Whaling City Sound: New England’s Own Innovative Jazz Label
Jazz aficionados in the Seacoast area might like to be aware of a boutique record label in Fall River, Massachusetts, called Whaling City Sound. Founded in 1999 by former Kittery resident Neal Weiss, the company aims for innovative musicianship, impeccable recording quality, and professional packaging to reflect the feel of each individual recording.
Joe Zupan of WICN Radio, Worcester, Massachusetts, comments: “There are many record labels based in New England, but Whaling City Sound is the cream of the crop. They're not only documenting the original jazz emanating from New England, but delivering that music to the world in a tight, pleasing and progressive package. There’s not a week that goes by without a Whaling City Sound disc being heard on New England's Jazz and Folk Station. Keep wailin,’ Whaling City Sound!!!”
One of Whaling City’s earliest releases, WCS 007, was a live recording of the John Allmark Big Band at Bovi’s Tavern in East Providence, Rhode Island. Featuring Clay Osborne on vocals, the band also showcased the talents of some of Boston’s best jazzmen in 2001, including Rick Stepton, Dino Govoni and Arnie Krakowski. When on tour, well-known artists like Al Jarreau, Bobby Shew and Claudio Roditi have sought out the band. Bill Donaldson of Jazz Improv magazine opines, “and well they should check out Allmark's band, for it has its own distinctive arrangements, either written by its leader or commissioned from New Yorker Robert Friedman, that showcase its members’ individual talents as well as its overall cohesiveness and punch. The band contains the elements that capture an audience’s attention—things like swing, dynamics, feeling, engaging solos, right-on section work, interwoven textures and piling-on of sound until each of the tunes attains a series of dramatic conclusions before ending with a final undeniable statement.”
John Ephland, in a recent DownBeat article, has this to say about a more recent release, WCS 073: “Keyboardist Jason Miles has seen a lot during the past 40 years. His career as a professional musician—producer, arranger, composer, programmer—kicked into high gear with his first album as a leader, 1979’s Cozmopolitan, featuring Michael Brecker, Marcus Miller and Badal Roy. A duo album with trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, Kind Of New (Whaling City Sound) is the latest addition to his impressive oeuvre. Joining them for this obvious nod to a former employer, Miles Davis, are such talents as Jay Rodriguez, Jeff Coffin, and Gene Lake, who help to foster the vibe on 11 funky originals, along with a version of Wayne Shorter’s “Sanctuary.”
From its humble beginnings to its current roster of over 75 releases, each uniquely tailored to the artists it promotes, Whaling City Sound has received glowing reviews for sonic quality, captivating performances, and attractive packaging. Whaling City Sound’s website allows the interested listener to both sample the recording and peruse several reviews of the CD, a valuable service when searching for fresh and engaging music. Their affiliation with CCNow makes online shopping a breeze with a modest $14.99 price tag for any CD and a reasonable $3.00 shipping charge.
Purchasing music on a label supports artists' careers and exposes more artists to you. Please show your support for this label and the exceptional artists it represents. What it really comes down to is this—if you like the CDs and buy them, they can continue to make more of them of equal or better quality.