Joe Henderson (ts) Kenny Dorham (t) Richard Davis (b) Elvin Jones (d) McCoy Tyner (p) Recorded on April 10, 1964 Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
Henderson is still on peak form here and Dorham partners well. Within a year Blue Note Records Inc would be gone, and Henderson would migrate to Milestone – with a legacy of several great records, including the excellent “Tetragon”, and the more polemical “If you ain’t part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” and “Live at the Lighthouse”. After that he slipped off the edge for a decade or two, starting with the lamentable “Canyon Lady” and flirtations with Japan, Brazil, and Soul Jazz, not to return to form until his reinvention with highly regarded “The State of the Tenor” (1985, complete with lousy pressing common of the time).
Vinyl: Blue Note BN 4166 US original NY labels mono
After an enjoyable listening session and rediscovering a fine record, it reminded me how important pressing quality is, and the magic that Plastylite acheived for Blue Note. Rich vibrant full dynamic range, with sizzling top end, punchy mid range, and the natural resonance of rich acoustic bass, all in the right proportion. Wonderful.
My “Division of Liberty” stereo pressing was a disappointment. Not that the session doesn’t have a fine line-up – it is just a very lack-lustre pressing, missing the presence and energy to command your attention. Faced with a not inexpensive opportunity to upgrade to an original Blue Note, some thought had to go into the decision. This original pressing, mono, was EX condition vinyl, all the right pedigree confirming an original, with NYC labels, thick vinyl, ear and VAN GELDER in the runout, you know it is going to sound astonishing. And my word it does.
Pity about the cover. As the old joke scribbled on the dirty builders van goes – “also available in white”. (Though I prefer the more salacious “if only my wife was this dirty”)Forty five years ageing and lacking the earlier Blue Note dimpled laminate finish, it is nevertheless the authentic article. Just a bit grubby.
It is always a difficult decision to buy a copy of a record you have already got. Wouldn’t make sense to the “it’s all the same music isn’t it” school of thought. Living proof that it is not all the same music. I hadn’t played the Liberty for a long long time, just flat and uninviting, so you don’t bother. Now this is a different proposition. This is one to play.
The previous Liberty also taught me a lesson about eBay’s “reserve price”. Unknown to me, eBay have a minimum reserve price, of £50. I just kept upping my bids and getting a “reserve not met” response, until I foolishly bid £50. Really I was just curious to find out what the reserve was. Unfortunately, when you hit it, you have effectively agreed to pay it, and your bid is accepted, and you have no where to go but to buy. To pile on the agony, the seller let me know how pleased he was to have got the price, as he had got the record for nothing. Thanks, for nothing.
Definitely a good decision to upgrade, if a tad pricey, but then the store needs it’s mark-up to survive, and there’s no international postage cost or customs duty, so not so bad all things considered.