Track selection and Artists
Track Selection 1: A Night in Tunisia
Artists: Bud Powell (p) Curly Russell (b) Max Roach (d) recorded May 1st 1951
Track Selection 2: ‘Round Midnight
Artists: George Tait (t) Sahib Shihab (as) Thelonious Monk (p) Robert Paige (b) Art Blakey (d) recorded November 21, 1947
Question: When is a twenty-fifth anniversary not a twenty-fifth anniversary? When it was held forty seven years ago.
Nice to hear Bud Powell at the height of his considerable powers, before battling unsuccessfully with mental health problems and prison spells on narcotics charges. Powell was the first pianist to take Charlie Parker’s language and adapt it successfully to the piano. At the time it was said of Powell “He is the most important pianist in music today because everybody plays like that now”
Monk plays his signature ‘Round Midnight in person. If anyone knows how it should be played, it is the man who wrote it.
Bum notes idiosyncratic notes and all.
Vinyl: BLP 1001, NY, VAN GELDER, “ear”, mono
An original Blue Note pressing, liner notes and label annotated by someone needing to know the precise track lengths.
Twenty five years of Blue Note, 1939-64. Most of the tracks were recorded in the late Forties and early Fifties, but remastered in 1964 by Van Gelder from the original tapes specially for this anniversary release, so they will have benefited from a decade of technology improvement over the original release version. Classic recordings from the early years, pressed by Plastylite, probably sounding as good as they will ever do. Far better than I remember hearing previously. Max Roach’s snare and cymbal percussion on Night in Tunisia is so immaculately captured, it puts many later recordings to shame.
Difficult type of record to put a value on. “Compilations” are generally considered to have little or no value to collectors. Yet this is a 1964 original Plastylite pressing, NY labels and VAN GELDER engraved, and all tracks are remastered by Van Gelder from original tapes to a standard not previously heard. It is not a “compilation” of old recordings, they are RVG exclusive remasterings. However to the grizzled old collector they are not “the original artefact”. I concluded, it is valuable to me, but not to many other people. A bargain, priced at a little over a tenner.
Which funnily enough is exactly the price one fetched on eBay this week:
The Market is never wrong.