In 2007, Chicago's independent record store and mail order company Dusty Groove got into the record business in a new way by starting a reissue imprint of their own. Their first seven titles were all classics; some well-known, some all but unheard of except by cratediggers willing to mole their way into grimy secondhand shops, dingy and damp basements, and attend sketchy yard sales to unearth treasure.
From Melvin Jackson's Funky Skull to Dorothy Ashby's Rubaiyat; from Jorge Ben's ForÃ§a Bruta to the Dells' Sing Dionne Warwicke's Greatest Hits; from Chakachas' Jungle Fever to jazz pianist Pete Jolly's Seasons and La Clave's incredible self-titled album, their roster has been nothing if not eclectic and impressive.
This month sees the American re-release of producer/arranger/composer David Axelrod's Seriously Deep, from 1975. Originally released on Polydor, the album was produced by Cannonball Adderley and Jimmy Bowen! Session players include saxophonist Ernie Watts, Joe Sample on Fender Rhodes and other keyboards, drummer Leon Ndugu Chancler, bassist Jim Hughart, trombonist Jimmy Cleveland, percussionist Mailto Correa, guitarist Billy Fender, and a small string section among others. (We'll review the album next week.) Axe handled the arranging and conducting chores since he didn't have to produce. It is easily the least esoteric -- and the least excessive -- album he'd released up 'til then, but that's far from a bad thing. It's a true jazz-funk set. Seriously Deep has been a sought-after item for years because of its stomping opening cut, "Miles Away," though the entire album, with its propulsive rhythms, is a beat-miner's paradise.
Later in the spring, Dusty Groove has also announced the re-issue of Gal Costa's wonderful Gal album Stateside on CD. That marks a first. Fans of Brazil's -- and Costa's -- Tropicalia period will no doubt know this legendary and wildly psychedelic offering, but may not own it because it was previously only available as an import with a prohibitively high price tag. Dusty Groove is keeping everything else close to the vest at this point, but that's just as well. Each surprise has been a welcomed one. Here are a couple of samples from the import issue to whet your appetite.
Pulsars & Quasars