The power of the human voice, especially when held in song, has long been known to be immensely influential, potent and emotive across all of humankind. When conveying a message, the spoken word - whether in speech, poetry or song - is infinitely more evocative than that of written. And when that message is voiced in the realm of jazz, amidst the open and dramatic freedom that only jazz can provide, the message can be all the more poignant.
Having examined spiritual jazz as it was expressed in the US, and then followed its messengers and influences in Europe and beyond, our sixth instalment of our Spiritual Jazz series showcases jazz vocals: a collection of jazz messages that are united in voice.
The majority of tracks here are as political as they are theological, but it's the inner sanctity of the music that is the defining factor. These are songs that concern themselves with the universal condition of this world, as well as the next. In fact, as the distinction between the theological and the humanistic is blurred, so is the definition of a song - many of the tracks are atypical in that they do not possess lyrics with a beginning, middle and end. Likewise the voices that convey them often can't be said to be 'singing' in the usual sense of the word; we hear solemn chanting, intense wailing, earnest poetry and ardent recitation in between bouts of singing, the quality of which is often nothing short of exquisite. The styles of performance encompass modern jazz, the avant-garde and jazz fusion, and include elements of styles from the long and winding path of the African diaspora, including Cuban, Brazilian, Caribbean and other Pan-American rhythms.
Spiritual Jazz 6: Vocals examines some of the rarest and most extraordinary vocal jazz recordings. We have included some well-known songs, as well as some of the most obscure. There are tracks recorded made for major labels, and some that were issued privately. But all of them speak or sing of a better place or a better world, and the world can only be a better place when they are played.
This is esoteric jazz, modal jazz, spiritual jazz - as performed with the human voice.
· All tracks fully licensed and digitally restored from the original master tapes
· Comprehensive liner notes with added individual notes on each track and original stories direct from the musicians involved
· CD with 24 page colour booklet with in-depth liner notes, album cover scans and previously unpublished photographs
· Most tracks never before reissued - previously only available on rare, long-deleted LPs
· Deluxe double vinyl LP pressing with gloss gatefold sleeve.