Vinyl jazz reissues usually come in two flavors: bare-bones budget releases or expensive audiophile editions. But in 2019, Blue Note Records president Don Was launched the label’s Tone Poet series, produced by Joe Harley, which offers high-quality reissues from the imprint’s storied catalog at a recommended price of $35 — more than most vinyl but a bargain by audiophile standards. Consumers are responding. Blue Note says projected orders for releases are up over 400%, to the point that this year’s reissue of Lee Morgan’s The Rajah has sold more than 9,000 copies worldwide, an impressive number for a lesser-known album. Says Was: “We sell everything we make.”
How did you start doing these Tone Poet releases?