Wayne Shorter Adam’s Apple (1966)

Track Selection: Chief Crazy Horse (7:20)

Artists

Wayne Shorter (ts) Herbie Hancock (p) Reggie Workman (b) Joe Chambers (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, February 3 & 24 , 1966

Music

By the beginning of ’66, Wayne Shorter had already made jazz history twice: forging gospel-drenched hard bop with Art Blakey from ’59 to ’64 and helping to create the metaphysical artistry of the Miles Davis quintet during the mid-’60s. Adam’s Apple was recorded in February of 1966, and finds Shorter in transition between his modal style of the early ’60s and his more experimental avant-garde period that was to come later with albums like Schizophrenia

One blogger’s review of the record I found consisted of eleven words (or eight if you exclude the artist’s name and repetition): “Another from master Wayne Shorter. Good good shit according to me” (then go to Mediafire download link).  Well that’s told you a lot. Here is another blog poster comment : JP says: Veramente un LP splendido…niente di meglio per cominciare l’anno nuovo! Grazie!  (I think that’s Italian for thanks for the free download, happy new year)

Giving away something that isn’t yours to give earns you the gratitude of people, thanking you for stealing on their behalf. Pernicious or altruistic eh?

In my opinion, all the tracks are great, with reservations about the title track, Adams Apple, which is a little too “funky” to my ear. I have chosen the least funky, Chief Crazy Horse, for its suspended rhythmic pulse, Hancock’s enervated comping, and ultra-cool accents intertwining Shorter’s tenor and Joe Chambers drums, while Reggie Workman gets do a little walking in his own space on bass, showing there’s room in jazz for more than just Paul Chambers.

Vinyl: BST 84232 stereo, Division of Liberty, first issue, possibly second Liberty pressing, no Van Gelder stamp.

No ear, of course, but more significantly, my copy has no VAN GELDER stamp, despite being recorded at Englewood Cliffs by Van Gelder at sessions early in 1966. This recording first made it to vinyl under Liberty Records, getting on for two years into “new management”, with mastering possibly by another engineer, which might explain the eccentric stereo balance (to my ear). There are earlier Van Gelder hallmarked copies in existence with the transitional Blue Note/ Liberty address NY 10023 on the cover.

If I’m honest (and why not be) the pressing of my copy is a little anaemic, though still listenable. Buying again, I would go for the mono, as I find the stereo placement quite disturbing. Shorter is too loud, stuck in one speaker, and the drums are poorly miked, too quiet, and housed in the opposite speaker. Hancock sits squarely in the middle and I can’t easily locate the bass. I am not averse to stereo but these placement artefacts add nothing to enjoyment of the music.

Not just “writing on the cover”. Beat Poetry writing on the cover. In the hand of Jimmye Hall, jazz bohemian, beat poetry lover and proud owner of a date stamp with red inkpad. What kind of  bohemian carries a rubber date stamp? They say that when you are holding a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail. It’s probably like that when you are holding a red-inked date stamp. Everything begins to look like an overdue library book, ker-dunk ker-dunk..

I’m no judge of beat poetry, but I would worry about someone writing their name and date on everything, twice. Obbsessive Compulsive.

Vinyl

Collectors Corner

Source: eBay

Sellers Description: VG+vinyl, question mark over cover, depending on your taste in poetry. “My soul has grown deep like the river” (Mississipi). Could be a bonus.

Well, we know the name of the previous owner alright. With a fetish for red-ink date stamping.I often wish I had noted down the date of various things, but at the time, I had better things to occupy my mind than writing down dates.  That photo of me, when??? I have to date them now by the length of my hair. Shoulder length, with dodgy moustache, that would be around 1967. With hindsight I wish I had written the date on the back at the time. Being more aware of dates would also have saved me a fortune in late return library fines too.

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9 thoughts on “Wayne Shorter Adam’s Apple (1966)

  1. Picked up my second liberty BST VanGelder copy to replace my VG Copy . First side is brilliantly crisp, brand spanking New. Ridiculous fidelity! Shorter in da house… The second side starts off the same way until the end of the first track and slam bam thank you ma’am. Surface noise until the end. Might have to sell my first copy to offset the cost. Not bad for 34 bucks. so Close.

  2. I share your prejudices regarding live music, LJC, but am trying (not very hard, it must be admitted) to overcome them. For instance, Birmingham Jazz stages free jazz (as in jazz you don’t pay for rather than free jazz) in the Symphony Hall foyer from 5.30pm until 7.00pm most Fridays and I’ve recently sampled a couple, including Tim Whitehead’s excellent Kwartet just last Friday. Two generous and enthusiastic sets, sound good, an appreciative crowd.

    Birmingham, you ask? “They came from Birmingham, which is not a place to promise much, you know, Mr Weston. One has no great hopes of Birmingham. I always say there is something direful in the sound.” Jane Austen in Emma, 1816.

    But we who live here (as opposed to those Regency fops who are class enemies stuck forever in a land where it is the early-1800s and jazz is yet to be invented, along with Poundland, nail parlours, kebab houses and motorway services) like it in a pugnacious, hangdog kind of way, and when we think of “the South”, if indeed we do, tend to agree with Orwell that “there is at least a tinge of truth in that picture of Southern England as one enormous Brighton inhabited by lounge-lizards…”

    • “…Southern England one enormous Brighton inhabited by lounge-lizards”…

      Alan, you are gifted with second-sight, it’s true, for the most part, though I am fighting a rearguard action.The South (of England) will rise again.

      The last time I went to Brighton the whole town stank of piss from students urinating in the streets after the night-before’s partying. It has a Green MP, and everyone reads The Guardian, so hopefully it will be the first city to go without electricity, to save the planet. That will teach them.

      Birmingham sounds quite lively by comparison.

  3. LJC, Prompted partly by your post I was listening at the w/e to ALL SEEING EYE (because I find I lack ADAM’S APPLE), especially the final cut on side two, MEPHISTOPHELES, which is actually not a WS tune but by his brother Alan, who plays flugelhorn on the track. What a line up:

    Wayne Shorter (Tenor Saxophone)
    Freddie Hubbard (Trumpet and Flugelhorn)
    Grachan Moncur III (Trombone)
    James Spaulding (Alto Saxophone)
    Herbie Hancock (Piano)
    Ron Carter (Double Bass)
    Joe Chambers (Drums)
    Alan Shorter (Flugelhorn)

    It could be rather grandiose and over-blown, and to be honest my recollection of the opener on side ! (which I didn’t replay) is that it is, just a little, but the closer on side two is absolutely wonderful — a dark, brooding processional ting that makes the skin tingle.

    Did you know WS plays Bham Town Hall on the 1st November?

    • Interesting observation. One of the great things about building a jazz collection is that your tastes are always evolving. I keep re-discovering stuff I already have. Sometimes I wonder why I keep chasing new stuff. I have an original All Seeing Eye too,both a mono and stereo, haven’t played in ages. I need to go listen.
      WS live? I confess I am disenchanted with seeing live. Herbie Hancock at the other years Nice Jazz Festival was so awful I walked out after the second number; John McGlaughlin used to be a hero in the Seventies – same story, last year festival, I walked out after second number. The sound systems are dreadful too. I decided my front row seat at the Cafe Bohemia 1957 courtesy of RVG and Plastylite is a vastly better experience.
      (btw where is Birmingham?)

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