Various Artists

Journey to the Dawn: Illuminating Jazz from Theresa Records

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From its 1978 origins until its assets were acquired by the Timeless label in 1991, Allen Pittman's tiny Oakland-based label, Theresa Records, was a home for the kind of deeply soulful jazz grooves most other labels had long since forsaken, generating a series of excellent LPs that inspired and predated the acid jazz movement of the generation to follow. Despite its limited size and distribution, Theresa hardly languished in obscurity -- Pharoah Sanders' Theresa dates -- Journey to the One and Rejoice -- heralded the saxophonist's creative and commercial resurgence, and the label was even the subject of a book, Herman Gray's 1988 Producing Jazz: The Experience of an Independent Record Company. Artfully compiled by Rocco Pandiani and Gilles Peterson, A Journey to the Dawn assembles 11 cuts from Theresa's heyday, delivering a seamless set of soul-jazz that still sounds remarkably contemporary -- highlights include Sanders' club classic "You've Got to Have Freedom," Ed Kelly's "Pippin," Babatunde Lea and Phenomena's "Levels of Consciousness," and Norman Williams with The Bishop (The One Mind Experience)'s "Hip Funk."

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