Elvin Jones: Dear John C. (1965) Impulse/HMV

Selection: Dear John C

.  .  .


Charlie Mariano, alto sax; Hank Jones or Roland Hanna, piano; Richard Davis, bass;  Elvin Jones, drums; recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, February 23, 1965


The Allmusic review awarded the album 4 stars:

“The second album by Elvin Jones as leader has the drummer sounding more like a backup musician, as he claims no compositional duties or noticeable solo space. In fact, this is one of the very best albums in the career of alto saxophonist Charlie Mariano, who occupies the bulk of lead lines and improvising responsibilities. He’s so up-front, and on an instrument that is not John Coltrane’s main instrument, the tenor sax, that the title is also a bit of a misnomer.

The value of Jones as a bandleader lies in his concept of using fellow Detroiter Sir Roland Hanna or brother Hank Jones on selected tracks, or in the case of three tracks, no pianist. Bassist Richard Davis rounds out this truly brilliant ensemble of burgeoning mid-’60s jazz stars, who play an enticing collection of standards, bop, compositions of Bob Hammer, and originals from several modern sources. A stone cold bebopper and Charlie Parker devotee at the time of this recording, Mariano is the standout performer

The variety from cut to cut is engaging, and there’s nothing over the top, even the drumming of Elvin Jones… It seems this recording is underrated when over time it should never be. Dear John C. is deserving of an excellent rating”

Vinyl: HMV CSD 3508 UK release of Impulse A88

Nicer to have a US original Impulse  stereo with RVG mastering stamp, but the HMV UK release it is.

Remastered and pressed by EMI Hayes Middlesex, (who as we know from earlier posts, did not add mould release during pressing. Don’t get me started)

Matrix: AS 88 A/B 1G/1G

EMI Hayes Middlesex pressing, “letters follow the curve”

Collectors Corner

Source: London Record shop in Camden, with just a small jazz section, main staple product 60’s rock and pop for tourists, and outrageously expensive reggae singles for “locals”.

What is it with Reggae singles? For more than ten minutes the shop owner and a dealer in a fonky hat speaking thick Jamaican patois argued hammer and tongs over hundreds of pounds for a few singles. Out of curiosity and knowing nothing, I took a peek from a safe distance on Popsike.

Jeez. Over 2,000 USD for a single with writing on the label and a rather large spindle hole, and looks like with no cover. These must be the collectors elite, but can there be that much pleasure in a few minutes with Al and The Vibrators? Change batteries, Al.

I left the shop just a few pounds lighter, grateful for a modest acquisition, and rather glad not to have any interest in Reggae: chasing jazz is expensive enough.

1 thought on “Elvin Jones: Dear John C. (1965) Impulse/HMV

  1. we are accustomed to a few heavyweight records, always the same, 1568, Ad Lib, Byrd on Transition to name a few, and seldom take a look out of our garden.
    when we do, as Andrew here, we are surprised or astonished: it’s our fault, we do not know the market. 6-7,000 $ for an unknown (and musically atrocious) Northern Soul 45 is not the exception.
    who is wrong?
    us and our taste?
    our ignorance and absence of understanding?
    curious to hear from you.


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