Booker Ervin Space Book (1964) Prestige

Track Selection: Number Two


Booker Ervin (ts) Jaki Byard (p) Richard Davis (b) Alan Dawson (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, October 2, 1964


An Amazon reviewer of Space Book (Evil Silver Disk Edition) chose good words and put them in exactly the right order, which I will borrow: “Booker’s melancholy sound is the strange marriage of primordial blues-wail with avant-garde harmonics. But behind him is something even more marvelous: Jackie Byard is as harmonically inventive as Monk in accompaniment. Richard Davis provides a contrapuntal melody, not just a bass line. And Dawson’s drums are so melodic  they are like another line of counterpoint. He doesn’t just keep time, he enriches the ensemble with something like harmonic percussion

I had a lot of the same words, but he put them in better order.Space Book is a classic, from the best of Bookers Prestige years.And you have got to love that cover.

The title of track Number Two is lost on me. The only association it conjures up is from my schooldays, when, if you wanted to leave the classroom to answer a call of nature, you would sometimes be asked by the teacher if it was “number one or number two? “If it’s number one, boy, you can cross your legs and wait until break“.

I was taught by sadists, but then so was everyone else, or so they say. Never did me any harm. Now, I’ll just tighten the ropes


Prestige PR 7386 US original mon Previously posted as Transatlantic UK first release (1967) of same title.

The Matrix

Classic Prestige last quarter if the Sixties catalogue number – not a second pressing but the original, on blue/silver trident.

Liner Notes

Yes, the rear cover is a bit  “number two”. Not well cared for. I can work on the tear but it is never going to be much else.

Collectors Corner

Source: North London record shop

Priced to reflect its Number Two condition, small change really,  a little beat up, but what I really wanted was the cover art. Space, yesss. And Blue label Prestige usually sound great, lots of “bite”. The Transatlantic is nice and polite, a little like a Japanese pressing,but there is nothing like the slap of original Prestige. Speaking of smacking, in my schooldays six strokes of the cane was considered normal punishment for …

4 thoughts on “Booker Ervin Space Book (1964) Prestige

  1. “Number two” is easy. The first bit of complexity after “Number 1”, which then leads to all sorts of mathematical excitement.

    However, “I can’t get started” is a bit worrying.



  2. I love Booker Ervin and this is one of his best sessions. All of the ‘Book’ LPs are worth getting – Song Book, Blues Book, Freedom Book – particularly those with the trio fo Byard, Dawson, and Davis. I have bought and sold a first pressing of this LP a couple of times (got to at least try to pay for this hobby!) and settled on a 70s green label reissue for a time. Eventually, I missed the weight (literally and aurally) of the original and had to get another first pressing! Luckily, about the only Booker Ervin LPs that fetch high $ are his Bethlehem and Savoy LPs, and yellow/black label pressings of the Song Book, and Freedom Book.

    I checked out your prior post on the UK pressing of this LP and you had disparaged the original pressing as “hissy.” What changed your mind?

    Confession: I buy first pressings of Booker Ervin’s “The In Between” on Blue Note ANY time I see them clean and $15 or less – which is very often. One day I will have 50 copies 🙂


    • Confession is good for the soul,Troy, say three Hail Mobleys, and go in peace.
      This copy is not hissy. I have given up trying to figure Prestige and their contracting out of pressing. Some batches are hissy, some are not. My copy of “The Trance” (1965) is hissy, this Space Book is not. I figure it may be down to the pressing plant suppliers of vinylite that particular month, there is no pattern I can detect.
      There is another Booker to come, hang on in there.


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