Verve Records/UMe Partner With Third Man Records to Relaunch Popular Verve By Request Reissue Series, Commencing With Two 180g LP Releases on November 11, Followed by Two More on December 9

You asked for it, and now you’ve got it. To wit: Verve Records/UMe and Third Man Records have partnered together to resurrect the popular Verve By Request reissue series. Focusing on rare gems and fan-requested jazz albums from the Verve Label Group’s stable of iconic labels, this intriguing vinyl series will offer two titles per month, each entry having been handpicked by Verve and Third Man. These selections will include long-out-of-print titles from the vault, in addition to first-ever vinyl pressings for albums released in the 1990s and 2000s that were only available on CD and digital formats.

I’ve been told albums in the revived Verve By Request series will be newly remastered from original analog sources whenever available, and all will be pressed on 180g vinyl at Third Man Pressing in Detroit. Each month, a limited-edition Third Man Edition yellow color variant of each LP will also be available exclusively via Third Man Records and uDiscoverMusic. Each Third Man edition comes in a limited-edition, two-color, screen-printed jacket on archival French cover stock, custom-printed and assembled in Detroit.

The new Verve By Request series launches on November 11 with two reissues that also serve as a nod to Third Man’s birthplace, featuring two of Detroit’s finest: Alice Coltrane’s Ptah, The El Daoud (1970), and Roy Brooks’ long out-of-print Beat (1964). You can see both the cover art and respective yellow vinyl variant option interspersed throughout this story.

The facts are these. Recorded at Motown’s legendary Hitsville USA studio for Workshop Jazz — Berry Gordy's short-lived jazz imprint — Beat marks Roy Brooks’ debut as a leader, and the album finds the innovative drummer fusing his hard-bop roots with a Motor City soul-jazz groove. Brooks, who served as a sideman for Horace Silver, Yusef Lateef, and Chet Baker (among others), is joined by fellow Detroit natives George Bohannon on trombone and Hugh Lawson on piano, along with his Horace Silver Quintet bandmates Blue Mitchell on trumpet, Junior Cook on tenor saxophone, and Eugene Taylor on bass.

Together, they all deliver a high-energy set featuring tracks written by Brooks, Joe Henderson, and Duke Pearson. Notably, “Soulsphere” was composed by Alice McLeod — erroneously credited as “McCloud” on the sleeve, as the label reps have correctly pointed out — who would blaze a new musical path a few years later as the incomparable Alice Coltrane. Beat is also the first official reissue of any Workshop Jazz album. (Pre-order Roy Brooks’ Beat here.)


Following the death of her husband John Coltrane in 1967, Alice Coltrane continued to forward the musical and spiritual version they set out on together by releasing records on her own as composer and bandleader. The hypnotic Ptah, The El Daoud was the fourth album to bear the pianist and harpist’s name released between 1968-70, a fertile period that also included her joint album partially recorded with John a year before his death, Cosmic Music.

Ptah, The El Daoud was recorded in the Coltrane home studio in 1970 and released later that year on Impulse! Records. It features an all-star lineup on its four compositions, including Pharoah Sanders and Joe Henderson, respectively, both on tenor sax and alto flute. A masterpiece of spiritual jazz, the album’s title track is an ode to the Egyptian God, Ptah — with The El Daoud designation at the end of the album title, which means, “the beloved.” Many moments on this record can best be described by the Hindu word Turiya, which Coltrane defines in the liner notes as “a state of consciousness — the high state of Nirvana, the goal of human life.” (Pre-order Alice Coltrane’s Ptah, The El Daoud here.)


The Verve By Request releases continue on December 9 with another fine pair, the first of which is Chicken Fat, the 1967 Impulse! debut by blues guitarist Mel Brown. Brown’s clean picking style — honed while playing alongside John Lee Hooker, Bobby Bland, and T-Bone Walker — marinates quite well with the swinging soul-jazz organ of Gerald Wiggins. Featuring the simmering lament “I’m Goin’ To Jackson,” the electrifying “Greasy Spoon,” and the standout title track, Chicken Fat is said to be one of the “funkiest and most unique” albums ever released on the label. (Pre-order Mel Brown’s Chicken Fat here.)


Also available on December 9 is James Brown’s Soul On Top. Originally released in 1970 via King Records, Soul On Top was a dream project for the Godfather of Soul, an avowed fan of big-band jazz who takes full advantage of the skillset of an 18-piece band led by drummer Louis Bellson and arranged by Impulse! star Oliver Nelson.

Joined by his soul consigliere, saxophonist Maceo Parker, Brown offers up a swinging set of jazz and pop standards while revisiting several of his own classic hits, including “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” and “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag.” This reissue of Soul On Top features a new mix of the original album by legendary bassist and James Brown superfan Christian McBride, along with UMe A&R Vice President Harry Weinger. (Pre-order James Brown’s Soul On Top here.)

Future Verve By Request titles that will continue to be released two-by-two into the first half of 2023 include the vinyl debuts of Wayne Shorter’s Footprints Live! (originally released in 2002) and Herbie Hancock’s The New Standard (originally released in 1996), plus key reissues from the likes of Pharoah Sanders, Ahmad Jamal, Archie Shepp, Sun Ra, and many more to come.

Check out the comprehensive Verve by Request two-per-month release schedule for November 2022 through June 2023 inclusive below. And then, feel free to chime in with your own Verve family label LP reissue Requests in the Comments section below.


(two per month, November 2022 – June 2023):

November 11, 2022: Roy Brooks – Beat
November 11, 2022: Alice Coltrane – Ptah, The El Daoud
December 9, 2022: James Brown – Soul On Top
December 9, 2022: Mel Brown – Chicken Fat
January 13, 2023: Ahmad Jamal – The Awakening
January 13, 2023: Archie Shepp – Kwanza
February 10, 2023: Dorothy Ashby – The Rubáiyát Of Dorothy Ashby
February 10, 2023: Gábor Szabó – The Sorcerer
March 10, 2023: Blossom Dearie – Blossom Dearie
March 10, 2023: Eartha Kitt – Bad But Beautiful
April 28, 2023: Yusef Lateef – Psychicemotus
April 28, 2023: Pharoah Sanders – Black Unity
May 26, 2023: Wayne Shorter – Footprints Live!
May 26, 2023: Herbie Hancock – The New Standard
June 30, 2023: Albert Ayler – Love Cry
June 30, 2023: Sun Ra – Space Is The Place

rich d's picture

What a great idea and what a cracking selection. I'll buy at least a few and I almost want to send them a thank you note for not releasing the same damn thing (hereafter referred to as TSDT) over and over again.

Yes, I know there's money to be made with the TSDT; heck. I enjoy TSDT as much as the next guy, but this is a welcome development.

jazz's picture

mastering engineer, all analog status and more concrete identification of source used per release will follow.

Mike Mettler's picture
As soon as all that super-important info can be confirmed, we will share it.
mcrushing's picture

If they're pressing at Third Man I have to imagine they'll master there as well. ( Third Man's engineer is Bill Skibbe, who's done lots of Jack White projects as well as releases on labels like Drag City, Woodsist, Rough Trade, Thrill Jockey, etc.

I'm not expecting these to be 'audiophile' but hopefully they'll sound great. Regardless, the material listed so far is killer and I'm all-in for now.

Give us Melvin Jackson's Funky Skull, Jack!

Tom L's picture

I have several of their 7" 45s and the White Stripes Greatest Hits LP. Decided not to buy any more because the 45s are quite noisy and the WSGH sounds scratchy and screechy. Of course, some of that may be inherent in the original music. Does anyone with more of their releases have feedback on this?

rich d's picture

The one or two Third Man records I've bought have exhibited acceptable quality. I have a handful of old White Stripes records and they're all over the map: the 45s of 'My Doorbell' and "Icky Thump' sound amazing while the 45 of 'Fell in Love with a Girl' sounds like someone disconnected my woofers. The original LP of Elephant (on white + red vinyl) sounds and looks great and rocks until the break of dawn.

rich d's picture

Just get the CD. Turn it up and put your foot down. You know I'm right.

Paul Boudreau's picture

There are definitely a few on that list I’d interested in. Another one might be “Bill Evans Trio Live,” from 1971 (1964 material). I wasn’t aware of it until recently and found a sealed original US pressing. Great music, crummy pressing (plays like a well-loved LP rather than a previously-unplayed one).