Track Selection: “Melancholee”
Original rip 2011 180kbps from DJ portable £100 tt.
“Melancholee”: Grant Geen’s solo is sensitive, and Wayne Shorter’s elegant, while Morgan continues to show off his mercurial brilliance, to be lost for all time just a few years later
Lee Morgan (tp) Wayne Shorter (ts) Herbie Hancock (p) Grant Green (g) Reggie Workman (b) Billy Higgins (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, February 15, 1964
In 1964 Lee Morgan recorded what was probably his last artistically “serious” jazz record, BLP 4169 “Search for the New Land” in the company of Herbie Hancock, Grant Green and Wayne Shorter. In the same year his album “The Sidewinder” set cash registers ringing for Blue Note, entering the Billboard charts, and drawing Lee inexorably toward commercial “Pop-Bop with subsequent releases.
Vinyl: Blue Note BST 84169 Stereo – Liberty reissue – no “ear”
It sounds great, little different from an original Blue Note, perhaps a little less “bite”, though nothing that would detract from listening pleasure. During the early years of Liberty ownership, most Blue Note new titles and reissues were pressed by All Disc, Roselle N.J. a formerly independent pressing plant acquired by Liberty at the time of the Blue Note acquisition. The trademark Plastylite ear is missing but they are comparable extremely high quality pressings, with the head start of original Van Gelder mastering.
Budget-conscious audiophile collectors should enjoy a substantial saving on the price of original Plastylite Blue Note, pressed from Van Gelder master metal and a few years less wear and tear. I have over a dozen Liberty” Blue Notes reissues which all sound fresh and satisfying and I have had no audio disappointments.
This copy hails not from 1964, but from 1966 and the record presses of Liberty. Declared as a Van Gelder stamped “Van Gogh Blue Note” (missing ear) it was an eyes-wide-open deal, and the price reflected it. It is always essential to establish the presence or absence of the Plastylite “ear”. Again and again sellers “fail to mention it”, in the hope niaeve buyers will trust to luck. The rule is, if the record has all the other signs (Van Gelder stamp, NY labels, Blue Note cover address, but the seller fails to mention the ear, and hasn’t responded to your question before auction close, bid only on the basis it is not present, it is not an original Blue Note pressing.(Typically worth £30-40 rather than £80-120)
A nice touch was the inclusion of the 1966 Blue Note picture inner sleeve “27 Years of” two years more recent than the original inner sleeve. Liberty obssesively used up all printed stock before ordering new.
I would rather have a New York label original mono, but with prices climbing up to nearly £300 for desirable “originals” the chance to trade up to an early-press Liberty with New York labels and cover for only a little over £30 was too good to pass up. Thank you eBay.
(Album pictures and rip updated to modern standard October 23, 2016)