Rules are made for breaking, sometimes. For a change I thought I would open up a post dedicated to the evil silver disk, the only way to enjoy some of the greatest jazz ever recorded, that would otherwise fall between the cracks of legal distribution.
There are some records which are simply unobtainable and unaffordable on vinyl. The Mclean on Ad Lib costs around $5,000 if you ever see it. Even the CD was rare, as were many of the selection below. For me, the vinyl experience remains the best. But if you can’t get it, is “nothing” better? I can recommend these CDs as all “better than nothing”.
WARNING: This is not a change of LJC policy: CD permitted only where vinyl is not a viable option. Penalty for Improper Use. Walking to the turntable every twenty minutes prolongs active listening. Continuous exposure to reissues can damage your listening pleasure..
1. Presenting Jackie Mclean on Ad Lib (1955)
The iconic cover by Parboo Singh helps make this the second most expensive jazz vinyl record in the world, after Mobley 1568, at around $5,000. Even the CD is hard to find. Mclean’s debut record, not by any way his finest, but certainly the most rare. Imagine yourself holding that cover, full LP size, an experience perhaps only a few hundred people in the world have.
Jackie McLean (as) Donald Byrd (t) Mal Waldron (p) Doug Watkins (b) Ron Tucker (b) recorded NYC 21st October 1955.
Track selection 1: Little Melonae
Track Selection 2: Lover man
2. Charlie Rouse and Sahib Shihab: Soul Mates (1988)
I don’t think I have ever seen this on vinyl. If it does exist it must be mega-rare. Two giants of saxophone in absolutely top form, recorded 1988, effectively after the demise of vinyl and its replacement by the evil silver disc. That is Rouse (right) in an extremely ill-advised choice of hat with white slacks, while Sihab always cool, labouring under the weight of the baritone.
Charlie Rouse (ts) Sahib Shihab (bars) Claudio Roditi (t, flh) Walter davis Jr (p) Santi Debriano (b) Victor Lewis (d) recorded 6 &7 July 1988 at Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
Track Selection 1: Bohemia after Dark
Track Selection 2: Di Dar
3. Howard McGhee: Dusty Blue (1960)
On original Bethlehem, impossible to find, around $1,000 if you do, very sought after, but unlike many rare records, superb music into the bargain. Paired here on CD with the alternative score to Music from The Connection, featuring Jackie McLean’s understudy at the time, Tina Brooks. Thankfully the CD is not rare, but the Felstead vinyl Connection is as rare as Dusty Blue. A must-have.
Howard McGhee (t) Bennie Green (tb) Pepper Adams (bars) Roland Alexander (ts) Tommy Flanagan (p) Ron Carter (b) Walter Bolden (d) recorded NYC 13 June, 1960
Track Selection 1. Dusty Blue
Track Selection 2: I Concentrate on You
4. Barney Wilen: Tilt (1957)
Barney Willen’s 1957 debut album “Tilt”, on Disques Vogue. Impossible to find on vinyl, ev. $4000 if you ever saw it, and the Japanese vinyl reissue usually has to be sourced from Japan, and the CD came from Switzerland. Even the CD was nearly $45, it does not exist in any number. Wilen as a young French prodigy who climbed the stage with Miles Davis and Art Blakey whilst still in his teens, possessed of one of the most lyrical voices of the tenor, and largely unknown to the American-focused jazz audience.
Barney Wilen (ts) Maurice Vander or Jackie Cnudde (p) Benoit Quersin or Bibi Rovere (b) Al Levitt or Charles Saudrais (d) recorded Paris 7 &11 January 1957
Track Selection 1: Hackensack
Track Selection 2: Night in Tunisia
5. John Lewis & Sacha Distel: Afternoon in Paris (1957)
The legendary French singer Sacha Distel, as ace acoustic guitarist, meets MJQ in Europe, with Barney Wilen on tenor, and no singing. Introduced to me by an LJC contributor, which is just as well as I don’t think I would ever have given it a second glance. Sacha Distel? ‘E iz a , ‘ow you say, sing-ger, no? No idea if it is rare, but happy to find it. MJQ allergy sufferers note, contains no vibraphone.
John Lewis (p) Sacha Distel (g) Barney Wilen (ts) Pierre Michelot or Percy Heath (b) Connie Kay or Kenny Clarke (d) recorded Paris 4 & 7 December 1956 and N.Y. 21st February 1957
Track Selection 1. Dear Old Stockholm
Track Selection 2: Willow Weep for Me