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Sackville Records: Return to Sackville

The mixing session for Anthony Davis' Of Blues and Dreams, fall 1978, in Toronto. L to R: Anthony Davis, technician in background unknown), Phil Sheridan (recording engineer), John Norris, Buddy Tate, Bill Smith (producer)

Even though the Toronto-based Sackville Records was one of North America’s most prescient labels in the 1970s and early ’80s, releasing pivotal recordings by artists ranging from Doc Cheatham to Anthony Braxton, much of its groundbreaking creative music catalog by then little-known artists such as Anthony Davis, Julius Hemphill and George Lewis, remained unavailable on CD. Label co-owners John Norris and Bill Smith remedied the situation this fall by inaugurating The Sackville Collection with the release of Don Pullen’s Solo Piano Record in October and Karl Berger and Dave Holland’s All Kinds of Time this month.

Norris and Smith have devised a direct marketing strategy for The Sackville Collection. Each of the nine titles will be released in a limited edition of 1,000; they will be available only through Sackville (telephone/fax: 416.465.9093), and can be bought individually or on a subscription basis. A title will be issued every two months, extending the series until March 2002, when Braxton’s classic Trio and Duet will be released. With post-paid prices of $16 U.S. per title (including Hemphill’s two-CD Roi Boye & The Gotham Minstrels, to be released next May) and $130 U.S. for a subscription (subscribers get a bonus copy of Archie Shepp’s I Know About the Life), Smith still thinks the series will have some retail visibility, particularly in Europe.

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