Howard McGhee Quintet Music from The Connection Tina Brooks (1960) London/Felstead



Track Selection: Wigglin’


Howard McGhee (tp) Tina Brooks (ts) Freddie Redd (p) Milt Hinton (b) Osie Johnson (d)recorded NYC, June 13, 1960


Freddie Redd’s Music from The Connection stage play, the alternate score to the more famous Jackie McLean Blue Note, with Freddie here playing under the unfathomable pseudonym I Ching, and McLean’s New York stage understudy Tina Brooks on tenor. The music of the two versions is broadly similar, unlike that of the West Coast stage version which featured Dexter Gordon, some of which appears on Dexter’s Dexter Calling. Brooks tenor is sublime, an under-recorded artist whose disappearance from the recording scene and early death in 1974 followed from drug dependency. The Connection and its jazz score centres on New York’s urban drug culture and, as is often the case, art was trumped by real life.

Vinyl: LTZ U 15221

London Records  French release of the Felsted New York recording. Mixed parentage!

The US Felsted original is impossibly rare, only four original US copies ever come to market, selling at around $1,000

The UK release on London  (right), is equally rare with only two UK  copies ever sold in ten years. For some reason London changed the colour of the cover.

The French cover is exactly the same as the US original. This is the only London / French copy ever sold on eBay, so I guess the soubriquet “rare” doesn’t do it justice. Does one copy count as “rare” or “unique”?

The Matrix:

Pressed in France for London, who were owned by Decca. Possibly remastered locally. The pressing is good, not unlike Decca.

The back cover is uncompromisingly in only French rather than the more common dual language international edition as found on some of my French Coltrane editions. I suspect the owner of this record at one time had a DJ or radio play connection, noting the exact track length of the track Wigglin’ and underlining the track reference in the liner notes.

Source: eBay

Sellers Description: HOWARD McGHEE QUINTET ~ “The Connection” (London) French pressing.

Original French LP Issued in 1961 by London Records (LTZ U 15221). Sleeve is in Very Good Condition. Corner wear. Vinyl is in Near Excellent Condition. Couple of very light NON sounding surface marks. Plays through fine with no issues

When I saw this come up on the eBay radar, the words “MINE” came up in large letters, like on a cash register, kerching.  I love this record, I love Tina Brooks tenor voice, I deserve this record. It was destined to be mine.  The snipe was XXL, what the hell. Fortunately for me, this time, the final price was half my bid. Phew!

Something that must be even more rare is a French record in excellent condition. From admittedly limited experience, the French seemed to have had a somewhat bohemian attitude to care of records, at the other end of the scale to the fastidious Japanese, for whom scratches were a matter of shame rather than a badge of honour. Perhaps a previous owner was an American in Paris? Who knows. Anyway, I am now one of the few owners of this recording, and that feels good, almost Mobley 1568-like. Tina Brooks tenor playing out of the speakers like he was in the room.

4 thoughts on “Howard McGhee Quintet Music from The Connection Tina Brooks (1960) London/Felstead

  1. I bought a clean original UK press of this fine album in a charity shop many, many years ago, but stupidly sold it on to a friend when I came across the CD. All I have to remind me is a rip I made to CDR, with a B&W tray I assembled from photocopies of the original back… a flood of tears every time I think about it!


    • We were all naive once. Some decades go I foolishly allowed my ex (Wife 1.0 beta) to take my original ’60s rock and pop collection ( Zeppelin, Cream, Hendrix,) to a car boot sale. “You don’t listen to these any more, you don’t need them” She came back triumphant – she had sold several thousand pounds worth of records to a dealer for twenty quid.

      It is difficult to predict the future, what you don’t value now may change. I recommend keeping all your options open. Don’t get rid of things that could come back. And buy things you may not fully appreciate today but may in future, as taste change over time.

      I don’t get these minimalist fashions. Clutter is good.You can always make room for another shelf.


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