Albums by George Duke, Oscar Peterson, The Dave Pike Set, Eugen Cicero, Gilles Peterson and Joanne Grauer were reissued Friday via Edel Germany in partnership with Bob Frank Entertainment.
Jazz enthusiasts and record collectors have been feasting this summer on the albums being reissued from the historic MPS Records catalogue and Friday brings seven more records from Germany’s first jazz record label. Discs by George Duke, Oscar Peterson, The Dave Pike Set, Eugen Cicero, Gilles Peterson and Joanne Grauer were reissued on vinyl and CD in the US and Canada via Edel Germany in partnership with Bob Frank Entertainment.
Two more of Duke’s album were reissued Friday. 1976’s “Liberated Fantasies” is the last album in Duke’s fusion series on MPS and the mostly instrumental set serves a mix of jazz fusion, R&B and Brazilian music. Masterful and dazzling on synthesizers and keyboards, Duke teams with rock singer Napoleon Brock to layer vocals on several tracks and takes a turn himself on the soulful “What The…” The album grooves, marimbas and sambas, providing a free-flowing and exotic listening experience.
Duke’s “The Inner Source” is a two-LP/two-CD set originally released in 1973 shortly after the keyboardist’s stint playing in the Cannonball Adderley Quintet and crafted somewhat like a fusion autobiography. On the first disc, Duke forms a stripped-down trio with bassist John Heard and drummer Dick Berk with compositions that reflect his time with Adderley while on the second disc, Duke experiments on synthesizers that he places amidst fuller, more lavish soundscapes decorated with Latin percussion and swatches of horns and reeds. The noted keyboards wiz even takes a whirl on his first instrument, the trombone.
Available as a six-vinyl LP or eight-CD collection, Oscar Peterson’s “Exclusively For My Friends” is a stunning series of recordings that resulted from the Canadian pianist’s treks into Germany’s Black Forest where MPS Studios was located. First venturing to record with MPS founder Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer in 1961, contractual obligations to another label prevented the recordings to be released until 1968. Accompanied by bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen, Oscar Peterson recorded this series over a five-year span in front of gatherings of delighted friends and it became the first-ever MPS release. The pianist’s improvisational invention, extraordinary speed and nimble dexterity are on full display along with his imaginative intensity, poetic poignancy and exquisite virtuosity on this swinging and special package that captures Oscar’s metamorphosis from member of a trio to soloist.
A global music collaboration, American vibraphonist Dave Pike teamed with German guitarist Volker Kriegel, Austrian bassist Hans Rettenbacher and German drummer Peter Baumeister on the hard bopping “Noisy Silence – Gentle Noise.” The 1969 release thrives on the interaction between Pike’s dynamic vibraphone and Kriegel’s lyrical fretwork, orated on electric and acoustic guitars and sitar. The set list deftly balances loud and intense with quiet and poised, tinged with nuanced grace and romance.
“Rokoko Jazz” was the 1965 breakthrough album by Cicero, which sold one million units worldwide. Seamlessly melding classical and jazz, the Romanian-born pianist nicknamed “Mr. Golden Hands” reverently curated selections from the 18th century by the likes of Mozart and Bach, reimagining the compositions as swing numbers.
The influential father of acid jazz, British DJ, producer and radio personality Gilles Peterson has long ardently admired MPS. His gift lays in how he compiles classic jazz recordings, choosing, sorting and sequencing the material to foster freshness, renewed energy and timelessness. “Magic Peterson Sunshine,” a CD and double-LP set featuring tracks from an assortment of MPS artists, stands as testament to his unique skillset.
Pianist Grauer shares the spotlight equitably with a gifted vocalist on “Introducing Lorraine Feather.” Recorded with her trio in late 1977, the Los Angeles-based Grauer serves a compelling offering of instrumental and vocal songs in a repertoire that primarily features her own compositions. Also of note are Grauer’s interpretations of Michel Legrand’s “Happy” for the “Lady Sings the Blues” soundtrack; a funky, electric keyboard-powered read on Barbra Streisand’s “Evergreen”; and a divine dalliance between Feather and saxophone great Ernie Watts on the rollicking Latin jaunt “See You Later.”
For more information and to see what else is coming soon from MPS, please visit https://www.mps-music.com.
Jazz history was forged in the rustic Black Forest of Germany in 1968 when Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer launched MPS and recorded some of the genre’s seminal artists. Legends like Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Dexter Gordon, Freddie Hubbard, The Count Basie Orchestra and George Duke released albums on the prestigious label known for its high-level recording technique and distinctive aesthetic.
About Bob Frank Entertainment
Bob Frank Entertainment (BFE) was formed in 2012 by longtime entertainment business executive and entrepreneur Bob Frank. BFE divisions include Admiral Lane Music Publishing, Bob Frank Distribution (BFD), independent label Red River Entertainment, and Damson Lane Film Production. BFE has teamed with Germany’s Edel to reissue albums in North America from the famed MPS label.