A Subscription Vinyl Service, In Search of Sorcery, Turns to the Miles Davis Quintet

Nov 21, 2017

Over the last several years, one success story in the so-called vinyl boom has been an independent company called Vinyl Me, Please. Founded in 2013, it has expanded to reach more than 20,000 subscribers, each of whom receives a spotlight album of the month, reissued in a deluxe pressing with original artwork and other extras.

Past albums to receive this treatment have included Odelay, by Beck, and The Score, by Fugees. The next selection will be Sorcerer, recorded and released by Miles Davis in 1967. As part of the Vinyl Me, Please Essentials tier, the album will be serviced to its worldwide subscription base.

“Of all the Miles Davis albums, Sorcerer is one that deserves the Vinyl Me, Please treatment because it’s almost like a forgotten, crate digger special in the formidable Davis canon,” said Andrew Winistorfer, the company’s Head of Editorial, in a statement.

Sorcerer was the third of five albums made by the Miles Davis Quintet, with Wayne Shorter on saxophones, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass and Tony Williams on drums. It’s a band statement in more than one sense, including the fact that Davis fills the track list with compositions by his younger band mates. (On one of these, Williams’ “Pee Wee,” he doesn’t even play his horn.) Here is the title track, a Hancock tune.

In his liner notes for the Vinyl Me, Please reissue, Ben Ratliff pegs Sorcerer as “a contrary and underdog-like recording by an artist who must have been at a moment of reckoning; he had not yet figured out his breakout move into electric music to interact with the counterculture, and within the acoustic jazz tradition he may have gone as far as he could go.”

Remastered from the original tapes, the new LP features purple vinyl, an eight-page booklet and a 12x12 print by the Colombian artist Santiago Carrasquilla. Anyone who signs up for a Vinyl Me, Please subscription by Dec. 15 will have a chance to receive this release, before the series moves on to the next album.  

Vinyl Me, Please has featured jazz on occasion in its main subscription pool, with albums like Thelonious Monk's Paris 1969 and Nina Simone Sings the Blues. It has a “Classics” plan whose titles have included Alice Coltrane’s Journey in Satchidananda and Archie Shepp’s Attica Blues.

Anyone interested in a subscription vinyl plan featuring contemporary artists should also know about Newvelle Records, a boutique label whose releases have often featured in our coverage at WBGO.

Newvelle recently announced its third “season” of releases, including a standards album by guitarist Lionel Loueke, a Paul Motian / Charlie Haden tribute by guitarist Steve Cardenas, and a program of originals by the Cuban drummer Francisco Mela. For a taste of the season, here is a video provided by Newvelle: