Track Selection: Hub Cap
Freddie Hubbard (tp) Julian Priester (tb) Jimmy Heath (ts) Cedar Walton (p) Larry Ridley (b) Philly Joe Jones (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, April 9, 1961.
Hub Cap is a logical expansion of the quintet format and follows on from stellar Hubbard releases, Open Sesame and Going Up. exhilarating, fizzling with energy, smoking three-brass section – Hubbard, Heath and Priester - gives tremendous textures and tonal range, free enough not suffer “death by arranging”, as happens when a brass section is over- orchestrated. Priester’s trombone is used to great effect to define the lower register whilst Hubbard’s bright tone sparkles over the top. Great bop and if anything, ahead of its time.
Vinyl: Blue Note BLP 4073
As famous playwright and modern jazz fan Will-I-Am Shakespeare wrote in his popular Elizabethan comedy of manners and record collecting, Round about Midnight’s Summer Dream:
“You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things , First Press or not First, that is the question. Have you not got Cohen’s Guide?” .
Non-DG: Hubcap was pressed at a time when new non-DG dies were being adopted by Plastylite for new releases. Beginning with BLP-4061 very few first pressings were deep groove.There is a consensus that few if any of these premium copies – including promos, have deep groove. Almost all are non-DG.In this case, no DG= good.
The Labels: I believe Cohen claims the mixed label is the first pressing (confirm?) . Popsike has high value copies sold with 47 West 63rd on both sides, New York label on both sides, and mixed labels, all claiming to be the “original/ first pressing”.
A half dozen Blue Note releases later, the label changed officially to New York address and there are a number of releases around this catalogue number that bear mixed labels – 47W63rd and NY. The majority of premium price auctions appear to have 47 West 63rd both sides, and only a couple with mixed labels. The appearance of the NY label would, logically, be a later pressing, using up old stock 47 West 63rds
Frankly, I don’t care. At the end of the day, it has the right sound: magnificent.
It’s mono, it’s got the ear, it’s got the RVG machine stamp, it come from the original mother and master and the sound is pure Plastylite Blue Note. And the cover is a beautiful laminate
Sellotape removed from the front but leaves its telltale stain on the absorbent paper of the liner notes. And guess who got a red felt-tip and ruler for Christmas? From the collection of prolific collector Schmidt, who always decorated his collection with his name, but tastefully done. Better than “Happy Birthday John, Mum”, which I once found on a Blue Note.
Source: West London record shop, where ”The Man” knows his jazz stuff. He has a copy of Cohen’s Guide to Blue Note 1st Pressings to hand and is a ruthless negotiator (I have to say that as he is an occasional follower of this blog).
I have yet to convince him his main duty is not to make money for his employer, but running a sort of Vinyl Adoption Agency, finding good homes for records. Hubcap is a pedigree Blue Note from a good address. Cared for and brought up by a kindly collector, Schmidt, Hubcap had recently run away, but fortunately taken in by this charitable West London Vinyl Adoption Agency.
After making a generous credit card donation to the agency I was delighted to take Hubcap home and give it a fresh start. After a good wash and clean up it was introduced to other pedigree Blue Notes. It is no longer self-conscious about its lack of deep groove, and enjoys getting out to play. Woof woof.