Track Selection: How Deep is The Ocean (Berlin) 11:00
Al Cohn, John Coltrane, Hank Mobley, Zoot Sims (ts) Red Garland (p) Paul Chambers (b) Art Taylor (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, September 7, 1956
How can anyone resist a lineup like this? Garland’s piano is sumptuous, Chamber and Taylor in perfect rhythmic unison, while the tenor players take their turn, not to compete, but each to add their unique voice to an exploration of the melody.
How deep Is The Ocean is probably one of the most hauntingly beautiful extended jazz tracks ever recorded – all eleven minutes of it. Close to Grant Green’s perfect Idle Moments. Coltrane, Mobley and I haven’t quite worked out who else, but it is achingly beautiful. The pace, the mood, the tenor melodic lines with their figures and twists, the bowed bass solo from Chambers, just gorgeous, suspended in time.
Vinyl: PR 7249 – reissue of Prestige PRLP 7074 “The Prestige All Stars – Tenor Conclave“.
A “third pressing”, on Prestige blue/trident labels circa 1964, an “original” Prestige, but sadly not the first or second pressing , NYC and NJ labels – which I think would be worth betting the farm on. Not yet washed, so it has a few more pops than I hope eventually, but no matter, the musical content flies high above any transient vinyl defects.
Deadwax detail documents the audit trail from the original matrix still in use to supply hastily renumbered stampers for subsequent reissue pressings. Hand-written RVG initials consistent with the first mastering and what must be the original PRLP 7074 catalogue number replaced with two attempts to designate the new catalogue number 7249, with confusion which was the A and which the B side
Theories continue about the significance of “AB” – another dealer explanation – that the pressing involved pairing A and B stampers.. If it had been say a double album it might have been AD and BC stamper pairs (following the sequence for playing on an autochanger). Or it was pressed by the Abbey pressing plant, New Jersey – Prestige’s equivalent to the Plastylite pressing plant and its “ear”.
Mono recording, but there is a word covered up by the paste-up rear liner notes – could be “stereo” though the top of the third and fifth letters don’t look right, so it could be anything, or nothing.
Fresh from a London store where it has been for a couple of years acording to the man. Not being an early original on Black & Yellow “Fireworks” label, overlooked by trophy-hunters, and a tad to expensive for the bargain shopper.
I had actually auditioned the record briefly a year before, but assumed it was just a tenor-blowing session, everyone showing off their chops – wrong. I had gone in search of something else, but this tickled my fancy – a step into the unknown. And richly rewarding. Tenor with Michelin stars. Mobley’s tone is pure chocolate, Coltrane is spiced lime, Sims is a good Claret, Cohn is mocha garnacha. Not just good music, great music.