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Joel Dorn Starts Hyena Records

On Sept. 17, reissues of records by Cannonball Adderley (pictured) and Rashaan Roland Kirk will mark the debut of Hyena Records, a label spearheaded by producer Joel Dorn. Hyena is Dorn’s fourth record label, following his Night Records, 32 Records and Label M. In the past, Dorn’s labels have released both reissues as well as new records by artists like Leon Parker, James Blood Ulmer and the Jazz Passengers.

The first four Hyena releases reissue Night Record’s first albums, now hard-to-find discs that have achieved “minor classic” status: Adderley’s Radio Nights, Roland Kirk’s The Man Who Cried Fire, (and on Oct. 1) Eddie Harris’ A Tale of Two Cities and Les McCann’s Les is More. The defining characteristic of these albums is they were all recorded live without the artists being made aware of the rolling tape. “This is how the music actually went down,” Dorn commented. “It’s a living history of what happened in the clubs on those nights.”

Radio Nights features eight tracks taken from two weeks of performances in 1967 and ’68 at New York City’s Half Note. Three tunes, including a take on “Fiddler on the Roof,” feature the altoist with his quintet, which was comprised of Nat Adderley on trumpet, Joe Zawinul on piano, Sam Jones on bass and either Louis Hayes or Roy McCurdy on drums. “Work Song,” “The Song My Lady Sings,” and “Unit Seven” are sextet performances that include Charles Lloyd on tenor saxophone. And Adderley plays with a quartet on “Stars Fell on Alabama.” A bonus montage closes the reissue, drawn from performances at the Keystone Korner in San Francisco.

The Man Who Cried Fire showcases Roland Kirk’s many talents and has him playing clarinet, saxophone, flute, and manzello, as well as dispensing humorous commentary to the audience. “Multi-Horn Variations” features Roland Kirk in a solo setting and playing three horns simultaneously. And on “You Did It, You Did It,” he yells through his flute. Singer Jon Hendricks shares the spotlight with Roland Kirk on “Mr. P.C.” The final track, “A Visit From the Blues,” was Roland Kirk’s last recording, captured just two months before his death in 1977.

A Tale of Two Cities captures Eddie Harris on two different dates. The first (where the saxophonist is joined by Jack Wilson on piano, Herbie Lewis on bass and Eddie Marshall on drums) comes from a 1978 gig at the Keystone Korner where Harris played standards such as “Cherokee” and “Lover Man” as well as his own “Listen Here.” The remaining tracks come from a 1983 performance in Chicago with Harris on electric sax, reed trumpet, piano and vocals in addition to his tenor. The rhythm section on this date consisted of pianist Rob Schneiderman, bassist Louis Spears and drummer Tootie Heath.

Les is More draws from vocalist/keyboardist Les McCann’s personal archive of 500 tapes of live performances. With his 1967 trio, McCann plays “Maleah” and “With These Hands,” as well as “Samia,” which features Eddie Harris. Also included are excerpts of Los Angeles appearances by Adderley, Stanley Turrentine and Carmen McRae and a track featuring Roberta Flack. And a version of “Clapformation” features a sax solo by a young Gerald Albright.

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Originally Published