Craft Recordings and Jazz Dispensary are proud to announce the first two offerings of 2023 from the acclaimed Top Shelf series, with a groove-tacular double feature of David Axelrod’s jazz-rock opus Heavy Axe and hit-maker Bernard Purdie’s rhythm extravaganza Purdie Good!. Heavily sought after by cratediggers globally, these reissues mark the first wide vinyl release of both albums in over 20 years. As with every title in the album-centric Top Shelf series, which reissues the highest-quality, hand-picked rarities, Heavy Axe and Purdie Good! have been cut from the original analog tapes (AAA) by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio and pressed on audiophile-quality 180-gram vinyl at RTI. The LPs are housed in tip-on jackets, featuring faithfully reproduced original designs.
Legendary producer David Axelrod’s solo album Heavy Axe is one of the finest outputs of the jazz-rock wave, which was the preeminent sound of the mid ’70s. With a little help from legendary players like Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Cannonball Adderley, and George Duke, Heavy Axe crisscrosses between lush funk sounds and full, round low end and majestic orchestral flourishes that made Axelrod’s sonic realm a goldmine for sample-hungry hip-hop beatmakers from the ’90s until today.
In between being one of the most recorded studio drummers of all time, the beat-maestro extraordinaire Bernard Purdie squeezed in a few sessions of his own. Purdie Good! was recorded early in 1971 by legendary engineer and audio obsessive Rudy Van Gelder, at his bespoke studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, and has all the quality hallmarks of that esteemed locale. Three Purdie-penned originals are balanced by three covers of hits-du-jour, utmost among them a blazing romp through James Brown’s “Cold Sweat.”