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ROY BROOKS - Understanding

featuring WOODY SHAW trumpet, CARLOS GARNETT tenor saxophone, HAROLD MABERN piano, CECIL MCBEE bass and ROY BROOKS drums

Release Date: July, 2021



Explosive Quintet Set Recorded at Baltimore’s Famous Ballroom Features Woody Shaw, Carlos Garnett, Harold Mabern, and Cecil McBee in Their Prime Three-LP and Two-CD Packages Include Comprehensive Liner Notes by Jazz Authority Mark Stryker, a New Interview with McBee, and Recollections by Brooks’ School Classmates Charles McPherson, Herb Boyd and Drummer Louis Hayes

All Proceeds from the Release Benefit the Non-Profit Detroit Sound Conservancy Understanding, a blazing 1970 concert recording featuring the Detroit born master percussionist Roy Brooks leading a gifted quintet through its spirited paces at Baltimore’s Famous Ballroom, will be released by Reel to Real Recordings in July. Comprising more than two hours of expansive performances averaging 20 minutes in length, the potent date was recorded by Left Bank Jazz Society and stars trumpeter Woody Shaw, tenor saxophonist Carlos Garnett, pianist Harold Mabern, and bassist Cecil McBee. It will initially be issued on June 12 as a three-LP set mastered by Kevin Gray and pressed on 180-gram platters at Standard Vinyl in Toronto. The set will be released as a two-CD set and digitally on June 18. All proceeds from the release -- produced with the cooperation of McBee and Garnett and the estates of Brooks, Mabern, and Shaw – will go directly to the Detroit Sound Conservancy, a non-profit organization founded in 2012 and devoted to the preservation, education, conservation, and placekeeping of the Motor City’s musical heritage. 

In a statement included in the release, label co-founders Zev Feldman and Cory Weeds and partner Raymon Torchinsky say, “Inspired by Roy Brooks’ music and the message of the Black Lives Matter movement, we have produced Understanding as our celebration of the talent, courage, spirit and resilience of the Black musicians and musicians of color who created a timeless and universal art. We recognize and acknowledge that the injustices of fifty years ago are still with us; it is time for change.” The collection is the third archival treasure from Left Bank – which mounted live jazz shows in Baltimore from 1964 through the ‘90s – to be unearthed by Resonance Records co-president and noted “Jazz Detective” Feldman, who is partnered in Reel to Real with Vancouver based jazz impresario and saxophonist Weeds.

Last November, Reel to Real issued The George Coleman Quintet in Baltimore -- a widely praised collection drawn from a 1971 stand at the Famous Ballroom by the tenor saxophonist’s band -- as a Black Friday Record Store Day title.