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Rhino Reissues Ornette, Bill Evans, and More

Look at that album cover. Crazy, man, crazy. Hell and damn if it isn’t one of the best ever. It’s the cover of alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman’s 1961 album Ornette!, and its disorienting look goes hand-in-hand with the “out there” music on the disc it covers-music that’s just as good as the artwork. It’s strange that the album is being issued on CD this year for the first time, one of five new CDs in Rhino’s Jazz Masters series.

Originally issued on Atlantic, Ornette! followed Coleman’s seminal free-jazz album, Free Jazz. While both discs feature the free sound, Free Jazz was recorded by a daring, double quartet. Ornette! Finds the Coleman with a single quartet rounded out by pocket trumpeter Don Cherry, drummer Ed Blackwell and bassist Scott LaFaro on bass. Not only does this reissue finally bring this album to CD, but it gives us another cut as a bonus, the 10-minute “Proof Readers.”

The remaining four new additions to the Jazz Masters series are notable as well, even if they don’t sport such striking covers. Taste them again for the first time:

Bill Evans’ You Must Believe in Spring (with bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Eliot Zigmund) was recorded in 1977, but was released posthumously in 1981 on Warner Bros. It comes to CD with three previously unreleased tracks: “Without a Song,” “Freddie Freeloader” and “All of You.”

The Yellowjackets’ eponymous debut also came out on Warner Bros. in 1981 and the reissue includes four bonus demos of non-album tracks: “Imperial Strut,” “Flat Tire,” “Katie” and “Blondie.”

The 1978 tenor team-up Apogee, by saxophonists Pete Christlieb and Warne Marsh was produced by Steely Dan’s core songwriters, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen. The Rhino reissue adds three un-issued cuts to the original’s six: “Lunarcy,” “Love Me” and “How About You?”

The oldest of these five albums, Erroll Garner’s The Great Garner, first came out on Atlantic in 1956 and finds the pianist in the trio format, playing in different configurations with bassists Leonard Gaskin and John Simmons and drummers Charlie Smith and Harold Wing. The reissue includes four bonus tracks: “Perpetual Emotion,” “Trees,” “Lullaby of the Leaves” and “Serenade in Blue.”

Originally Published