Vinyl Me, What? Vinyl Me, Please!!
Good things come in 12 inch packages. Delivering limited edition pressings of new and classic albums directly to your doorstep, Vinyl Me, Please operates under a simple philosophy: The Album Lives. With a carefully curated catalog of new and hard to find releases, the subscription service is more than just a record club…it’s a lifestyle choice for folks who wish Record Store Day could happen every month. In their living room.
Here’s how it works. You send Vinyl Me, Please some of your hard-earned money (plans start at $25/month) and they send you one meticulously selected album worthy of your time and attention. Easy, right? Each custom pressing (often on colored vinyl!) also comes with special features like original artwork and even a recipe for a companion cocktail. Best of all, you get access to the VMP online store. That means you’ll have a chance to grab a copy of previous VMP selections from the archives – including November’s pop-tastic release of Masseduction by St. Vincent – not to mention a bevy of rare and exclusive releases.
When the December store opens, members will have a chance to get their hands on some serious choice selections including reissues from Nina Simone (Little Girl Blue) and blues legend Lightnin’ Hopkins (Soul Blues). There’s a sexy new pressing of Yeah Yeah Yeah’s landmark album Fever to Tell coming to the shop and an absolutely insane box set of Thelonious Monk’s Prestige Records 10″ releases hitting the shelves as well. And if you’re hell-bent on being at the forefront of new music, you’ll definitely want to check out Extended Plea, the new EP from this month’s VMP Rising Artist Toulouse. Trust us.
There’s more. A lot more. While the store is open to the public, many of the more exciting selections are only available to members. That means you’ll have to sign up if you wanna get your mits on them. If you’re peckish about relinquishing control of your record collection over to complete strangers, know that VMP’s Swaps Program is in full effect. That means you can flip any VMP pick you don’t like for a past AOM that’s a little more your speed. My advice? Don’t overthink it. Do yourself a favor and sign up today. Just in case you were wondering, nothing says Happy Holidays for that music lover in your house like a year-long VMP membership. And if that music lover is a jazz enthusiast, you should definitely take a look at signing them up for VMP’s jazz-centric “Classics” membership.
So, what’s in this month’s box? Team VMP is casting a seriously cool spell over the holiday season with their slick reissue of Sorcerer by Miles Davis.
For the Love of Music, Please DO NOT BEND
Here’s the thing: jazz is not for everybody, but it’s been an absolutely vital part of the evolution of music over the past century; and few musicians are more influential in the art form than Miles Davis. So, if you love jazz, then you almost have to love Miles Davis. And if you love Miles Davis, well, you’re really gonna love Sorcerer.
What, you’ve never listened to Sorcerer before? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Recorded in 1967 by Davis (and the second iteration of his Quintet), the album found the trumpet-playing impresario at a career impasse. Seems Davis was no longer satisfied rehashing the style of jazz that made him a legend, but he hadn’t yet begun his experiments in counter-culture rock and electronic composition. While Davis’ name remains front and center on Sorcerer, the album is often regarded as the least Davis-centric recording of his eclectic career.
In fact, Davis is not credited as composer for even one single track on Sorcerer. He doesn’t even play on the album’s second track “Pee Wee.” That left Davis’ esteemed bandmates: Wayne Shorter (sax), Tony Williams (drums), Ron Carter (double bass), and Herbie Hancock (piano) to carry the load of crafting the rhyme and rhythm of Sorcerer on their own. If you’re familiar with even a couple of those names, then you know that rhythm was in more than capable hands.
Make no mistake, what those four musicians bring to Sorcerer is nothing short of miraculous. Still, Sorcerer is never more alive than when Davis’ trumpet is coloring the album’s landscape. Part of what makes Sorcerer such a compelling listen is hearing just how concisely those artists composed their own arrangements around Davis’ contributions. That’s what you’ll hear in erratic, energetic album opener “Prince of Darkness.” It’s what you’ll feel in the sly, understated cool of “Masquelero.” And it’s what gives the free-form madness of “Limbo” the endlessly listenable sort of energy that made jazz relevant to begin with. So no, Sorcerer may not be Davis at his Round About Midnight or Kind of Blue best, but it finds the artist open in ways that he maybe hadn’t been before. And somewhere in the mix, Sorcerer becomes its own sort of magic.
If you’re wondering who that stunning young lady gracing the cover of Sorcerer is, it’s screen legend Cicely Tyson. If you’re wondering why she’s on the cover, it’s because she was dating Miles Davis at the time of the album’s recording. As this is one of the least Miles Davis-centric albums of his career, it seems only fitting that he wouldn’t even be on the cover. And before you start rifling through that box, be sure to flip that cover over and dig on the little stamp in the bottom left corner. That EXCLUSIVE PRESSING stamp is just one of the features that makes VMP so damned cool.
But What’s in the Box!?
Ok, before we dig too deep into December’s box, let’s all take a moment to absorb the info on this all important little sticker. You’re reading that right, this pressing was in fact “remastered from the Original Tapes.” Well done, team VMP. Well done, indeed.
Once you’ve let that sink in, feel free to keep digging and absorb this bit of rhythmic rambling from VMP’s own poet laureate Tyler Barstow.
Don’t forget to check the corner of that insert too, ’cause that’s where you’ll find the initials of the VMP staffer who personally packed your box. Thanks for the love, MC.
Flip that slip and you’ll find Chason Huggins’ recipe for Sorcerer‘s companion cocktail, the aptly named “The Cicely.” Be careful though, “The Cicely” features 100 proof bourbon, so its certain to pack as dramatic a punch as the lady herself.
Keep digging and you’ll come across this stunning bit of original artwork from New York-based artist Santiago Carrasquilla. To quote one of my favorite moments from Mad Men, “I feel like I’m getting sucked into this thing,” and that’s ok, ’cause Sorcerer is gonna suck you in as well.
For those of you who do your vinyl shopping online, you’re gonna want to check out this breakdown of the featured titles headed to the VMP store this month. Yeah, we’ve got our eye on that Star Wars: A New Hope box set too.
Now, let’s get into that sleeve and dig out that 8-page booklet you read about on the album’s poly-sleeve sticker. Featuring color pictures, full liner notes, and a forward from New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff, you’re definitely going to want to spend a few minutes with this beauty.
What about that disc, you ask? You’re gonna dig that Orchid Purple. And just FYI – Team VMP basically had to invent a new color to specifically match their vinyl to the purple on the album’s cover. Those tiny little details are what make a Vinyl Me, Please membership such a unique experience, my friends.
And it’s bound to bring some serious cool to your deck too.
How’s it sound? Like you walked into a studio in 1967 and found Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, and Ron Carter hanging out and recording a semi-experimental jazz record of songs loosely built around the sound of Davis’ already iconic horn. Seriously, that’s just how good this remastered disc sounds.
Give It a Spin
There are not many certainties in the world of popular music. One of the things that’s remained true over the past 50 years or so is that we’ll never fully comprehend the impact that Miles Davis’ music had on the world. To even try, you’d have to go back and listen to every single piece of music he ever recorded. If you relish the chance to do just that on vinyl, you’re still facing an uphill – and potentially pricey – battle to find some of his lesser known fare like Sorcerer on wax. We cannot thank Vinyl Me, Please enough for digging deep into the vaults to bring this little-heard gem back to the masses, and for making every month another musical adventure.
A big THANK YOU to our friends at Vinyl Me, Please for sponsoring this subscription. Don’t forget to check out the official Vinyl Me, Please website and sign up to get some choice wax delivered right to your door each month! Can’t wait to see what sweet treat the send our way to kick off the new year!