Track Selection “The Rake” >
BN 4023 Dizzy Reece (tp) Hank Mobley (ts) Wynton Kelly (p) Paul Chambers (b) Art Taylor (d) Recorded Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, November 19, 1959
Described by Cook and Morton as “a little rough around the edges” Star Bright benefits from Wynton Kelly’s strong and distinctive presence in Reece’s supporting quartet, with the Chambers and Taylor’s unflagging rhythmic drive and Hank Mobley is never far away from the front line. Reece himself can be quite a restrained player, and Cook remarks his trump card is the marvelous band he had around him. The track selection “The Rake” sees everyone get a good outing.
Division of United Artists are one of the exceptions to the Linear Model of Declining Fidelity (no, not the French art-house film). Usually, the further away you get from the original performance and recording the worse the sound, but these Div of UA pressings are lively and full of energy. The fact they don’t have “Van Gelder” in the run-out like the later but sonically weak Blue Label UA pressings only deepens the mystery. In fact they have nothing in the run-out apart from the catalogue number and the letters “UA” machine stamped.
The only plausible explanation is that they are not pressed from old RVG-derived stampers at all, but have some yet to be established linkage to the original tapes, or a secret stash of Blue Note metalwork which subsequently disappeared.
OMG Dizzy Reece is expensive! Top dog is up to $4,000 for the BritishTempo, partly because by all accounts the original Tempo recording tapes were destroyed in the ’70’s, so this is all there is. His three main Blue Notes max from $3,000 for “Star Bright”, $1,500 for “Blue in Trinity” to “Sounding Off” more reasonable at around $500. So listen up, LJC will not be spinning original pressings of Dizzy Reece any time soon.
One of those occasions where the price of an original is driven much more by scarcity than by the quality of music. I felt quite lucky to secure a Division of United Artists pressing of “Star Bright” for two-thirds of one percent of the cost of the copy above. I guess the Tempo will just have to wait.