George Wallington: Jazz for the Carriage Trade (1956) Prestige/ Esquire


Track Selection: Foster Dulles (Frank Foster)


Donald Byrd (trumpet) Phil Woods (alto saxophone) George Wallington (piano) Teddy Kotick (bass) Bill Bradley (drums), recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, January 20, 1956.


Wallington was pianist with Dizzy Gillespie’s first bop band in the 1940’s. In 1956, young trumpeter Donald Byrd and altoist Phil Woods were regular members of his quintet, along with bassist Teddy Kotick and ubiquitous drummer Art Taylor.  The selected track Foster Dulles falls  between bebop and hard bop with Woods sounding particularly strong with Byrd the promising youngster leading the solo’s.

Phil Woods is a particular favourite of mine. Perhaps not the lightness of touch and fluidity of Konitz, but a more sinuous bluesy swinging phrasing, honed here in bop. His Alto Summit with Konitz is worth listening out for, along with Four Altos, with Gene Quill and another two alto voices.

Vinyl: Esquire 32-032 UK 1st release of US Prestige PRLP 7032

Esquire unusually using the original cover art rather than a locally commissioned alternative cover.  RVG hand etched, not Abbey Mfg – no  indication of which US plant prepared the metal.

Original cover pictured below. I like the band wearing Sunday-best suits, as you would, for a “special occasion” like a funeral.

The label bears an indistinct stamp, I think, “RETURN TO LIBRARY”. Quite possibly the record was originally in a radio library like the British Broadcasting Company, taken out for radio play. This would be consistent with the residue of a paper label on the back cover, a filing reference. The BBC sold off their vinyl library many years ago, according to one dealer I spoke to, who had acquired and subsequently sold a good number.



Collector’s Corner

Pictures updated June 29, 2016. I am embarrassed at the quality I posted back in 2011. This LP was released by Esquire in December 1957, a tad short of sixty years ago. It has weathered that length of time better than I have, still sharp corners, and no seam splits. The record, not me. My seams went long ago, so much so that I’m actually held together with sellotape.


12 thoughts on “George Wallington: Jazz for the Carriage Trade (1956) Prestige/ Esquire

    • A.T. was not on the cover picture, which has drummer Bill Bradley instead, who does not play on the record.

    • Dottore, quite, but I think Phil Woods here deserves a pass – the year before this recording he married Charlie Parker’s widow, Chan.

      In passing, I was shocked by the poor quality of the photography I posted back in 2011. In penance, it has been updated to today’s standard: at least my lovely Esquire now looks as it does in real life, not all pale and washed out (even if some of the players do)

  1. the color of writings is very difficult to recognize on this record: mostly grey but, especially in title on top front, it seems to have a little bit of green, much less than in your issue.

  2. a question: where did you get that Prestige pic?
    I didn’t remember the sepia tone and, actually, just picked out my copy and it’s white with grey-green titles.

  3. This album is an absolute slammer and thankfully available on CD for cheap. I love every single track of it and although it’s the last cut on this album, I like “But George” the most. Some of the usual online CD outlets also list this beauty including a ‘bonus dvd’. The weird thing however is that despite endless searching I have not been able to find what actually is on that dvd… Also this time of year, autumn on the Northern Hemisphere to be exact, is perfect for an album like this in my opinion. As I’m writing this it’s kinda foggy outside, no wind, it’s not really super cold and the falling leaves have the most beautiful colours, the perfect reason to first have a long and brisk walk through the woods and then come home, put this energetic beauty on and stretch out on the couch. Last but not least it’s nice to listen very closely to the solos, ’cause you can actually hear -when a solo is almost done- that Rudy slowly moves the faders of the others back up again. Just try it, you’ll notice it as with so many other of his recordings.

  4. Wallington was a good bop pianist and his crew here works very well together.
    i never heard this recording but have a few others good cds by George’s quintet.
    great tune 🙂

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