Track Selection: The Lamp is Low
A jazz standard, adapted apparently from Pavane pour une infante défunte by Maurice Ravel. My Ravel is a bit …ahem…rusty apart from his dum dadda da dum so I’ll take the liner notes at their word.
Booker Ervin (ts) Tommy Flanagan (p) Richard Davis (b) Alan Dawson (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, February 27, 1964
Ervin is instantly recognisable with his distinctive blistering-hot phrasing and melancholy tone, all played with aggressive fervor. Given the adulation heaped on Coltrane by the jazz cognoscenti, Booker Ervin remains, I think, seriously underappreciated (but not around here!).The choice of Tommy Flanagan is interesting, replacing Ervin’s usual partner and fellow Mingus stalwart, Jaki Byard. Byard has a strong inventive spirit compared with Flanagan’s more elegant and polished phrasing, however the presence of Flanagan may be due more to scheduling issues than creative intent.
People can argue about which Book is the best “Book” – Space, Song, Freedom, or Cook, but they are all good and belong on your shelf.
Vinyl: Prestige PRST 7318 original US stereo
Unusual, rare even, black label silver trident stereo Prestige, first I have seen personally. Stereo, unusual, so early. Sounds good.
Got to love that cover. Ervin sports a funky beret and shades teamed with a rugged coat against the New York chill, finished off with that earthy chuckle. The photographer had clearly been looking for a suitable gritty urban backdrop, and settled on a bad idea – a brick wall. It’s got, umm, “texture”… man. The photo is given a final orange colour cast which saves the day.
I don’t know why I was surprised, but a STEREO machine stamp appears in the run out, much as it would on Van Gelder Stereo master on Blue Note, accompanied by a VAN GELDER machine stamp.
Source: ebay Location: Germany
“PRESTIGE – BLACK LABEL – STEREO – MINT MINUS TO EX, TOP! COLLECTOR ITEMS FROM MY PRIVATE COLLECTION – RARE!”
The auction attracted strong bidding, perhaps due to that “RARE!” word again. Much over-used, but in this case probably true. Well it’s in my private collection now, and its a well-travelled copy – US original, a spell Germany, now resting in the UK. .