Search Results for:

ARC

Various Artists

Inner City Review

    A songwriter and studio musician behind troves of soul, rock and R&B records from the late ‘50s onwards, it shines a fresh light on Semper’s influential behind-the-scenes role. He was the creative force behind Hammond organ classic “Makin’ Waves”, the cult 1977 Bay Area funk record “The Perfect Circle”, and a collaborator with the likes of Donny Hathaway, Jimmy Smith and Brenton Wood. It’s the third release on the “reissues and oddities” imprint launched last November by Peterson.

    On “Inner City Review”, Semper is backed by his killer "The" George Semper Orchestra players comprised of the core Merry Clayton band members, as a showcase for their distinctive cosmic funk sound (including two of only three tracks credited to them as a standalone group), featuring drummer Ollie Brown, who would later work with the likes of Minnie Ripperton, The Temptations and Stevie Wonder. Originally released on the obscure SECO Records Hollywood label, only 100 copies were pressed. Gilles bought the record some years ago at Groove Merchants in San Francisco, but only recently posted it on Instagram where it was spotted by George Semper’s son and archivist Joel S. Brockman. The record has been re-mastered directly from the original analogue tapes, and includes new sleeve notes from Brockman. A multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer, acclaimed for his innovative funky organ sound, Semper’s Hammond-playing style was an influence on The Doors and The Rolling Stones. His career saw him cross paths with the likes of Charles Stepney, and – as the co-owner of several influential San Diego venues – presented Frank Zappa’s first professional show, booking him to open for Little Richard and Jimi Hendrix.

    The record features a stellar cast of vocalists, spanning from the then established Jimmy Hayes (of The Persuaders), who graces the uptempo ‘Goody Goody Gumdrops’ and plaintive ‘Queen For A Day’, to the Semper-discovered Lewis Flournoy (aka Robinhood), Flouroy’s stunning, graceful falsetto first featured on a Semper’s 45 by Capitol Records - the the B Side of that 45 "Let's Live and Let Live" (Extended Version) is on ‘Inner City Review.’ These entries are some of the only material Flouroy ever recorded all co-written with Semper and Basey Green. Likewise, Troy "Troiel" Raglin, who features in "The Love Affair" on two romantic soul entries co-written with Semper and Marshal McQueen Jr., was a Semper collaborator who went on to lead the wildly successful Spaceark band three years later. Marshall McQueen, Jr. who wrote the track "You're So Good To Me" recently passed in April 2020. He's most known as writer of Miles Graysons "Stuck In The Mud" but has thousands of compositions and is popularly known.

    Recorded after a formative stint in Las Vegas, where Semper backed the likes of Ray Charles, James Brown and Sammy Davis Jr, “Inner City Review” opened the door for his later work with his Inner City Records label. It was through his years in Vegas that he met some of the players who would go on to feature on the record, including tenor sax player David ii Majall (Parliament, SOS Band, Pointers Sisters) and bass percussionist Basey Green (Nancy Wilson, Carol King, Charles Wright & The Watts, 103rd Street Rhythm Band, Pure Funk).

    An independently-produced and recorded album, in keeping with Semper’s many other small-run private pressed records, Semper used his day-job as a musician to get precious studio time, bagging time in the A&M Hollywood lot for the album’s recording sessions. (At the time, he was playing with Merry Clayton, a singer who – after her solo career declined – became a backing singer and would go on to feature in the 2013 film 20 Feet From Stardom.)

    An all-killer, rarely heard collection of music, documenting an important moment in Semper’s career, as he laid the foundations for the independent-minded Inner City Records label, as well as the game-changing Bay Area funk sound that has made “The Perfect Circle” a sought after cult classic.

    Shirley Scott

    One For Me

      Presenting Shirley Scott’s deeply personal album, ‘One for Me’ - a defiant tribute to the music she always desired to create but was shrouded by the demands of her vibrant career. Thoughtful curation of the band, tracks, and completely self-funded, this project set off on an innovative trajectory supported by Harold Vick on tenor saxophone and Billy Higgins on drums. Originally released on the revolutionary artist-owned label, Strata-East Records, in January 1975, this unique project is available to enjoy again on Arc Records.

      The impetus for this record was a real desire for Shirley to express herself more freely and create something for herself, taking back the power she’d seemingly relinquished throughout her career. Maxine Gordon, Scott’s close friend, and executive producer on the original record, expresses that they often had intimate discussions about how Scott was being told what to play, what to wear, how to look and how to speak in public for many years. Having had enough of these restrictions, she created this record to please no one but herself. As Scott expresses on the back of the original LP sleeve:

      “All of the music recorded in this album is both personal and very purposeful to me, because it is the first step toward honesty about what and how I want to play. I’ve done a lot of other albums, a lot of different ways for a lot of different people and now, with the help of the Creator, in whom all things are possible, I have done one for me too.”

      Having self-raised funds to make the record, with complete control over the masters, and with her dream band together, Scott recorded at Blue Rock Studio in November 1974. Harold Vick, often referred to as one of the “unsung tenor saxophonists” of his time, was cherry picked to bring Scott’s vision to life. Throughout his career, he released records on Blue Note, RCA as well as performing and recording with a string of legendary artists such as Ray Charles, and Aretha Franklin. Completing the dream trio was highly sought out drummer Billy Higgins, who is the most recorded drummer in the history of Blue Note Records, having played on 45 Blue Note albums. The key to their success was that Higgins tuned his drums to fit with the organ’s bass sound which, of course, Scott played with her feet.

      Scott was also known as “Little Miss Half-Steps,” a name given to her by tenor saxophonist George Coleman, (who wrote a composition by that name in her honor) - she regularly played with both George & Harold. Coleman is known to have admired Scott’s half-steps (when you play two adjacent keys on the organ or piano) and their close bond and mutual respect is solidified on this record through a track titled ‘Big George’ - specifically written for Coleman.

      “Queen of the Organ”, Shirley Scott was born in Philadelphia in 1934 and lived there most of her life until her early death in March 2002 at the age of 67. Having mastered the piano at an early age, Scott switched from piano to organ at the tender age of 21. Scott had a legendary recording career as a leader with 45 albums mainly released on Impulse and Prestige and is often remembered for her work with Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and Stanley Turrentine. Boasting a thriving career as a musician and composer, Scott progressed to a professor at Cheyney University in her later years. She was a treasured mother and grandmother, and a cherished friend of music scholar, Maxine Gordon, who’s honour it is to collaborate with Arc Records on shining a new bright light on this monumental body of work.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Ltd LP Info: We're only getting a handful of these so don't snooze!

      Tino Contreras

      Musica Infinita

      Gilles Peterson launches his new imprint Arc Records with a reissue of cult record “Musica Infinita” by Mexican drummer and composer Tino Contreras. A psychedelic, experimental jazz record, originally released in 1978, it marked a daring step forward by the Mexico City-based musician, and is now re-released for a chance to get the widespread dues it deserves. A limited private press, copies of the original are highly sought after, despite the drummer being much overlooked in both his home country as well as abroad, with a career that started in the 1950s, and which has seen him share stages with many of the greats – including Dave Brubeck, Cannonball Adderley and the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

      The story behind Peterson re-releasing the record is serendipitous. Several years ago, he bought a copy before a gig in Japan, and it soon became one of his most cherished discoveries; he was awed by its otherworldly blend of jazz fusion and psychedelia. Years later, booked to play at a festival in Mexico, Peterson was introduced to Carlos Icaza, a record collector and musician, who also had a copy of the record – in fact, he has two – and to whom it was also an extremely special album. To Peterson’s delight, Icaza suggested they meet up with Contreras who, at 95, is still active and based in Mexico City. Soon enough, the three of them were sat down together and agreed upon a plan to re-issue “Musica Infinita”.

      The album is the product of a long, varied musical development for Contreras, and of his productive partnership with Estrella Newman, a scholar who championed pre-Columbian culture and Mexico’s experimental traditions, such as the micro-tonalism pioneered by musician and academic Julián Carrillo. On “Musica Infinita”, Contreras filtered these local traditions through an American-influenced jazz lense, his playing and compositions honed through formative experiences seeing the likes of Art Blakey and Shelly Manne, decades of touring internationally, and of being part of a series of orchestras and ensembles central to Mexico’s jazz history.

      By the time he recorded “Musica Infinita”, Contreras had been a part of the Luis Arcaraz orchestra, had led a series of outfits to record albums for the Musart label, been part of recordings for the Polydor, Typic and Berta imprints, and had introduced Mexico to the Dominican Republic’s merengue rhythm, through his 1953 recording debut with an orchestra, the ‘Volado por los merengues’ 10”.

      The group name adopted for the album, Quinto Sol, reflects the influence of the Aztec Calendar, a concept which Contreras and Newman were inspired to build their shared musical project around. It’s a concept based around an Aztec carved stone structure, known as the Sun Stone, discovered in the late eighteenth century, believed to outline five periods – or suns – which explain the transformations of the earth. Inspired by a nighttime visit to the Pyramid of the Sun, in the ancient city of Teotihuacan, Contreras decided to adopt a group name in reference to the fifth period of the Aztec Calendar. Thus, he picked Quinto Sol – or, “Fifth Sun”.

      Re-issued for the first time, it’s a chance to get acquainted with an especially bright moment for an artist whose legacy is surely due for greater attention. Bridging strongly-felt Mexican tradition with a grounding in a primo jazz schooling, “Musica Infinita” channels grand concepts into a visceral musical experience.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Ltd LP Info: Second issue on 140 gram vinyl with obi-strip.


      Latest Pre-Sales

      108 NEW ITEMS

      RT @cstrecords: And for those wanting to dig into the back catalog, @PiccadillyRecs also has an extensive collection of other Constellation…
      Mon 6th - 4:10
      RT @cstrecords: UK fans can now preorder the physical editions of Markus Floats' Third Album and T. Gowdy's Therapy With Colour (both out 2…
      Mon 6th - 4:10
      RT @pollyworld: Can’t wait to see you later for my virtual instore - see you at 7pm @PiccadillyRecs - thanks for supporting ❤️🙏
      Mon 6th - 3:28
      Not long now! To celebrate Polly Scattergoods new album ‘In This Moment’ which came out on Friday July 3, she’ll be… https://t.co/l3WUXhbWsH
      Mon 6th - 1:48
      Click and collection is now OPEN. Follow the link for all the details including FAQs. https://t.co/xyz2ixRiHI https://t.co/EwF1OyjKE5
      Mon 6th - 11:25
      E-newsletter —
      Sign up
      Back to top