Reel to Real Recordings is proud to announce the label's co- inaugural release, A Soulful Sunday: Live at the Left Bank, a previously unissued live recording of the under-appreciated songstress Etta Jones featuring the Cedar Walton Trio with bassist Sam Jones and drummer Billy Higgins recorded on February 27, 1972 at the Famous Ballroom in Baltimore, Maryland. There has been no recorded documentation of Etta Jones during this stretch between 1971 and 1974, so this never-before-heard recording fills in an important gap in Jones's discography and showcases her in fine form.
In the Spring of 2016, producer Zev Feldman was in the midst of having a breakthrough year in the world of archival jazz recordings with the release of 6 major discoveries all within a few months of each other by jazz icons such as Bill Evans, Wes Montgomery, Stan Getz, Sarah Vaughan and the Thad
Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra for the Resonance Records label (of which he is co-president). He would go on to rack up no less than 26 producer credits by the year's end across various record labels. It was during this stretch that he met up with Canadian jazz impresario and saxophonist Cory Weeds for a series of shows at Frankie's jazz club in Vancouver centered around a series of historical releases on Resonance. Cory Weeds had just closed his popular long-running Cellar jazz club two years prior and was building momentum of his own across various fronts - from his record label Cellar Live to his work as programming manager with Coastal Jazz & Blues, and performing as a leader in his own groups.
"There are so many truly important jazz recordings out there that need a home." says Zev Feldman. "It was clear from the first time I met with Cory that he's someone who shares my passion for this mission to preserve and release these little gems to the world the right way. When we came across this incredible recording of Etta Jones with the Cedar Walton Trio at the Left Bank, it just felt like a perfect fit. Etta is someone who tends to be overlooked in the pantheon of great jazz vocalists, and we wanted to give her the royal treatment on A Soulful Sunday."
"When I heard the first tune from the original tape of Etta Jones with the Cedar Walton Trio, I literally jumped out of my seat with excitement," says Cory Weeds. "I phoned Zev and said simply, 'We have to put this out!'"
"She's true to the lyrics she's singing; I believe her," says Catherine Russell. "She's telling her own story through the lyrics...She sang what she felt in the moment. It sounds to me like she could have written the tunes right as she sang them. It's a loose, familiar kind of a feel, so you really get to know her as you listen.
Saxophonist Houston Person started performing with Etta Jones in the late 1960s and their close musical connection continued on until her death in 2001. In his interview with Zev Feldman, Person talked about what Jones was like on and off stage: "She was the same way all the time. Friendly, outgoing. I always called her my ambassador. She had a legion of followers who really loved her and loved the way she approached life. She was just easygoing. No ego, nothing like that. She was just straight, a straight person. She was great. But her persona off and on stage, that's what you got. Just a straightforward person. No phoniness. It was just wonderful."
The Left Bank Jazz Society was a vibrant, cross-cultural community of jazz lovers residing in Baltimore, Maryland who decided to formally organize as a non-profit foundation and present weekly jazz concerts at the "Famous Ballroom" as a way to get more people into the music and keep the jazz scene thriving. John Fowler explained to Feldman in their interview, "Folks would bring picnic baskets, bottles of wine, or whatever they drank, and set it on the table...It became like a carnival in a way. Everybody came there for one reason: to have a good time listening to great music. We had a BYOB policy so that once you paid your admission, you didn't have to spend anything else."
"I like to think of what Reel to Real is doing with this launch is elevating the art of record making," says Feldman. "We're in a time now where streaming is king, and this label is going against the grain a bit to create deluxe packages such as this that really tell a rich story - not just about the music, but about all the people who were involved in making it and also those who were influenced by it. There's no substitute for it and I think there will always be a demand for these types of projects."
Theme From "Love Story" (10:07)
Vernon Welsh Intro (0:34)
This Girl's In Love With You (6:30)
If You Could See Me Now (4:15)
For All We Know (4:41)
Exactly Like You (5:04)
You Better Go Now (3:16)
Blow Top Blues (5:22)
Love Nest (4:22)
Don't Go To Strangers (6:32)
Etta Jones - vocals
Cedar Walton - piano
Sam Jones - bass
Billy Higgins - drums
Recorded live at the Famous Ballroom in Baltimore, MD on February 27, 1972. Presented by the Left Bank Jazz Society.