* *Orders are limited to one per customer on this title due to limited availability. **
Compass – a 1973 private press modal jazz treasure - reissued !
LP plus booklet, 500 copies, pressed at Pallas
When arists self-releases their own recordings, they do so in the hopes that a hit might develop,
or even better, a sphere of influence might form. In a lot of cases these records provide a stamp of
existence and intent – a sonic business card showing what musicians were made of. Compass Rises
(1973), the privately pressed sole LP by Oneonta, New York’s Compass, is both a sampling of
versatility and a declaration of straight-ahead purpose.
Regularly active in upstate New York between 1969 and 1974, Compass was an acoustic-electric
quartet that played original music and modern jazz standards. The group consisted of saxophonist
and bass clarinetist Rick Lawn, keyboardist Joel Chase, bassist Tom Ives (doubling on flugelhorn),
and drummer Al Colone. On the LP, percussion duties were shared across the band as well as an
conguero, Ken Parmele.
Every song on Compass Rises, with the exception of the opener, is wrien and arranged by Lawn.
The album is a nod to the post-Coltrane lineage of 1970’s jazz – even at its most spry there’s an
undertow of workmanlike toughness, perhaps a reflection of the industrial-collegiate hybrid towns
in New York where Compass plied their trade.
Ives’ “Cleanin’ Up” starts the proceedings, a modal groover that would not have sounded out of
place on a Joe Henderson Milestone LP, coupled with a neat, funky turnaround in the head.
“Sunflower” has a slight Latin flavor and while it’s not exactly Freddie Hubbard’s “Little Sunflower,”
it does have a lilt that’s both sinewy and breezy, with Lawn’s huskily burnished tenor shimmying
atop. Following the ballad “Waltz for Barbara,” a front line expanded with Ives’ flugelhorn opens
up on the driving “Blues for Vito,” dry and cracking rhythm supporting a tough, metallic dance.
Side two begins with “Schizoid,” the nasally incision of Lawn’s soprano saxophone in spiraling turns
against pummeling toms and Chase’s fuzzed-out intervallic sprawl. “Sour Cream” is a choppy bit of
soul jazz, while the closing “Pharoah’s Thing” starts off on an elegiac plateau before unfurling with
a piquant, minor-key bounce.
With its stark, somewhat gothic cover art and toothy, inspired playing and composing, Compass
Rises deserves the critical examination that it likely didn’t have upon release.
About Frederiksberg Records
Frederiksberg Records was founded in New York in 2013 by Danish video journalist and music lover
Andreas Vingaard. The name, Frederiksberg, is the part of Copenhagen where Andreas grew up
and first discovered his passion for music.
The idea for the label emerged when Andreas befriended renowned Jazz saxophonist, Carsten
Meinert. Committed to telling the story of Meinert’s music the right way, Andreas resolved to take
full ownership of the To You re-release (2015). The result has been a rollercoaster journey of
running an independent record label.
Frederiksberg Records, with roots in Scandinavian Jazz, includes a wide spectrum of genres -
electronic, disco, ambient and more