Los Angeles, CA — We’re honored that two Craft box sets were nominated for GRAMMYs® today, both in the Best Album Notes category: The Complete Cuban Jam Sessions, with album notes by Latin music expert Judy Cantor-Navas and Stax ’68: A Memphis Story, with album notes by record producer Steve Greenberg. Our hearty congratulations to Judy and Steve! Preserving classic recordings and communicating their legacy to new generations of fans is a vital part of Craft Recordings’ mission, and we’re proud to be recognized for our efforts.

Compiled in THE COMPLETE CUBAN JAM SESSIONS in their entirety and original format for the first time, the five volumes of Panart’s Cuban Jam Session albums were recorded over a span of almost a decade, from 1956–1964. Together these albums encapsulate a stylistic and historic panorama of Cuban music, from big band son montuno to Afro-Cuban rumbamambocha-cha-chá and country acoustic guajira music. At the same time, they attest to Cuba’s long relationship with popular American music and jazz.

Collectively these sessions feature an impressive line-up of renowned pioneers of descarga (improvised jam session), including pianist Julio Gutiérrez, tres player Niño Rivera, flautist José Fajardo and the legendary master bassist and mambo co-creator, Israel “Cachao” López. Participating musicians include the legendary percussionist Tata Güines, trombone master Generoso Jiménez, pioneering Cuban jazz drummer Guillermo Barreto, Cachao’s brother and co-father of the mambo Orestes López, ground-breaking timbales player/drummer Walfredo de los Reyes, Sr., jazz-influenced pianist Pedro JústizPeruchín” and Cuban scat singer Francisco Fellove, among many others.

The 5-LP set includes 35 tracks on 180-gram audiophile vinyl in tip-on jackets. It offers a 28-page book featuring black-and-white archival images of the featured artists as well as extensive liner notes and musician bios in English and Spanish by award-winning Latin music writer, Cuban music specialist and box set co-producer, Judy Cantor-Navas. The 5-CD version comes packaged in mini-jacket replicas of the vinyl jackets and is supplemented by an extensive 96-page CD booklet.

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When it comes to soul, Stax Records owned the ’60s. Classic records from Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Rufus & Carla Thomas, and a legion of others helped transform what was once known as rhythm ‘n’ blues into rugged, emotionally bare “soul” music. This made Stax one of the decade’s most influential labels of any genre. It all crescendoed in 1968, a tempest-tossed year when the label redefined its own sound and, in the process, channeled a larger historical zeitgeist.

Stax ’68: A Memphis Story captures this crossroads in stunning, beautiful detail. The five-disc box set contains the A- and B-sides of every single released under the Stax banner in 1968, including the company’s sub-labels. With a 56-page book including revelatory, in-depth liner notes by Andria Lisle, Robert Gordon, and Steve Greenberg, as well as rare and previously unseen photos, the set presents more than 120 songs from this unprecedented creative period in American music. Some tracks are by soul legends (Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, William Bell, Booker T. & The M.G.’s, Johnnie Taylor) and some come from the deeper Stax catalog, and are equally incredible artists (Linda Lyndell, The Soul Children, The Mad Lads).

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