J & K - Stonebone

Harry

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And now the answer is "Yes". RSD '20 Special Release: J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding - Stonebone

It's going to be released for Record Store Day in April of 2020 and will be available at Target online at least:


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Tracklist:

1. Don'tcha Hear Me Callin' To Ya? (13:57)
2. Musings (4:27)

3. Mojo (11:19)
4. Recollections (7:30)
 
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Harry

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All I know is that it was only released briefly in Japan as an LP.
 

Rudy

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I don't know either. But this and the "lost" Tamba 4 album were right around the time Creed Taylor bailed for Columbia. So maybe A&M shelved them? Or Taylor didn't give approval to release them? Maybe (for Tamba 4) Luiz Eça insisted on shelving their album since it strayed way too far from their Brazilian roots? We'll never know.

I do know that a couple of other releases were on shaky terms. Paul Desmond's Bridge Over Troubled Water I believe ended up on A&M (with no CTi imprint), yet it has all the CTi trimmings. Jobim's Tide and Stone Flower were both recorded at the same sessions, yet A&M/CTi got the leftovers, and Columbia/CTi got perhaps the best of the CTi albums with Stone Flower which is strong in every way that Tide is weak. (I'm hard pressed to choose between Wave and Stone Flower as the best of the three--they are that good.)

Come to think of it, one of George Benson's A&M/CTi albums was unissued until the early 80s when A&M did that AM+ reissues series of the CTi titles. (I Got A Woman and Some Blues.)
 

Harry

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I was poking around yesterday and read that the change from A&M to Columbia probably had a lot to do with why STONEBONE was never released in the US. The theory is that the four long songs, as they stood, weren't going to entice buyers to pick up the album. Too long-winded, and not radio-friendly.

Then the theory goes that as the sessions produced many more tracks than are represented currently, that the long ones were due to be edited to something less intimidating than they were, but with the change of CTi, it never happened.

Then the suppositions are that A&M sent the tracks over to Japan for release over there, perhaps for US servicemen stationed there, and that King Records hired out for English liner notes, again for the US servicemen - with the hopes that copies would be imported back to the US.

That's a lot of supposition, but there are probably some truths in there somewhere.
 

Michael Hagerty

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Rudy and Harry:

When Creed left A&M, it was to take CTi fully independent, with Motown providing distribution. That relationship soured in 1977, and bankruptcy and the association with Columbia happened in 1978. Ultimately, Columbia got the masters.

It's true that Quincy Jones and Paul Desmond carried on with A&M. I believe Desmond, Antonio Carlos Jobim and George Benson were the only A&M/CTi artists to have an album released on the stand-alone CTi (Jobim had both TIDE and STONE FLOWER about that time---the first went out on A&M, the second on CTi, Desmond went back to Creed for 1973's SKYLARK and Benson went straight over, with BEYOND THE BLUE HORIZON coming out in '71).

And, if you look at the releases on the new CTi, it's a lot of long cuts and four tracks per LP, so I don't think commercialism was the concern. In fact, until Deodato broke big, A&M/CTi was a much more commercial-leaning label than the standalone CTi.
 
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Harry

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I think CTi had no problems with long and winding tracks, but A&M probably was looking for more hit-based albums. 1969 had been a tough year for the label.
 

Michael Hagerty

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Actually, I just had a thought:

The record business usually revolves around how many albums a label is owed.

Could A&M have refused to issue Tamba 4's CALIFORNIA SOUL, which was supposed to be SP 3021, George Benson's I GOT A WOMAN AND SOME BLUES, which was supposed to be SP 3025, the Hubert Laws LP that was supposed to be SP 3026 and STONEBONE, which was supposed to be SP 3027 as a strategic move to insure that A&M would get THE OTHER SIDE OF ABBEY ROAD, GULA MATARI, TIDE and Paul Desmond's BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER---all of which had vastly more commercial potential?

In other words, if A&M had issued the four it held back, would CTi as a stand-alone have launched with Benson, Quincy, Jobim and Desmond?

The "real" A&M only released one--I GOT A WOMAN---and it was after CTi was no longer an entity. Now, UME is releasing two of the other three.
 
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Michael Hagerty

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....and...side question...will UME ever make CALIFORNIA SOUL and STONEBONE available for streaming now that they've gone to the trouble to make them commercially available on vinyl?
 

Rudy

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I would hope they end up as streaming/downloads at the very least. Although I know that with Kevin Gray's setup, he cuts master tapes to vinyl and that's it. I don't know if Cohearant has the ability to master to digital like Grundman's would. (I could find out.)

I somewhat wonder about the quality of the forthcoming Stonebone though. Tamba 4 released at a higher price point (~$10 more)on a different label (licensed through UMe). UMe's own new vinyl ends up being of very low quality--either the pressing is very low quality, or the mastering is poor. With Target claiming $15.99 on these, I don't see them being all that high in quality, unfortunately. But I hope to be pleasantly surprised. Maybe I'll have my SugarCube by then. 😉
 

Harry

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It would also be interesting if a bonus track or two was somehow included. There were apparently other tracks recorded at the STONEBONE sessions.
 

Rudy

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It would also be interesting if a bonus track or two was somehow included. There were apparently other tracks recorded at the STONEBONE sessions.
Agreed. I think it would be more a matter of locating the original session tapes vs. the 2-track masters on which the album was compiled. That said, it would still be interesting to hear more tracks like those that ended up on Stonebone, if they are in a releasable format. (We wouldn't know if all the parts had yet been recorded, for instance.)
 

Rudy

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The record business usually revolves around how many albums a label is owed.
That's a good theory also. There could have been some trading going on there, in order to keep peace (legally) with A&M.

The Tamba 4 comes a bit earlier in the numbering (3021 vs. 3025, 3026, 3027), though, which makes me wonder if something else kept it shelved. I like it quite a bit, although I kind of wonder if it was shelved for other reasons beyond labels negotiating an exit. (Could A&M have felt it wasn't commercial enough? Did Luiz Eça feel it strayed too far from the Tamba Trio/4 concept? Did Creed Taylor feel it was weak? We'll never know.) Yet if A&M was holding onto it for a later release before learning of Creed Taylor's departure plans, it too could have been held up for that reason.

Tide came later in the numbering (3031) and the sessions were split between the A&M album and CTi's Stone Flower. (The brevity and relative quality of Tide to Stone Flower makes it seem like contract fulfillment to me; the title song, even, is like a parody of "Wave" and I can't think of any other recording of that tune. And, much as I hate to say it, much of the A&M album has forgettable melodies, something I'd rarely say about Jobim's work.)

Benson's I Got A Woman did come out in the 80s with the CTi imprint if I'm not mistaken, as the title track was on one of the samplers of that reissue series.

But yeah, overall, I feel as though all of these later albums were tied up in some sort of negotiation or maneuvering as Creed Taylor exited A&M.

And, if you look at the releases on the new CTi, it's a lot of long cuts and four tracks per LP, so I don't think commercialism was the concern. In fact, until Deodato broke big, A&M/CTi was a much more commercial-leaning label than the standalone CTi.
Stonebone actually follows that format--a sign of things to come, perhaps? Stanley Turrentine's Sugar, which I have been playing as of late, only has three tracks. Salt Song only has five. The couple of Freddie Hubbard albums I have are similarly short, although First LIght has two longer and three shorter tracks.
 

Michael Hagerty

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That's a good theory also. There could have been some trading going on there, in order to keep peace (legally) with A&M.

The Tamba 4 comes a bit earlier in the numbering (3021 vs. 3025, 3026, 3027), though, which makes me wonder if something else kept it shelved.

I think you're right, Rudy.

Albums weren't released one at a time---they came out in batches. 3022 is MOONDREAMS, 3023 is WALKING IN SPACE and 3024 was FROM THE HOT AFTERNOON. Going through back issues of Billboard online, it looks like Quincy came out in September and Paul in December (Walter couldn't even get a mention in Billboard!). It looks like Tamba 4 would have been Summer '69 if it had come out. A bit too early to be maneuvering for the releases in summer of '70. The other three, maybe.
 

4mc

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Most of the CT 100x albums were recorded in the summer/fall of '69 and not released until '70. There is a good bloomberg podcast on Flow, and Don Felder has quite a few things to say about his relationship with Creed at that time and his situation. See CT 503 I have quite a bit more for when I get to the album.

For what its worth there were a lot of lawsuits floating around after 1974 with CTI/Creed Taylor. Seawind sued to get the rights to their masters; there was the "bad" Beson breakup, there were issues over Grover Washington, and then the whole bankruptcy thing. I'm still chasing some loose ends to find out what happened to Creeds house as a result of the bankruptcy. CTI was part owned by his wife, who I believe was the legal owner of the house. It all gets very complicated. I have the incorporation certificates for a bunch of the companies, and the independent CTI was actually set up well before most people think it was. Sometime later this year, after I've published blog entries on the major music things Creed worked on. I plan to add a whole section on the business, the companies, the staff etc.

For now I'm trying to finish a short series on the first 14-singles made by CTI... a lot of which were only ever promo versions. Next one CT 104 Hack Bartholomew should be up tonight or tomorrow.
 

rbisherw

Member
With this release, any chance that the Kai and JJ masters were not destroyed in the fire?

After all these years, still pining away for CD releases of their A&M/CTi albums.

I am not getting any younger and fear I will never hear these masterworks again.:cry:
 

Harry

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I'm wondering whether the STONEBONE album will be released in April, or pushed back to whenever they reschedule Record Store Day. My pre-order through Target still seems to be there. We'll see as the date gets closer.
 

Rudy

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Target still said April, but the local music store shows the June date now.
 

Rudy

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That may end up being the route I go, too---though it means having to get the turntable back in working order.
Aw heck, it's only money! Get a Clearaudio Master Innovation and live a little. 😁 You don't need those cars or that spare kidney anyways. But I assure you, it does sound wonderful. (I heard it with a DS Audio optical cartridge.)

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But back to reality. I hope UMe releases this album and California Soul digitally one of these days. CDs are pretty much a thing of the past for lesser-known titles, and I wouldn't expect anything in a low volume seller to go through the process of manufacturing and distribution. But what wouldn't surprise me is the fanatical Japanese market to release them on CD at some point. They seem to cater to specialists like us. (Look back many years ago when we kept Dusty Groove in business, buying all those Brasil '66 releases.)
 

Michael Hagerty

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Aw heck, it's only money! Get a Clearaudio Master Innovation and live a little. 😁 You don't need those cars or that spare kidney anyways. But I assure you, it does sound wonderful. (I heard it with a DS Audio optical cartridge.)

View attachment 5413

But back to reality. I hope UMe releases this album and California Soul digitally one of these days. CDs are pretty much a thing of the past for lesser-known titles, and I wouldn't expect anything in a low volume seller to go through the process of manufacturing and distribution. But what wouldn't surprise me is the fanatical Japanese market to release them on CD at some point. They seem to cater to specialists like us. (Look back many years ago when we kept Dusty Groove in business, buying all those Brasil '66 releases.)
Nice turntable!

I may have said it here before---I'm beyond physical media now. I couldn't tell you the last time I played a CD, much less an LP or cassette. And given that the costs of downloads and streaming are a fraction of making and warehousing physical media, I'm always surprised when a label passes up the opportunity to make titles available digitally.
 

Rudy

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I agree--digitally, I don't touch a CD unless I'm ripping it to the server. I don't even have an optical player in my systems anymore, not even for video. And with Qobuz tied into Roon Player, it's like I have one gigantic music library when I'm online.

The stats for my own ripped/downloaded library (and I still have a couple of boxes I haven't ripped yet):

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Vinyl is a whole separate experience though, so I like the hands-on experience of it. And with some releases not ever making it to digital, I find it's a necessity.

Nice turntable!
Indeed! I guess I can dream a little, and I certainly wouldn't turn one down if offered to me for free. :D The baby brother Innovation Compact Wood (pictured here) with tonearm is around $12K (new), a bit less in the non-"wood" version. (And there are more expensive arms--I'd prefer a 10" or longer arm over the 9" pictured here.)

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It's a lot of money, for sure. But once I heard vinyl playback at this level, I understood the full potential of the format.

And I buy most things used anyways... 😉
 

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