Dizzy Reece: Asia Minor (1962) Esquire


Track Selection: Spiritus Parkus

.  . .


Dizzy Reece, trumpet; Joe Farrell, tenor sax, flute; Cecil Payne, baritone sax, Hank Jones, piano; Ron Carter, bass; Charlie Persip, drums; recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, March 13, 1962


Fantastic line up including Cecil Payne on Baritone and Joe Farrell on tenor complementing Reeces bright trumpet, not to mention a powerhouse engine of Ron Carter on bass and Charlie Persip on drums.This is probably one of the most exciting records I own, and the texture derived from a combination of trumpet, baritone and tenor is electrifying.  This is the cheapest Dizzy Reece you can get, so I hope for collectors sake the more expensive ones are better, though I doubt it. Cracked record, most expensive is not necessarily musically  best.

Vinyl: UK Esquire 32-185 first release of Prestige New Jazz NJLP 8274

For once I think Esquire have done the better job with the cover.

Asia Minor was among the last of the Esquire releases of Prestige recordings in the UK around 1962-3. The 12″ 32-000 series petered out before reaching catalogue number 32-200, and by 1964 the Esquire label had folded . (Release of Prestige in the UK was subsequently taken up by a new UK label Transatlantic, who broke with the Esquire practice of pressing from original US stampers, but are great pressings in their own right and seriously undervalued)

The metalwork on the Esquire bears the VAN GELDER machine stamp rather than RVG initials, the first I have seen on an Esquire, which confirms its early Sixties provenance, dating from around the time RVG was replaced by VAN GELDER

It also sidesteps the problem of hissy vinyl found on some Prestige releases in the early to mid Sixties. Esquire never economised on vinyl, so this may be the better copy to own.



Collectors Corner:

Source: Ebay. grading: vinyl Ex, cover Good

Always a delight to find a record fifty years old which has almost never been played. The spindle holes show no wear(click image for full screen forensic view), which means it was thankfully preserved from the perils of Sixties record playing practices like mine – stored in piles not returned to jackets, taken to parties, lent to friends who took even less care, and scratched by careless playing.

This one really earns the “Super Rare! soubriquet in my book. First Esquire copy I have seen come to market, and it was definitely “I gotta gotta gotta have it!” moment. Though quite a few bidders waded in, but for some reason TokyoJazzCollector must have been  asleep on the job.

Reece’s Blue Note releases and Tempos are hugely collectible, fetching many thousands of dollars, but apparently not Asia Minor which maxes at around $300. It’s his  “Progress Report” on Tempo which register on the collector’s Super-Rare!!! Richter scale, according to Popsike maxing at $4,260 closely followed by his Blue Notes Star Bright and Blues in Trinity (with Tubby Hayes) which are only fairly or slightly rare.

Perhaps this is another case where price = scarcity not music quality. Reece’s playing had not changed that significantly, and Asia Minor is a great record. Just not a rare one.

14 thoughts on “Dizzy Reece: Asia Minor (1962) Esquire

  1. I have a copy of Asia Minor with blue text and bar as opposed to the common orange that I see every place. Any idea when this edition came out? (Has 203 So. Washington Ave. Andreas on back)

  2. This is one of my favourite sessions and I pretty much dig the original cover. I own some more of this short lived graphical series of New Jazz records and they all look very nice.
    I pretty much prefer “Asia Minor” to the Blue Notes, Reece has done. The rhythm group is just huge and Joe Farrell is always a welcome addition.
    There are times when I just can’t stand the Blue Note recipes and records like this make the difference for me.
    It took me quite some time to get an original pressing and since then, I haven’t ever looked again. Is this one really sought more often?

  3. What a fantastic music to listen to early in the morning with coffee.
    Just this week I rediscovered the LP “Charles Persip and The Jazz Statesmen”
    with Ron Carter, Roland Alexander- tenor, Ronnie Matthews-piano, and Freddie Hubbard.
    Carter, Persip and Hubbard make for exciting listening. Persip is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated drummers. Thanks LJC for sharing. and thanks TJC for sleeping.

  4. This is a new find for me, so many thanks for the introduction. Lovely record. According to Allmusic Reece wasn’t able to lead a recording date again until 1970 and faded into obscurity? Very odd how fame is bestowed on some people rather than others, the deserving and undeserving alike.

  5. Superb track. And I agree, Esquire cover is for once nicer to look at.

    Even on CD Reece’s albums are not that easy to get by. I have Blues in Trinity on a U.S. CD and Star Bright on a Japanese one. Star Bright, however, sounds just plain awful. Really, really bad. Thin, hardly any bass, not to mention the incredible lack of crisp highs. If there really was a Japanese engineer who once flew in to dub all the original masters for their own market, then he did a bad job on Star Bright.

    And while writing the above it made me think of something else: has anyone ever seen a Liberty or United Artist reissue of, say, Mobley’s 1568? Or Monterose’s 1536? Or Jutta Hipp/Zoot Sims’ 1530? Or Six Pieces of Silver? Or Burrell/Jenkins? Or Burrell’s 1543, the one with the Warhol cover? I’m not talking about later, 80s reissues, no: just Liberty and/or United Artists. on eBay, the only reissues available are either Japanese or Scorpio pressings…

    • These are my Division of United Artists, no rvg, no Van Gelder, no ear obviously, nothing in the runout, and all sound exceptionally good.

      1567 Curtis Fuller The Opener
      1573 John Jenkins With Kenny Burrell
      4023 Dizzy Reece Star Bright
      4024 Jackie McLean Swing, Swang, Swingin’
      4040 Freddie Hubbard Open Sesame

      Div of UA best kept secret, I don’t want anyone else to know.

    • If you can find the Mosaic 3-CD box with DR get it! The sound is very good throughout and “Star Bright” sounds very good too. Mastered in the US.

      • Hmmmm… Two interesting replies. I knew about your UA reissues, LJC, but while browsing on eBay -of course deliberately for UA pressings- you don’t really find them that much if you’re looking for specific titles like the ones I mentioned.

        @ Shaft: yes, the acclaimed Mosaic boxes. I haven’t really delved in them so far and to be honest I didn’t even know there was a Dizzy Reece box either. The audio quality alone already gives me a good reason to see if I can find it 😉

  6. Great record and fine music! Also a thought – it would be interesting to get the seller’s grade when you buy from internet or otherwise when it’s given 😉 That way I would get a better feel for what sellers mean with f.ex. VG+ or NM. This Reece sounds NM to me at least.

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