Spiritual Jazz 14: Private


While the string of legendary independent labels, from Blue Note and Prestige to Steeplechase and Impulse! loom large in the Spiritual Jazz catalog, Jazzman's latest installment concerns the brave and innovative souls who acted "privately," recording and releasing their music without the aid or involvement of a bona fide record company. Making a custom, private press record on your own, without the backing, status and business acumen of an established record company to help out is no mean feat, but it never really was difficult -- it's just a matter of spending money -- but the tricky bit, which remains to this day, is what to do exactly with a pallet load of vinyl that's just been delivered to your door? Sales and distribution never were easy, and getting it right requires imagination, enthusiasm, dedication, hard work and a more than a little luck. Even for the professionals it's proved immensely difficult at times; perhaps that's why so many private press records remain so obscure and elusive to this day. Here, Jazzman examines a variety of tracks from a selection of privately pressed jazz records, released in the US between 1964 and 1987. One of the most interesting things about this album is the variety of reasons behind coming up with a self-released record. No two stories are the same; some were done purely out of altruism to further the musical direction of students, others were simply trying to make it big, albeit on their own terms. But one solid truth remains that binds together each and every selection here -- the artists didn't just make their music for the fun of it, they believed in their art so much that they took whatever steps they had available to them at the time to get their music heard exactly as they wanted it to be heard -- with no spoddy record exec bossing them about! In keeping with the DIY ethos of private pressings, each copy has hand-stamped covers meaning no two copies are exactly alike. And as always with the Spiritual Jazz series of albums, each comes with liner notes and pics, in this case direct from the artists themselves. Featuring Erni Clark, Elysian Spring, Radam Schwartz, Mary Lou Williams, Carmelo Garcia, Black Is ----, Cullen Knight, Don Menza, Belair, Andrew McPherson, Almanac, Owen Marshall, Bobby Jackson, and Compass.