Track Selection: Lush Life (Strayhorn)
Warning: long (13 minutes) profound, demands uninterrupted active listening.
Artists: trio, quartet and quintet
Other tracks: John Coltrane (ts) Earl May (b) Art Taylor (d) Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, August 16, 1957
Prestige cover (right) shows the Esquire a clean pair of heels, once again. Poor show, chaps.
Prestige released Lush Life in 1961, over a year after Coltrane had signed to Impulse Records. They still owned earlier unissued recordings and, as Coltrane’s star rose, Weinstock saw the opportunity to bring more Coltrane to market.
It’s not Blue Train, it’s not Giant Steps, it is Coltrane in lyrical mode, with the luminous ballad Lush Life (Billy Strayhorn) the stand out track. It has been described somewhat unfairly as “the ideal Coltrane album for people who don’t like Coltrane.” I put it the other way around. From a start point of blistering pyrotechnics, Lush Life gives you a different insight, into the melodic strength and calm inner voice of Coltrane.
The original lyrics of Strayhorn’s ballad have not fared well with the passing of time. “I used to visit all the very gay places. Those come-what-may places…I’ll live a lush life in some small dive ..” to which The Village People retort “Young man, there is a place you can go …. (throw hands in air, mime alphabet) Y. M .C .A .” The song is about failed romance (Strayhorn was reportedly gay) and was recorded again in 1963 by Coltrane, this time with Johnny Hartman on vocals.
One for the completist, I’ll resist. Is highly recommended by several posters, who have taken me to task. To be updated at some future point.
Vinyl: Esquire 32-129 UK release of Prestige 7188 mono
A Frank Spencer moment(straightens belt, adjusts beret). “Oooh Betty! Ive done a whoopsie with the label!” Something went badly wrong with Side One. Perhaps there is someone out there with pressing plant inside knowledge can explain… but in those immortal words, “Does not affect play”, it just looks “very unwell”
Run-out with engravings from Prestige original stampers, RVG machine stamp
Source: Ebay Location: UK
Condition of Vinyl = (A) Excellent (B) Excellent, Conditions of Cover = Excellent, Conditions of labels = (A) Excellent – (some crinkling) (B) Excellent
On top of the recent addition of Soultrane, and Coltrane Jazz, hot on the heels of Giant Steps and Traneing In, fortunately Lush Life is in a quite different musical vein, and fortunately for the budget, the Esquire came in around a third of the cost of the US original Prestige in like condition.
Strong competition in the auction, I blame myself for advertising the virtues of Esquire online.The upside, of course, is the enhanced value of my existing collection of Esquires, which often offer a better audio experience than Prestige, and of course good prices encourages more records to come to market. That’s the theory at least!
UPDATE! COMPETITION WINNER!
Winner of this weeks’ LJC “Spot The Photo Previously Used On Another Album Sleeve” Award (working title) goes to Simon, for spotting this:
There isn’t actually a “prize”. It’s symbolic. Sorry.
No, really, there is no prize.
Don’t be like that. I said sorry.
Look, its the taking part that counts.
What do you want – your name in lights? SIMON WON. Happy now?