May 20, 2024

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Highlights this year include Thelonious Monk’s fourth release for Columbia, titled Monk: Video

It’s that time of the year again. Music retailers have stocked up, and vinyl collectors have plotted their shopping strategy for the 11th annual Record Store Day, which will take place on Saturday, April 21, at more than 1,500 independent retail shops in the United States and abroad. 

Record Store Day (RSD) began as a grassroots effort to raise the profile of independent brick-and-mortar retailers, some of whom were desperately struggling to survive due to competition from online outlets.

The annual event has evolved into a massive international celebration that features in-store performances, film screenings, book signings and a vast array of exclusive releases, mainly on vinyl.

Highlights this year include Thelonious Monk’s fourth release for Columbia, titled Monk, pressed on black vinyl, which includes the tunes “Pannonica” and “April In Paris”; Ella Fitzgerald’s concert disc Ella At Zardi’s, being made available on vinyl for the first time; Miles Davis’ Rubberband EP, which has basic tracks recorded in 1985 but then recently updated by a team that included the trumpeter’s son Erin Davis and nephew Vince Wilburn Jr.; and a 7-inch version of John Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things.”

There are also three noteworthy soundtracks—Serge Gainsbourg and Michel Colombier’s Le Pacha, Dave Grusin’s The Friends Of Eddie Coyle and a picture-disc version of Lalo Schifrin’s Enter The Dragon.

Another sought-after gem is The ArtScience Remixes, a release on which the Montreal-based producer Kaytranada and the keyboardist Robert Glasper remix tracks from the Robert Glasper Experiment’s 2016 Blue Note album, ArtScience. The set features contributions from Don Cheadle, Talib Kweli, Alex Isley and Iman Omari.

Our favorite packaging for RSD titles is the LP that is accompanied by a free digital download card. That approach gives consumers the portability and sonic clarity of digital music combined with the visual and tactile pleasures of LP packaging. Motéma took that route for its release by the supergroup Hudson (drummer Jack DeJohnette, bassist Larry Grenadier, keyboardist John Medeski and guitarist John Scofield).

The group’s album, titled Hudson, was released on June 9, 2017, and received widespread critical acclaim. For Record Store Day, it’s being reissued as a two-LP set on 180-gram vinyl. In addition to a download card, the set includes an exclusive bonus track—a version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Castles Made Of Sand”—and a souvenir poster. This release is limited to 1,000 copies.

Blue Engine has created a 10-inch picture disc featuring the Wynton Marsalis Septet performing with guests who participated in fundraising gala concerts at Jazz at Lincoln Center. The tracks include country icon Willie Nelson’s 2003 rendition of “Night Life” and rocker John Mayer’s 2006 take on “I’m Gonna Find Another You.” This release is limited to 1,000 copies. Proceeds from this project benefit Jazz at Lincoln Center’s music-education programs.

Blues-rock guitarist Gary Clark Jr. has teamed up with Junkie XL for a picture disc that will be of interest to fans of superhero comic books and movies. The 12-inch vinyl version of The Beatles’ “Come Together” is packaged with a 24-page Justice League comic book and exclusive poster for the film Justice League.

Resonance has two releases featuring legendary jazz guitarist Grant Green (1935–’79).Funk In France: From Paris To Antibes (1969–1970) is the first official, previously unissued live recordings of Green more than a decade. This set compiles recordings captured at the ORTF studios in Paris on Oct. 26, 1969, with bassist Larry Ridley and drummer Don Lamond, and features jazz guitar icon Barney Kessel comping behind Green on “I Wish You Love.”

The set also includes concert recordings from June 18 and 20, 1970, at the Antibes Jazz Festival, with saxophonist Claude Bartee and organist Clarence Palmer—who both played on Green’s classic 1969 Blue Note album Carryin’ On—and drummer Billy Wilson.

The other Green album, Slick!–Live At Oil Can Harry’s, is a previously unreleased recording that documents a Sept. 5, 1975, performance at a club in Vancouver, British Columbia. It features Emmanuel Riggins (father of drummer Karriem Riggins) on electric piano, Ronnie Ware on bass, drummer Greg “Vibrations” Williams and percussionist Gerald Izzard.

The Slick! program includes an epic funk medley of Stanley Clarke’s “Vulcan Princess,” The Ohio Players’ “Skin Tight,” Bobby Womack’s “The Woman’s Gotta Have It,” Stevie Wonder’s “Boogie On Reggae Woman” and The O’Jays’ “For The Love Of Money.” This recording was originally broadcast on CHQM-FM and has been transferred from the original 10-inch reels.

Each of Resonance’s Green releases is limited to 1,500 copies and comes in hand-numbered packaging, pressed on 180-gram vinyl.

The most famous intergalatic figure in jazz history, Sun Ra, will be represented with four titles on Record Store Day: Standards (ORG Music), The Cymbals/Symbols Sessions: New York City 1973 (Modern Harmonic), Astro Black (Modern Harmonic) and Pine Street Theatre, Oct. 18, 1988 (Jackpot). Residents of Saturn will be pleased to expand their Sun Ra collections.

Other artists who will have titles available include Ornette Coleman, Snarky Puppy, Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas’ Soundprints, the Nublu Orchestra conducted by Butch Morris, Jeff Beck, David Bowie, Cheech & Chong, The Dap-Kings, Marvin Gaye, The Grateful Dead, Hawkwind, Jimi Hendrix, Bert Jansch, Prince, Bernard Purdie, Tom Waits, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Wilco, Johnny Winter, Wolfman Jack, Yes and Frank Zappa.

And it wouldn’t be Record Store Day without at least one eye-popping publicity stunt. To call attention to the release of rock band The Alarm’s EP Where The Two Rivers Meet, frontman Mike Peters will visit three indie record shops on two continents in 24 hours.

Peters will begin the day at a sold-out listening party in the U.K. hosted by Diverse Music in Newport, Wales. Then he’ll fly to the States, where he’ll visit Looney Tunes Records in Long Island, New York, and then hop on another plane to visit Fingerprints Records in Long Beach, California.

At indie stores on Saturday, shoppers can expect long lines because some of the titles are limited to only a few hundred copies worldwide. In collectors’ parlance, Record Store Day releases are divided into three categories: RSD exclusive releases, RSD limited-run/regional focus releases and “RSD First” releases.

RSD exclusive releases are available exclusively on Record Store Day at participating stores. The rarest titles are the limited-run/regional focus releases, all of which are available in extremely limited quantities, and many of which are only available in certain geographic regions.

In contrast, the least-collectible albums are “RSD First” titles; they are available at participating stores for a limited amount of time before they become widely available at other outlets at a later date.

Here are some tips for newbie shoppers: Devise a list of titles you want. Plan ahead. See what time your favorite shops open. Some stores will open early on Saturday, and there are ambitious retailers who host midnight sales that begin at 12:01 a.m.

Remember that if one store sells out of what you’re seeking, another store might have it, but there is no guarantee. Even if you don’t get that gem that had you salivating, you can still have fun and support your local independent businesses. Some stores offer free snacks, and many present live performances.


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