First Flight To Tokyo—Recently Discovered 1961 Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers Live Concert Coming Nov. 5th

Blue Note releases November 5th First Flight To Tokyo: The Lost 1961 Recordings a recently uncovered Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers 1961 live recording at Tokyo's Hibiya Public Hall featuring the classic lineup of Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Bobby Timmons and Jymie Merritt.

The set includes mostly crowd pleasing staples like Parker's "Now's the Time", Monk's "Round About Midnight" and Timmons' "Moanin'", which you can stream or download at that link.

First Flight to Tokyo, co-produced by Zev Feldman and David Weiss will be released in deluxe 2-LP vinyl and 2-CD editions, both of which come with elaborate booklets featuring rare photos by Japanese photographers Shunji Okura and Hozumi Nakadaira; an historical essay by acclaimed jazz critic Bob Blumenthal; plus new interviews with Wayne Shorter in conversation with Blue Note president Don Was, celebrated saxophonist Lou Donaldson, Japanese jazz star Sadao Watanabe, renowned Japanese music critic Reiko Yukawa, Blakey’s son Takashi Blakey, and a trio of drum greats: Louis Hayes, Billy Hart and Cindy Blackman Santana. Audio was newly transferred from the original ¼” tape reels, and the vinyl edition was mastered by Bernie Grundman and pressed on 180g vinyl at Record Technology Inc. (RTI).

That description indicates a digital source for the vinyl, probably necessitated by the tape's condition, but the files were in good hands as was the cut lacquers.

Upon hearing the tapes Feldman said "“My heart leapt from my chest when I heard that these previously unknown tapes of Art Blakey performances from his first Japanese tour existed.” Fortunately his jaw also didn't drop, which left the medics time to return his ticker from whence it leapt. Get a further taste at the link below.

rich d's picture

But isn't it nice that newer Blue Note releases have demonstrated an understanding of, and respect for, the design ethos of the great 1950s and 60s album jackets?

jazz's picture

it’s a winner, I like it much better than the studio track.

billsf's picture

I've always loved the Japanese issue:
A Day With Art Blakey 1961
"Sankei Hall", Tokyo, Japan, January 2, 1961 Baybridge (J) 30CP-23/24. This is a 2LP set as well.
If this new issue is as good, it's a real gem.

volvic's picture

I ordered the double vinyl one yesterday. There was also an option to order the two vinyl records and a Test Pressing but not sure if that was genuine test pressing or a few extra run-off bacthes that were offered. Either way the price difference was too great to justify. Can't wait for this.

Neward Thelman's picture

Back at the dawn of the digital age, when the recording industry began issuing digitally mastered- or digitally recorded vinyl - prior to the actual manufacturing and sale of CD's - analog vinyl jobo heroes like Michael Fremer and Volvic here were resolutely - militantly- fanatically - opposed to digitally sourced records.

There were articles written - and frenetic personal public proclaimations made that even just playing digital vinyl would and could cause the main bearing of turntables to fracture.

There were even some who claimed health dangers from playing digital vinyl. Fremer was an active part of that scene - he should remember it well.

Yet, here we are, some 40 years later, and slard logging honchos like Volvic don't bat an eye at paying big $$$ for previously hated and feared digital records.

Rock on.

volvic's picture

I usually ignore this written slop, as people like yourself who render such strong opinions are doing it because no one will listen to you out in the real world. Your anonymity breeds boldness. But, I want to thank you for the enormous range of satirical possibilities you offered by pretending you know everything about my vinyl preferences. But volvic prefers dealing with moving targets.