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REISSUE MADNESS FOR YOUR HI-FI: BOWIE, THE DEAD, MATHIS, JAZZ BY THE SEA

Oh, the embarrassment of riches that befalls us with Q4 underway. We've already kvelled about the forthcoming Dylan set. Here are a bevy of other great gift ideas for your upper-demo loved ones, who appreciate the value of a good box set and music that was originally available only on vinyl.

First up: Rhino's lavish David Bowie box, Five Years: 1969-1973, which includes seminal albums Space Oddity, The Man Who Sold the World, Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust (in two versions), Aladdin Sane, the adventurous cover set Pin-Ups and a brilliant 1972 concert-doc disc, as well as new comp, Re:Call, boasting a fleet of rarities, mono versions and other obscure gems. Add a handsome hardcover box with gorgeous pics and an admiring essay from Ray Davies, and you've got a very happy holiday offering for any Bowie fan.

Columbia/Legacy has reissued Erroll Garner's incandescent, mega-selling live jazz set Concert by the Sea in a sumptuous three-disc set that has made sales waves at Amazon already. The new version, with the complete 1965 concert (taped in Carmel, CA) on two CDs and the original edited concert on the third, features exquisite renditions of standards like "Night and Day," "Autumn Leaves," "S'Wonderful," "Laura's Theme," "The Nearness of You" and "I Cover the Waterfront." While the cocktails-and-Hi-fi era is now remembered in kitschy terms, this recording will make you understand that perfectly recorded jazz can be fully intoxicating.

Speaking of cocktails, hi-fi and romance, Legacy also has a handsome four-disc set of Johnny Mathis, The Singles. While Mathis never got much respect among the hipoisie, his pipes are pretty freakin' marvelous, and all his essential recordings are here.

Rhino's Mark Pinkus is a true steward of the Grateful Dead's musical legacy, and one minute of conversation with the man lets you know that it's a labor of love. The latest lovely fruit of that labor is the four-disc 30 Trips Around the Sun: The Definitive Live Story, 1965-1995, a (comparatively) condensed overview of Jerry, Bob and mates' onstage evolution from scruffy psychedelic sorcerers to cosmic American institution. The set combs the archives for killer takes on an array of tunes—including underrated gems like "Doin' That Rag," "Ramble on Rose," "Here Comes Sunshne" and "Saint of Circumstance."

 

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