Track Selection : Another Monday Night in Birdland - “Jamph”.
Lee Morgan (tp) Curtis Fuller (tb -2/4) Hank Mobley (ts) Billy Root (ts, bars) Ray Bryant (p) Tommy Bryant (b) Charles “Specs” Wright (d) recorded “Birdland”, NYC, April 21, 1958
Look at that line up – how could you not want to put this on your turntable, right now? Lee Morgan Hank Mobley Curtis Fuller!!
Screen fades to black and white, calendar on the wall 1958, Monday night, start of the week, the day job over, put on your smartest suit, meet up with your friends in a bar for a beer, then join the queue outside Birdland. Not Saturday night at the London O2 to see the Four Dots on the Horizon Revival Tour, get up in your seat and shake your yaya’s, if you still can.
Roulette Records. No gamble this one, you have to give it a spin, a heavy vinyl deep groove, shouts 1950′s pressing quality, rarely beaten, the first Roulette original I have. Superb loud bright presentation of the brass, which is where much of the musical action takes place, if a little shy in the bass. Where is Peter Ind when you need him? Produced by one “Rudy Traylor” suspiciously similar name to Rudy VG. Given most of the artists were contracted by Blue Note, and RVG recorded many sessions for Blue Note at Birdland, you wonder if there is some ”moonlighting” going on here?
I have what I thought was a Roulette pressing of the earlier volume “Monday Night at Birdland”. It sounded dull flat and uninteresting. If something is well recorded and mastered in the first place, the pressing can still kill it. Turned out it was a Canadian pressing – I have come across Canadian pressings before and never thought highly of them (apologies to any Canadian readers, nothing personal). Maybe the record company just bused worn out stampers over the border to save money, for a small market.
But this recording is a beast: front row seat, “dynamic stereo”, great live atmosphere, crooked paste-up cover but great photograph.
Vinyl: Roulette R 52022 (OG)