Chances are you haven’t heard of L.A.-based jazz pianist Joe Albany, but his daughter, Amy Jo Albany, wants to introduce you.
In her 2003 memoir Low Down: Junk, Jazz, and other Fairy Tales from Childhood, Albany chronicles her father’s lifetime struggle with heroin addiction. Last year, the book was adapted for the screen; co-produced by Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, the biopic Low Down premiered at Sundance and secured a Cinematography Award. This month, Los Feliz-based reissue label Light in the Attic Records will release the film’s soundtrack on vinyl, available August 7 on LP, CD, and digital platforms.
If the goal of the movie was to portray a father-daughter relationship through Amy Jo’s eyes, the goal of the soundtrack is to portray the same story through her father’s. “It’s my father’s music, which I could say in a way [are] his words speaking,” Albany says. “It all starts with memory. In his music I hear so much about him. I hear his soul and his concerns and his pain and his love of what he was doing.”
While it was originally intended as a companion to the movie, the soundtrack on its own is a stirring and challenging body of work. It is a triumphant compilation of the great jazz musicians of the late twentieth century, featuring Albany alongside contemporaries like Thelonius Monk, Max Roach, and others. “The jazz form in itself and the tradition of jazz music is the greatest American art form and the greatest cultural gift that America has given the world,” Flea says.
The vinyl’s track listing showcases a uniquely emotional quality of jazz. From Albany’s lively, frenetic pieces to Jack Teagarten’s calming “Big Eight Blues” to Max Roach’s sorrowful “Deeds Not Words,” it has a homey and cohesive arc. Albany senior’s turbulent mind and technical skill make for an intimate listening experience—one that Albany and Flea hopes will inspire a deeper sense of acknowledgment for the music they grew up with.
To aid in the effort, Light in the Attic is offering Angelenos the chance to participate in a jazz revival. On August 26 at 6p.m., the label will host a release party at Amoeba records in Hollywood, DJ-ed by Flea and Albany. The first hundred people to buy the soundtrack will have the chance to get it signed by the pair. Swing by to pick up a copy, and check out the track listing below.
1. Ohad Talmor – Daahoud
2. Joe Albany – Angel Eyes
3. Joe Albany – Lush Life
4. Coleman Hawkins – Think Deep
5. Ben Webster & Jack Teagarden – Big Eight Blues
6. Joe Albany – Barbados
7. Ohad Talmor – Free Couples
8. Max Roach – Deeds, Not Words
9. Joe Albany – Lotus Blossom
10. Nezhdanova – Romeo Et Juliette – Gounot – Je Veux Vivre Dans Ce Reve
11. Joe Albany – Everybody Knew But Me
12. Ohad Talmor – A round Around the Night
13. Thelonious Monk – Ruby My Dear
14. Joe Albany – The Nearness Of You
15. Joe Albany / Ohad Talmor – AB Blues / AJ