumph performed by some of the best musicians on the scene today."
James Blood Ulmer is another longtime IN + OUT RECORDS regular, the label first issuing his earliest date as leader, Revealing and then recording his Blues All Night, while the business was still in its infancy. The eclectic guitarist/vocalist has described his most recent effort for the company, In And Out (IOR CD 77100-2) Street Date 5/11/10, as "the best damn record I ever made … certainly the best attempt I've made yet at putting all the strains of my music together on one." The "strains" of Blood's music are the result of a career that has found him taking the lessons learned playing soul jazz with Big John Patton, hard bop with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, funk with Rashied Ali's Funky Freeboppers and avant garde with Ornette Coleman's Prime Time and mixing them up with the traditions of America's many beloved blues greats and the rock revolutions of Jimi Hendrix. The result is a truly unique and wide-ranging style that is the most intriguingly personal in jazz today.
On his most recent release, a studio effort featuring his trio with Mark Peterson on acoustic and electric bass and Aubrey Dayle returning behind the drums, Ulmer pays tribute to the label that has long allowed him to pursue his creativity by titling the album In And Out after it. The designation aptly describes the program of music on the date, ten originals by the leader which range from easy moving blues and swinging jazz to melodious soul and dissonant sound experiments that all bear the unmistakable of sound and stamp of one of the most innovative artists to ever play the guitar.
Long prized as collector's items in the U.S., the IN + OUT catalogue features major releases by many jazz greats, living and deceased, often neglected by American record companies. Among some of the label's most notable records are dates by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy, Roberta Gambarini, Roots (the saxophone quartet featuring Arthur Blythe, Chico Freeman, Nathan Davis and Benny Golson or Sam Rivers) and Toots Thielmans. Upcoming releases from the label include Johnny Griffin Live At Ronnie Scott's (his final date featuring Roy Hargrove and Billy Cobham), the Sun Ra Arkestra (under the direction of Marshall Allen) Live At The Paradox and Ratko Zjaca Continental Talk (with Randy Brecker, John Patitucci and Steve Gadd). All soon to be available through Allegro.