The Southern University Jazz Ensemble’s Spiritual Jazz – Issued To The World At Last

First ever commercial releases of New Orleans’ legend Alvin Batiste’s Spiritual Jazz albums created with the college band he instructed and led in Baton Rouge – Goes To Africa With Love and Live at The 1971 American College Jazz Festival. Licensed from and produced under the direction of the Batiste Family.

Originally given away as souvenirs at Southern University, these albums contains deep Batiste originals and, on Live, are paired with excellent John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard covers. They are some of the most sought after albums of Americas 70s jazz underground.

Each album contains extensive booklet detailing Batiste’s life and his time spent honing and recording this remarkable band of young students.

Goes To Africa With Love was mixed from the original multi-track tapes and is now presented as a 2LP with never-before-released instrumentals.

These albums are being offered individually and as a value-priced bundle in an exclusive pre-sale via our webstore at Rappcats and at the Now-Again Bandcamp. These records ship immediately. Worldwide retail release dates come late June and early July.

BUY NOW AT RAPPCATS » The Southern University Jazz Ensemble Goes To Africa With Love
BUY NOW AT BANDCAMP » The Southern University Jazz Ensemble Goes To Africa With Love

BUY NOW AT RAPPCATS » The Southern University Jazz Ensemble Live at The 1971 American College Jazz Festival
BUY NOW AT BANDCAMP » The Southern University Jazz Ensemble Live at The 1971 American College Jazz Festival

That one of the great Spiritual Jazz albums of the era could be found in duplicate New Orleans thrift store in the 1980s goes a long way in illustrating the lack of acclaim this special and overlooked album maintained, even in a city where the Batiste name is musical royalty. The Southern University albums Alvin Batiste offered the world were novelies, not worthy of serious consideration, a moment captured, but not necessarily worthy of being collected or preserved by anyone not immediately involved in its creation.

That changes now. With the release of the two Southern University albums, Now-Again continues a conversation begun with the late Kashmere Stage Band director Conrad O. Johnson and the issue of his high school students’ music as Texas Thunder Soul, and the continued belief that beautiful music created by youth – even under the most adverse circumstances – can always inspire us.

The process that led to the issue of these albums on Now-Again was long and circuitous – the Batiste family had to come to a consensus on the issue of the albums, find master tapes, collate photos and help direct the production of these albums.

Goes To Africa With Love, originally issued as a very long-playing single LP, was, in its nearly-impossible-to-find original form, a quiet album marred with a low fidelity. Maynard Batiste, Alvin’s son and a one-time member of the Southern University Jazz Ensemble, found the original multi-track tapes. They were remediated and transferred by Dan Johnson at Audio Archiving and then mixed by Jason Bitner. The resulting music was spread across two vinyl discs, with previously unreleased instrumentals of “Samba Dee” and “Music Came” included on side D.

Jazz historian Bret Sjerven penned a detailed set of liner notes, presented in an oversized booklet packed full of never-published photos. Sjerven’s investigation delves into Batiste’s history and the deep Louisiana scene which birthed these remarkable records, and which we can finally engage in their definitive entirety.

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