Evidence Records, a new Philadelphia-based label specializing in reissues, has hit the ground running.
The CD-only line, owned by former retailers Jerry Gordon and Howard Rosen, debuted last month with five long-out-of-print '50s and '60s albums by the renowned avant-garde bandleader Sun Ra. This week, Evidence issued five albums by such artists as saxophonist Pharoah Sanders and vibist Bobby Hutcherson that were formerly available on the Bay Area-based Theresa label.
The five Sun Ra titles, including "Jazz in Silhouette" and "Monorails and Satellites," were all originally issued on Ra's Chicago-based Saturn label. Two of these albums were issued for a short period during the '70s on Impulse! Records, while the others have remained unavailable for more than three decades.
What's striking about these collections is their relative tameness. Offering both originals and such standards as " 'Round Midnight," Ra and his associates sound more like a zestful modern big band than a group of groundbreaking adventurists, though there are occasional glimpses of the raw wildness that became Ra's trademark.
The Theresa albums are spotlighted by Hutcherson's "Farewell Keystone," a quintet date that includes tenor saxophonist Harold Land and pianist Cedar Walton, and "Journey to the One" and "Rejoice," two Sanders sessions that combine material formerly on two-LP sets into single CD packages.
By the end of March, Evidence will issue a few albums briefly available during the late '80s on the small Minneapolis-based Pro Jazz label. Among these titles, which were originally recorded for Japan's King label, are drummer Art Blakey's "Dr. Jeckyle," Gil Evans' "Bud and Bird," and pianist Michel Camilo's "Why Not?" Also due for late March release is "Either Way," a 1961 live session by dueling saxmen Al Cohn and Zoot Sims, previously released on Zim Records.
"We're filling a void by reissuing hard-to-find albums; there's money to be made doing it and it's satisfying," said Gordon, citing his reasons for starting the label.
Upcoming Evidence projects include a series of blues albums licensed from the French Black and Blue label, three albums formerly on Everest Records and more Ra and Theresa releases.
Rim Shots: Photographs of Billie Holiday, Ben Webster and Shelly Manne by such Los Angeles-based photographers as Ray Avery, Bob Douglas, Maxie Floyd and Paula Ross are part of an exhibition at the Black Gallery through May 3. The photographers will appear at a reception April 26. . . . Guitarists John Collins and Tommy Tedesco play for the L.A. Jazz Society's free "Not For Members Only" party Sunday from 2 to 7 p.m.