Sam Records and Saga Launch new ARTISAN Record Series Aimed at Jazz and Art Lovers
From the Sam Records press release:
“By the late 1940s, the emergence of vinyl records created new opportunities for graphic artists to express their talent. The new 12'' square format seemed particularly suitable for experimentation and many labels became reputed for their innovative designs. Amazingly gifted artists such as David Stone Martin, Jim Flora, Pierre Merlin, Burt Goldblatt or Reid Miles, to name just a few, made a name for themselves illustrating or designing jazz record covers.
ARTISAN will reissue some of the rare and beautiful records that have made the fine days of the vinyl era. We will also issue previously unreleased recordings by some of the greatest performers of blues and jazz.
Every album cover will be manually screen-printed, making each record a unique object. Screen printing is well known to provide vivid colors and refined details, and we have selected the best inks and papers to produce the highest quality record covers possible. The print run for each album will be limited to 300 copies and there will be no repress.
In addition to the fine cover prints, ARTISAN will bring the same level of quality as our previous Sam Records / Saga releases, including meticulous sound restoration, 180g pressing and booklets with photos and liners.”
The first album in the limited to 300 numbered copies series is Donald Byrd’s Byrd Jazz, (Transition TRLP 5), which was the trumpeter's very first recording.
The Transition Tapes label was started by producer Tom Wilson upon his mid 1950s graduation from Harvard. Wilson eventually became Columbia Records’ first black producers and is best known for producing Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel (Wilson added the electrified backing to “Sounds of Silence” without Paul Simon’s knowledge) and of course while at Verve, The Mothers of Invention and The Velvet Underground. But previous to that he released on his own label the first recordings by both Sun Ra and Cecil Taylor. Unfortunately, in 1957 Transition folded and Wilson moved on to United Artists where he produced albums by Benny Golson, Booker Little, Art Farmer and more Cecil Taylor (with sideman John Coltrane). Wilson had a heart attack and died in 1978 at age 47.
Sam Records' packaging and presentation are always deluxe but here the label has outdone itself. The jacket is exquisitely presented and includes a booklet explaining the recording's significance and more useful background.
For more information about ARTISAN Records and to order go to The Sam Records website.
To watch how the jackets are being hand-printed go to this YouTube channel: