Friday, October 17, 2014

Electrifying David Matthews Remasters To Be Reprinted

Exciting news for David Matthews jazz and fusion fans: many of his and other Electric Bird releases will be reprinted in a selected collection of mostly early-to-mid 1980's material beginning December 2014. 

Let's start with the bad news: they're imports, of course, mostly Japanese releases for Japan only.

But, the good news is that they'll be "priced-down" limited edition re-issues at roughly 1,000 yen. The even better news is that internet is here to help with retailers like CDBanq, HMV and CDJapan charging just under $10 for albums that are been scarce for many years under a limited reprint. Once the run is over, typically two years, these prices tend to jack up on the reseller sites until another, seemingly once-per-decade reprint.

As part of Electric Bird's birthday, King Records Japan will be re-releasing a select 50 releases as part of Electric Bird Best Selection 1000 on December 14. In addition to the reprint, all releases have been "remastered" but is unclear as to whether they're additionally (re-remastered!) 24-bit remastered or previously remastered from the earlier CD pressing.

Electric Bird, under the umbrella of King Records, is reprinting most of its jazz-fusion 75-release catalog by year's end.  But enough, the list!

David Matthews & The Electric Birds - Digital Love (1979)
David Matthews & The Electric Birds - Cosmic City (1980)
David Matthews presents The Grand Cross (1980)
David Matthews Orchestra featuring Earl Klugh - Delta Lady (1980)
Super Funky Sax (1980) 
New York Liner (1981)
Jim Hall & David Matthews Orchestra - Concierto De Aranjuez (1982)
David Matthews Orchestra featuring Earl Klugh - Grand Connection (1983)
Fuse One - Ice (1984)
David Matthews & First Calls - Speed Demon (1984)

Most exciting out of this set is are these rarer releases: 1981's New York Liner, which features guitarists Eric Gale, John Tropea and David Spinozza and is a predecessor to another rarity, 1996's Guitars on Fire

1984's Ice by Fuse One is another, the second/last release of the Fuse One fusion project which had been previously reprinted in 2002, whose prices have locked around $50 used. 

The jazz-funk masterpiece The Grand Cross has an all-star cast carried by The Brecker Brothers and a slew of guitarists including Larry Carlton will see a release after a decade-plus of scarcity. 

Most of the others including both Earl Klugh guest spots and Speed Demon have seen a few runs and even been released stateside under the GNP Crescendo label.

Super Funky Sax, which is a series of three albums highlighting the saxophone will only see the long out-of-print debut album reprinted. The third Wazzup? got a remastered reprint while the recently covered Mo' Better Funk remains never to be reprinted.

Additionally, many Matthews' band interlopers on the label including Steve Gadd, Ronnie Cuber, Lew Soloff and George Young are seeing long overdue reprints of their albums as well, some of which feature Matthews on keyboards. I have yet to see the 1985 Richard Tee's (Japan-only) Bottom Line on there amongst their nearly 70+ albums reprinted this and last year from Electric Bird.

The legendary CTI Records producer, arranger and keyboardist David Matthews isn't discussed much and has been a little obscured due to his success in Japan, eclipsed by those like him including Bob James. Best known for his 1977 Dune album under CTI, whose reigned to a cult-like status, has yet to see another reprint on a very limited compact disc run from the early 90's in Japan. The spacey album, which contains funked-up sci-fi centric jazz contains a few Star Wars tracks and even a David Bowie song, are possibly cause for licensing hurdles though it was once explained by Matthews' himself as CTI being centered for the rights limitations to Matthews' himself.

Sadly, Dune isn't on any list...

Dune's 1993 King Records Japan CD pressing is extremely rare and has never seen another run on CD and has been in demand for a while, seeing prices of over $400 on reseller sites, worldwide. Here's hoping I can discard my scratchy LP rip soon...

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