Track Selection: I’ll Remember April (7:40) Soloists in turn, Miles Davis, Horace Silver piano, Dave Schildkraut alto, Silver reprise.
Miles Davis (tp) Davey Schildkraut (as) John Lewis, Horace Silver or Charles Mingus (p) ) Max Roach, Art Blakey or Kenny Clarke (d) Percy Heath (b)
The product of three recording dates between 1953 and 1954: WOR Studios, NYC, May 19, 1953, Beltone Studios, NYC, March 15, 1954, Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, April 3, 1954.
Three different pianists, including Mingus on one track – curious how Percy Heath felt playing bass on that.
The track selection I’ll Remember April is the first time I have noted alto player Davey Schildkraut. He was apparently a regular feature of Miles very early work before Rollins came on the scene, and has only one record as leader, so my lack of familiarity is understandable. He is a very fine alto player in the manner of Charlie Parker, so much so that the story is told Mingus wrongly identified him as Parker in a blind trial. Most players would simply fall by the wayside copying Parker, so being good enough to fool no less than Charles Mingus is a compliment indeed. His solo here is very fine. Horace Silver seems to take a little time to find his footing, but like the other soloists delivers an interesting exploration.
An enjoyable record, a good outing with strong individualistic players
Vinyl: Esquire 32-088 UK release of US Prestige 7054
Record cover design competition requires a tie breaker – if anything, my vote would be for the plucky British cover
I think Prestige should have done better but didn’t. Neither manages to make a convincing connection with the title “Blue Haze”, but at least the British cover manages to include a trumpet.
As usual, the Esquire is pressed from US stampers bearing the RVG hallmark, hand-written, also normal for recordings this early, especially considering only a couple of tracks were recorded at the Van Gelder Studios.
Battered cover, slightly noisy vinyl, and a last-second sniper who doubled the price for me, which was an unwelcome surprise as the Prestige original is not especially sought after ($40-80 typically, probably overshadowed by the first original quintet with Rollins in 1955). I wasn’t expecting to pay as much, but then to be fair, probably neither was the other sniper, caught in the crossfire. He clearly didn’t understand who he was dealing with – me! Get off, its mine!
Making the best of a not so good deal (par for the course with eBay) fortunately the record cleaned up much better than I thought. A fair amount of its click ‘ n’ pop was down to I think tomato soup in the grooves, once again reminding me of the importance of investing in a good RCM if you collect older vinyl. Or find yourself short of soup.
Brings my collection of Esquires to twenty six. Finding precious little documentation of Esquire I have I have invested a little time in starting a discography of sorts of these 200 interesting Prestige UK releases here on LJC
Works in progress, as they say. Some of these are so rare only one perhaps two have ever come to market, so a bad photo on eBay is the best I could find. Just one or two gaps left in identifying all the releases and covers.