Various Artists: Black Jazz Records: The Complete Singles (Real Gone) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, June 25th, 2024  

Various Artists

Black Jazz Records: The Complete Singles

Real Gone

Jun 03, 2024 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Founded in 1969, Black Jazz Records was formed as an alternative to earlier jazz, with a roster comprised solely of African American artists and a focus on political and spiritual-influenced material. Following a reissue of all 20 of the label’s albums that were originally released between 1970-75, the 15 tracks featured on The Complete Singles collects all 10 of the singles released by Black Jazz.

The first single, from pianist Gene Russell (who founded the label along with percussionist Dick Schory), presents Russell’s composition “Making Bread” (a catchy track with crossover appeal) and Neal Hefti’s “Black Orchid,” with both creating an upbeat vibe to kick off the label’s single series. It’s easy to imagine how elements of Doug Carn’s “Moon Child” might have appealed to fans of the band Chicago, who leaned a bit more toward jazz, and also how it might have fit nicely on a ’70s movie soundtrack. Echoes of “Theme from Shaft” propel the funky “Chi-Town Theme,” but Cleveland Eaton makes it his own thing. The vocals of Kellee Patterson are featured on some of the collection’s lighter tracks, including the sweet “Be All Your Own,” and stellar contributions from Walter Bishop, Jr., Rudolph Johnson, and others make this a solid set that’s well worth the compilation.

After years of building its legend on the collectors’ market, the music of The Complete Singles is finally ready to reach a new audience, and the accompanying booklet provides valuable background notes. Those who have already picked up the Black Jazz album reissues will likely want to round out their collections with this release, particularly for its single edits, and anyone new to the Black Jazz experience will find it a great place to start. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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