Resonance Records is unearthing two hidden jazz music gems for Record Store Day tomorrow.
The Los Angeles-based independent jazz label is releasing two newly discovered Wes Montgomery and Bill Evans recordings, “Back on Indiana Avenue: The Carroll DeCamp Recordings” and “Evans in England,” on limited-edition 180-gram 2LP for Record Store Day and deluxe 2 CD/digital on April 19.
“Back on Indiana Avenue” surveys the early music of Montgomery, a jazz guitarist, made in his hometown of Indianapolis during the years before he rocketed to fame after signing with Riverside Records in 1959. The 22-track album features studio and live recordings of Montgomery’s music along with Indianapolis pianist and arranger Carroll DeCamp.
It’s the sixth archival release of Montgomery’s from Resonance Records and includes an essay by jazz scholar Lewis Porter and jazz guitar giants George Benson and John Scofield. On the DeCamp recordings, Montgomery is heard in full flight in a variety of settings – piano quartets, organ trios, sextets and drummer-less Nat “King” Cole-style trios, including “Round Midnight,” “Jingles,” “Whisper Not” and others.
“‘Back on Indiana Avenue’ is a very important release of previously unissued material from guitarist Wes Montgomery, and it’s not music, it’s 2LPs, 2CDs worth of unissued material and nearly a 50-page book with all sorts of different people who have a story to talk about, a narrative of these recordings in provenance and where they came from,” said Zev Feldman, Resonance Records co-president and independent producer.
“We tell these stories, and we put out these projects, and George Klabin, God bless him, my co-president and the founder and owner of Resonance Records, he is so generous allowing this to happen. This is like fantasy land, and every day, I wake up in this different dimension and wonder, ‘Is this really my life?’”
Resonance Records’ other Record Store Day release includes “Evans in England,” a vibrant, previously unreleased set of recordings featuring music by lyrical piano master Bill Evans with bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Marty Morell captured during an engagement at Ronnie Scott’s celebrated jazz club in December 1969.
The album features 18 electrifying performances by Evans’ brilliant trio of 1968-1974 and includes extensive liner notes by Feldman and jazz writer Marc Meyers along with interviews with Gomez, Morrell and filmmaker Leon Terjanian.
The music on “Evans in England” arrived through an unexpected email in August 2016 to Feldman from Terjanian, who said he was in possession of some previously unissued Evans recordings. Terjanian had filmed Evans for his documentary feature, “Turn Out the Stars,” which premiered at the Montreal Jazz Festival in 1981.
“We’re putting out our fourth collaboration with the family, and this is a recording made in December of 1969 of the Bill Evans trio with the trio that would be together for the longest span of time with bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Marty Morell,” said Feldman, who’s worked with Resonance Records for nearly a decade.
“You basically get to hear them in a very inspired setting with an enthusiastic room to boot, and the time that was basically a year and a half into this collaboration, it would go over six years. You can hear the marvelous connection with these musicians in a way they communicate in, it’s some of Bill Evans’ greatest playing, and this trio sounds amazing.”
As a “jazz music detective,” Feldman works with Klabin and with other labels to uncover archival jazz recordings from iconic artists, such Montgomery, Evans, Eric Dolphy and Thelonious Monk, and unearthed 26 historical jazz recordings for various labels in 2016 alone. He also serves as consulting producer on archival and historical recordings for Blue Note Records with label president Don Was.
“I’m so grateful that I get a chance to do this every day, and I want to keep pouring more energy into it,” Feldman said. “I’m just having the greatest time, it’s riveting, I leap out of bed in the morning, and say ‘Give me that phone, let’s see who returned my emails this morning, let’s see what we’re doing.’”
A 25-year music industry veteran, Feldman started his career as communications and broadcasting major at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland and worked at the college radio station. There, he played hot adult contemporary music, hosted a jazz program and called on record companies, including Polygram, Motown, Polydor and Mercury.
That college radio station stint quickly led to a series of sales, marketing and licensing roles at Polygram Distribution Group, Rhino Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Concord Music Group, Jazz Legacy Productions, Posi-Tone Records, Fuel 2000 Records and other labels through 2009.
By 2009, Feldman had joined Resonance Records as executive vice president and general manager after meeting Klabin, who needed help with handling distribution and building a network. Klabin appreciated Feldman’s extensive jazz knowledge and made him a producer.
“George Klabin saw the potential that I love this music, and we were both very clear out of the gate, very kindred spirits. We’re both very passionate people, but George has done something that has altered my whole life,” said Feldman, who grew up surrounded by his parents’ record collection in Maryland.
“He said to me one day, ‘If you can go out and find me material, previously unissued from artists, and I like the music, I’ll allow you to produce it for me, how does that sound?’ It was like fire on gasoline, I started making phone calls and calling artists’ families and estates and musicians, and I started hunting down stuff.”
Today, Feldman continues to wear his “jazz detective” hat and searches for unreleased archival recordings to share with jazz music lovers worldwide. One of his latest projects includes an upcoming multi-disc box set from Nat “King” Cole.