Gotta Groove Records To Reissue Rare Recording by Oberlin-Based Free Jazz Group

Famous for having put out what is quite possibly the first-ever independently released free jazz record, Oberlin’s Black Unity Trio recorded Al Fatihah on Dec. 24, 1968, at Agency Recording Studio, which was located above the old Agora Theatre.

The group released a mere 500 copies, and the album went on to become highly collectible.

Now, as part of its Ohio Wax series, locally based Gotta Groove Records will reissue the album.

“We have spared no expense in making this reissue,” reads a press release about the reissue, which comes out next week.

Grammy winner Paul Blakemore, who restored and remastered the album, cleaned random ticks from the original source material and improved the balance to bring out some of the instrument subtelties which were barely, if at all audible, in the original pressing. Gotta Groove used its proprietary GrooveCoated stamper plating technology to press the grooves into the records, and locally based Clint Holley and Dave Polster cut the lacquers from the original 1968 Scotch 201 master tapes at their Well Made Music Cutting Studio.

The gatefold jacket includes liner notes written by jazz musician Ras Moshe Burnett, and the digital download features a high resolution tape transfer.

To minimize the environmental impact of this release without compromising quality, Gotta Groove will release the album on 150-gram black vinyl. It'll be packaged in deluxe gatefold jackets constructed of 100 percent recycled chipboard and wrapped in 100 percent recycled/recyclable polybags. Seventy percent of the profits will go directly to the band, and Gotta Groove will make a donation to Black Lives Matter too.

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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