Deluxe Package Features Essays by A. Scott Galloway and Pat Thomas, Remembrances from Quincy Jones, Roberta Flack, Bonnie Raitt, Monty Alexander, Roger Kellaway, Emmet Cohen, Nathan East and more!
Previously Unseen Photos by Massive booklet with many rare and previously unpublished photos by Lee Tanner, Jean-Pierre Leloir, Christian Rose
and Les McCann himself
Tomorrow, September 23, is the 88th birthday of pianist/vocalist Les McCann, one of the most revered and influential figures in soul-jazz. The milestone is heralded by today’s announcement that a new album, Never A Dull Moment! – Live from Coast to Coast (1966-1967), is set for release this upcoming Record Store Day Black Friday (November 24). The new album, a limited edition three-LP set, includes 1966 performances at Penthouse Club in Seattle and at New York’s Village Vanguard the next year.
Between 1960 and 1966, McCann toured relentlessly and had played on more than two dozen full length records released by Pacific Jazz and Limelight. His performances at the Penthouse in Seattle in 1966 and at New York’s Village Vanguard in 1967 were captured on tape, and soon these historic recordings, totaling almost 2 hours and 20 minutes, will be the focus of Resonance Records efforts for Record Store Day Black Friday. Never A Dull Moment! is presented with sound restoration by George Klabin and Fran Gala and was mastered for vinyl by Bernie Grundman. It was produced for release by Zev Feldman and George Klabin.
The Penthouse sides were recorded on January 27 and February 3, 1966 with bassist Stanley Gilbert and drummer Paul Humphrey, and on February 10, 1966 with Tony Bazley on drums. McCann’s band for the tracks recorded at the Village Vanguard on July 16, 1967 featured Leroy Vinnegar (bass) and Frank Severino (drums). The Penthouse recordings were originally recorded for Jazz After Hours, as heard on KING-FM with host Jim Wilke with the enthusiastic participation of the club’s impresario Charlie Puzzo.
It’s noteworthy to that the music from the Village Vanguard was captured by Resonance founder and co-president George Klabin more than 56 years ago. He used a portable Crown 2-track tape recorder and mixed the material as it was being performed. “We were just waiting for the right moment to give these historic recordings a proper release and the occasion of the master of the 88s’ 88th birthday seemed like the way to fulfill that vision in time for Record Store Day Black Friday,” stated Klabin. There’s also a bonus track “(Back Home Again In) Indiana,” recorded at the Penthouse on August 15, 1963 with bassist Victor Gaskin and drummer Tony Bazley.
Photo by Lee Tanner
The package is enhanced by insightful liner notes, including Resonance co-president’s Zev Feldman’s introductory commentary, as well as extensive essays by Pat Thomas and A. Scott Galloway. Both journalists have been part of McCann’s inner circle for years and had earlier contributed written pieces that appeared in Invitation to Openness: The Jazz & Soul Photography of Les McCann 1960-1980,first published by Fantagraphics in 2015. The Never A Dull Moment! package also includes rare images from noted photographers Lee Tanner, Christian Rose and Jean-Pierre Leloir, as well as first person testimony by a range of notables including Roberta Flack (whom Les McCann “discovered” at a Washington, DC venue and brought to the attention of Atlantic Records), Monty Alexander, Roger Kellaway, Bobby Lyle, contemporary jazz pianists Joe Alterman and Emmet Cohen, Bonnie Raitt, Nathan East, McCann’s long standing manager Alan Abrahams, and the artist himself.
Les McCann wrote, “When my manager, Alan Abrahams, told me that there were some recently uncovered recordings that have never been released before from the ’60s, I was really curious if they were any good. People were always sending me cassettes that they have come across over the years and the sound was usually shit. When I was informed that these live recordings were from the Penthouse in Seattle (a cool venue), and also from the Village Vanguard in New York (a really cool venue), I held my breath . . . then I heard them and I said ‘Daaamn!’ People who know me know that I never planned for the future, but when you deal from the heart, you have no fear and Never A Dull Moment! – Live from Coast to Coast 1966-1967 shows that beautifully.”
Roberta Flack: “Les and I found each other in the musical world of the tumultuous ’60s. Les heard deeply what I was saying and his recommendation of me to Atlantic Records was a pivotal moment in my career. He is a giant in my world of music — a limitless creator, inspiration and friend.”
Quincy Jones: “Les McCann has been a musical force of nature since he burst on the scene in the early 60’s. Whenever I heard him live or on record, he always did the unexpected and now the ‘unexpected’ has happened again. These recently recovered live recordings from 1966-1967 are Les in his favorite trio format. If you’re a fan of jazz, your collection will be incomplete without this collection by one of the best.”
Monty Alexander: “Les is one of those guys who was completely identifiable but he also played a music that made people deliriously happy. And he was a big influence on me. Just like all the gospel piano players, like Ray Charles. He’s so unique. And on a personal level, it’s all because of Les that I made my first album.”
Emmet Cohen: “I think that Les McCann was able to reach beyond our insular jazz community and reach everyday people outside on the street or in a bar or wherever. It’s one of the most difficult things to do — to maintain your integrity as a musician and also reach everyone. Very few musicians have been able to do that in the history of the music.”
Never A Dull Moment! – Live from Coast to Coast (1966-1967)
LP 1 / SIDE A
Recorded at the Penthouse Jazz Club in Seattle, WA on January 27, 1966.
1. Blue ‘n’ Boogie (5:29)–D. Gillespie, F. Paparelli / Universal Music Corporation (ASCAP)
2. Could Be (6:54)–L. McCann / Irving Music (BMI)
3. The Grabber (4:07)–M. Alexander / EMI Unart Catalog, Inc. (BMI)
4. Yours Is My Heart Alone (9:15)–F. Lehár, F. Loehner, H. Smith / European American Music Distributors LLC, Shubert Music Publishing Corp. (ASCAP)
Recorded at the Penthouse Jazz Club in Seattle, WA on January 27, 1966
1. The Shampoo (5:31)–L. McCann / Irving Music (BMI)
2. Wait For It (6:12)–L. McCann / Irving Music (BMI)
3. This Could Be the Start of Something Big (4:01)–S. Allen / Meadowlane Music Inc.
LP 2 / SIDE C
Recorded at the Penthouse Jazz Club in Seattle, WA on February 3, 1966
1.Out In The Outhouse (5:44) –L. McCann / Irving Music (BMI)
2. A Night In Tunisia (6:16) –D. Gillespie, F. Paparelli / Universal Music Corporation (ASCAP)
3. Da-Da (4:45) –L. McCann / Irving Music (BMI)
Recorded at the Penthouse Jazz Club in Seattle, WA on February 10, 1966
1.Lavande (7:24)–L. McCann / Irving Music (BMI)
2. There Will Never Be Another You (7:23) –H. Warren, M. Gordon / Four Jays Music Co., Mattsam Music, Morley Music Co. (ASCAP)
Recorded at the Penthouse on August 15, 1963
3. (Back Home Again In) Indiana (7:53) *–L. Hanley, A. Meader
LP 3 / SIDE E
Recorded at the Village Vanguard, New York on July 16, 1967
1. Love for Sale (7:11)–C. Porter / Warner Bros. Inc. (Warner Bros. Music Div.) (ASCAP)
2. I Can Dig It (8:24)–L. McCann / Irving Music (BMI)
3. Doin’ That Thing (8:57)–L. Vinnegar / Second Floor Music (BMI)
Recorded at the Village Vanguard, New York on July 16, 1967
1. I Am In Love (6:07)–C. Porter / Chappell-Co Inc. (ASCAP)
2. Goin’ Out of My Head (3:11)–T. Randazzo, B. Weinstein / Vogue Music (BMI), Universal Music Publishing Canada II (SOCAN)
3. Sunny (9:13)–B. Hebb / Bara Joy Music Co LLC, PW Ballads, Songs of Universal Inc. (BMI)
4. Blues 5 (5:00)–L. McCann / Irving Music (BMI)
5. The Shampoo (1:36)–L. McCann / Irving Music (BMI)
About Resonance Records – Resonance Records is devoted to preserving jazz and discovering the rising stars of tomorrow. The label is a division of the Rising Jazz Stars Foundation, a California 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation created to discover the next jazz stars – passionate, brilliant musicians from around the world. It assists and supports them through recording, performance opportunities and distribution of their art. Every Resonance album is produced without compromise, to create and preserve its artists’ jazz legacy.