Paul Gonsalves All Stars (1970) Riviera


Track Selection: I Cover The Waterfront (Heyman, Green)

Dietary Advice: Paul’s nutritious tenor in this dreamy ballad contributes at least one portion of your five-a-day Healthy Listening requirements.

Listening to five jazz tracks a day has proven benefit in terms of reducing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, stimulating hair growth, countering the effects of ageing, and generally increasing all round intelligence and good looks. However exceeding the recommended dose will generally have the exact opposite effect.  At least it did on me.

Caution: If you are over the age of forty and suffer any unexpected side effects from listening to this music, such as an irresistible urge to get up and dance, consult a qualified regression therapist urgently.


Paul Gonsalves (ts) Norris Turney (fl, as) Prince Woodyard (org) Joe Benjamin (b) Art Taylor (d) recorded Studio Hoche, Paris France, 6 July 1970


A veteran of Ellington, Basie and Gillespie bands, Gonsalves was born in the US to parents from Cape Verde, the melting pot of African and Portuguese culture. He found a unique tenor voice, at times not unlike I imagine someone trying to play after sinking one too many very dry Martinis and needing help standing up. He manages to sound  slurring and breathy with sudden flourishes, sort of Hawkins meets Bird. Whatever it is, he doesn’t really sound like anyone else.

Apart from Art Taylor, I didn’t recognise any of the names of the “all stars”, but that is probably just me.

Vinyl: Two pressings, one British, the other French

Very subtle differences but I chanced on both a French and British pressing of this 1970 recording, so always up for a learning experience, I went for both.

UK pressing on Barclay label, by RCA

Could be pressed by EMI – the machine-stamped matrix is more their house style than any of the other majors.

France pressing: original Riviera recording

 Definitely pressed by a different company (naturelement) – French. Interesting “soup-plate” raised edge to the label area, not seen that before. But I’ve seen that label design somewhere before, can’t think where, oh yes, just now, above.

Except Barclay not Riviera. Looks similar, no?

 (Flags courtesy of:

British Cover

British jacket liner notes, to save the need for translation – the text is identical on the French release, apart from it being written in another language.


Collectors Corner.

No it’s not Gonsalves holy grail album,  Boom Jackie Boom Chick, a copy of which just sold for only £805. This one offers change from a tenner. In fact, in the same week,  I picked up the original French Riviera copy AND the UK Barclay, both together, still change from a tenner.

It’s a lovely quality recording and pressing – both the UK and the French, and I struggled to decide which was better. I thought on balance the French, but on the strength of my last competition, I don’t think a USB turntable (change from fifty quid) and PC speakers is going to showcase the difference. If it did, I have wasted an awful lot of money on hifi.

(Cover photos updated July 14, 2016)

8 thoughts on “Paul Gonsalves All Stars (1970) Riviera

  1. The soup plate raised edge to the French label your refer to is a Polygram Dutch pressing characteristic. They carry on pressing longer than most other European plants, for non dance records (the dance genre became the unlikely saviour of pressing plants during the cd era). French British and German LP pressings are outsourced to them once vinyl becomes a minority interest for new record buyers, 80s to early 90s.

  2. This is an excellent album. I’m on the list that says Art Taylor is the one I don’t recognize, other that Prince Woodyard, who is most certainly Wild Bill. Simon Spillet, you are right he was from RI.
    I would buy two just to have.

  3. I know nothing. Gonsalves Wiki says he was “Born in Brockton, Massachusetts to Cape Verdean parents”. I read also he sometimes wrote his name as Gonçalvez, in Portuguese. My knowledge of Cape Verde is based on about five Cesaria Evora CDs, so I yield to any superior knowledge.

    Stealth Edit: in the interests of accuracy, now Gonsalves was “born in the US to parents from Cape Verde”.
    We grow up listening to the music our parents played, so I though it might be relevant. Cape Verdean music has unusually strong tenor and alto sax elements, as well as very distictive guitar and piano. Its marvelous stuff.

      • If you google “Prince Woodyard” it leads you straight back to the post in this blog, so it is most likely a once-off alias, and there is no such musician. I’ll go with your notion, it’s Wild Bill Davis. Gonsalves had many old Ellingtonians on his roster, so it fits the Bill, excuse the pun.

        • That’s right, “Prince Woodyard” is Wild Bill Davis, see here :
          I was surprised first looking at this name, because drummer Sam Woodyard was a good friend of Gonsalves and they both played for years in Ellington’s band, so I wondered if Sam played organ in this record…it seemed curious, because I knew Sam very well during his last years and he never told me about that. But in fact Prince is Wild Bill !

  4. Correct me if I’m an irksome, small-minded pedant….but I always thought P.G. came from Providence, Rhode Island. Or is it easy to confuse Providence with Cape Verde? I wouldn’t know – I don’t get out much these days…..

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