Holiday Releases: Legacy Recordings Box Sets, EW&F, Nina Simone and more



LEGACY RECORDINGS LOGO Legacy Recordings logo. Division of SONY Music Entertainment.  (PRNewsFoto/Legacy Recordings) NEW YORK, NY UNITED STATES

Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of  Sony Music Entertainment, is giving music fans early inspiration for the holiday shopping season this year, announcing a great assortment of iconic jazz, pop, rock, blues and soul artists to be showcased in the next round of  The Complete Albums Collections, a new product line for serious listeners offering new releases throughout the year available exclusively through

  Newly designed box sets containing the original album catalogs of Sony Music Artists have been created especially for The Complete Albums Collections line and will be available starting September 13, just in time for the 2011 holiday season.  

The diverse lineup of artists being featured includes: ELO, Earth, Wind & Fire,  Dexter Gordon,  Woody Shaw,  Nina Simone,  Paul Desmond,  Billie Holiday,  Judas Priest, Dave Brubeck Quartet,  Harry Nilsson, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report and  Taj Mahal. Each of the sets offers music fans and collectors the chance to own complete official discographies of classic albums on CD (with many out of print and rare titles finally available).

 Individual discs come sleeved in 5×5 mini-jacket reproductions of the original album cover art alongside a stand-alone booklet with discographic information and photos, all housed in a beautifully packaged clamshell box.  The Complete Albums Collections will showcase a diverse selection of iconic artists each month, offering fans and collectors a rare opportunity to own complete classic discographies on CD (with bonus tracks and rarities).

The Complete Albums Collections are available exclusively on, the first online daily deals site created for music fans by Sony Music Entertainment. PopMarket offers the hottest daily deals on premium music, rare collectible albums, boxed sets and memorabilia. Free membership gives music fans unprecedented access to hot deals on the coolest music.

SEPTEMBER 13  9  England’s Electric Light Orchestra, better known to its fans as ELO, went from cult status to arena-level superstardom in the 1970s, evolving from eclectic classically-influenced prog-rockers to state-of-the-art hitmakers. At the peak of their popularity, they were one of the world’s biggest-selling recording acts, and also one of the most unusual.

Combining rock instrumentation with a full string section, ELO couldn’t help but stand out, both musically and visually.  Each album features rare bonus tracks, including numerous alternate versions and unreleased tracks, and includes such enduring ELO hits as “Can’t Get It Out of  My Head,” “Evil Woman,” “Telephone Line,” “Livin’ Thing,” “Sweet Talkin’ Woman,” “Mr. Blue Sky,” “Don’t Bring Me Down” and “Hold on Tight.”

915 newly mastered CD encompassing their astonishing recording career on Columbia Records plus a bonus disc of rarities, instrumentals and unreleased tracks supervised by EW&F’s founder and spiritual guide  Maurice White.  Earth, Wind & Fire’s horn-powered hit machine represents the best in pop melodies, harmonizing voices, funky syncopation and rhythms of the world.  

The set includes: 15 of the band’s classic albums, newly mastered for superior sound, original LP jackets, meticulously reproduced, a 40-page booklet with photos and commentary by  Maurice White.

 The Columbia Masters also features a newly compiled bonus disk with two unreleased tracks from the Touch the World sessions, two scintillating live performances (“Getaway” and “In the Stone”) recorded in  Rio de Janeiro  in 1980 and rare instrumental versions of “Let’s Groove” and “Boogie Wonderland” (with The Emotions).

9″There are no second acts in American lives” wrote  F. Scott Fitzgerald, a man who never would have put those words to paper had he lived to see  Dexter Gordon’s triumphant late career revival.  Actually, the great tenor saxophonist had a number of “second acts” during his lifetime. Yet the late 1980’s flourish that found Gordon (1923-1990) an international star and an Oscar nominee could hardly be topped for a dramatic finale.

With a remarkable career spanning over five decades, Gordon may have come of age in the Swing Era, but he made his mark during the subsequent rise of bebop, translating  Charlie Parker’s revolutionary rhythmic and harmonic language to the tenor saxophone. In 1976, Gordon was signed by Columbia Records following several years in  Europe, who documented him on the celebratory Homecoming: Live At The Village Vanguard.

Gordon’s ultra hip manner and regal bearing made him a natural for films, and in 1986, he starred in Round Midnight in a role loosely based on both  Bud Powell  and  Lester Young, ultimately garnering a deserving Academy Award nomination.9Encountering the name  Woody Shaw  (1944-1989) in print or conversation, it’s not uncommon for a phrase much like ” the last original trumpet voice” to follow.

For Shaw was just such a player: a daring horn stylist with an utterly personal and technically advanced approach that has yet to be matched since his untimely death.   After a memorable stint with the hard bop maestro, Horace Silver, Shaw leaped head first towards the post bop firmament, collaborating with such visionary player/composers as Chick Corea,  Herbie Hancock,  McCoy Tyner,  Andrew Hill, and  Larry Young.

 On such landmark  Columbia  albums as Woody lll and For Sure! — projects that represented a career peak for Shaw in terms of both personal creativity and commercial exposure — his impressive compositions and arranging skills for expanded ensembles are brought to the fore. Let  Miles Davis  have the last word about Shaw: “Now there’s a great trumpet player.

He can play different from all of them.”9As unclassifiable as she was forthright,  Nina Simone  (1933-2003) went her own way;  it was up to her devoted audience to keep pace with her stylistic wanderings.  Defiantly outspoken and willfully eclectic in her music, Simone electrified listeners with artfully intense performances.9For the bulk of the 1950s and 60’s,  Paul Desmond  had one of the sweetest gigs in jazz history.

 As the featured alto saxophonist in the Dave Brubeck quartet, Desmond was a central figure in the most commercially successful jazz ensemble of the time. The sole horn in the group, Desmond attracted considerable critical and public acclaim for his supremely lyrical, sublimely melodic playing.

His dulcet phrases couched in what he himself dubbed a “dry martini” tone, Desmond’s alto was a defining sound of the era.9Rarely has an individual player so radically transformed an already established band as  Jaco Pastorius  (1951-1987) did upon joining Weather Report in 1976.

 Not only did the electric bassist set a new direction for the band, leading it to unprecedented commercial success, he also rewrote the rules for his instrument. His work with Weather Report is among the very finest of his truncated career.  It may be a long while before we encounter the likes of a musical unit such as Weather Report, or an audaciously brilliant player akin to Pastorius, again.

9The Mahavishnu Orchestra, in its original incarnation, lasted just four years, but in that brief time, the pioneering quintet set both the template and the high-water mark for fusion music. No band ever rocked as hard in a jazzy place as guitarist  John McLaughlin’s charging ensemble.

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