Track Selection: Anatomy (8:45)
John Coltrane (ts) Paul Quinichette (ts) Mal Waldron (p) Julian Euell (b) Ed Thigpen (d) recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, May 17, 1957
Lets get this out the way. Not as highly acclaimed or as well-known as most of Coltrane’s body of work, this 1957 session contrasts the senior-statesman style sax of Paul Quinichette with the fiery high-octane energy of the young John Coltrane. You Shouldn’t have any difficulty telling which is which, but first you need to get your tongue around the pronunciation “Quinichette”.
Referred to as The Vice Pres, Quinichette was reckoned the best player in the manner of The Pres, Lester Young, and was selected to play with Count Basie for that same reason. Cattin’ is considered by some critics his best effort, a velvet smoky tone, but among his last as hard-bop became the dominant style. His pairing with Coltrane here amounts almost to a symbolic handover of the baton for future directions of jazz.
One of the best early Coltrane albums in my view, for which I sometimes have a preference, rather than exhaustion from forty minutes of Coltrane’s later spiritual phase.(Uproar as Coltrane fans shove keyboards through monitor screens in protest at LJC. )
Mal Waldron’s contribution should not go unremarked. Beautifully solid yet unobtrusive comping behind the music, a pleasure to be carried along by, while the stars go through their paces.
Vinyl (Prestige PRLP 7158, mono, NJ labels, not DG)
Cover Contest: – Esquire UK cover for “Cattin’ “:
To turn the tables, for once this is a US Prestige, not the UK Esquire release, above. No contest which has the better cover in my view, the US, but as they say, YMMV – your mileage may vary.
An original Prestige pressing with RVG hallmark from the original 1959 stampers, but seems on thinner vinyl than my other early Prestige pressings. Thankfully, not pressed on hissy recycled vinyl cut with extender like some other early sixties Prestige. My guess is a second pressing by Prestige but hard to be certain, could be earlier. The sound is great, which rather confirms the suspicion that vinyl thickness isn’t necessarily an issue with an original quality stamper/matrix source, the same experience as with original Blue Note second pressings.
As far as I am aware, when Fantasy bought Prestige in 1971, they did not have remaining stocks of Prestige covers and labels for reissues in the way Liberty did after acquiring Blue Note. Nor have I found Fantasy/Prestige reissues with Fireworks labels, – those had all long gone after Prestige introduced the dark blue/silver trident label in 1964 (Discogs has one entry for a 1964 blue label silver trident reissue of Cattin‘ seen below).
Original RVG hallmarks in the run-out is not characteristic of Prestige clones or later reissues, so the exact provenance remains uncertain but it looks to me an original, but I have much less knowledge about Prestige than Blue Note
The cover looks like it belongs to the first pressing batch, with characteristic thick card and dimpled glossy laminate that more modern production could never match. Some people get a “high” from sniffing original vinyl, but the cover can do it just the same for me – a beautiful artefact and a nice picture of Coltrane toned in vermillion (now known as the less prosaic web colour Orange Red)
From a somewhat eccentric store-owner, whose stock it must be said is often overpriced and in condition below par for collectors. He would probably agree with that, then throw me out of his shop for saying it. Nevertheless he is an interesting chap, and has some interesting items (when he can find them) The asking price may be a starting point, depending on how he is feeling that week. It is tough making enough money selling records to pay the exorbitant rent he is charged ( which he tells me each time I drop in). It is fashionable in some quarters to decry bankers, but it is the commercial property industry which is destroying small independent shops like his, and we record collectors all be poorer without them. Before long, all collectible original jazz recordings will be out of our grasp and simply go airmail direct to Japan.
(Authors note: If there is any person or group I have failed to offend in this blog, sit tight, I will get to you.)