Clifford Jordan Spellbound (1960) Riverside

Track Selection: Moon-a-tic


Clifford Jordan (ts) Cedar Walton (p) Spanky DeBrest (b) Albert Heath (d) recorded NYC, August 10, 1960


Energetic tenor-driven bop, what’s not to like? Jordan is one of many often overlooked tenors, I guess there being so many to choose from. His classmates at Chicago’s DuSable High included Johnny Griffin, John Gilmore and John Jenkins. Think Fame. Like many Chicago jazz musicians he moved to New York where his talent caught the ear of Alfred Lion. He recorded three albums in quick succession for Blue Note in 1957 –  Cliff Jordan, Blowing in from Chicago,  and Cliff Craft, each of which has emerged as a “warhorse” Blue Note collectible from the $2,000 bin.

A Rollins-inspired bop stylist, Jordan gets collectors hot but my budget runs at best to luke-warm, so sadly I don’t have originals of any of these above. Lacking the Blue Note cachet, the much more modestly valued Spellbound  was Jordan’s first record after moving from Blue Note to Riverside, produced by Cannonball Adderley. Of course it lacks Van Gelder engineering and Plastylite’s sure touch. Interestingly, on Riverside his name expanded from Cliff to the more formal Clifford. The songs range from the Charlie Parker reprise Au Privave to the Billy Strayhorn Lush Life. (on which, no, I still don’t like the Hartman/ Coltrane version)

Jordans’ jazz career encompassed a long spell with Max Roach, and time also with Horace Silver, Mingus and JJ Johnson, and then a couple of decades leading big bands. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he also survived  to reach  retirement,  departing on the 1993 one way jazz express..

Vinyl: Riverside RP340 US DG

I believe the original first US pressing, if those words have any traction here.

Matrix: We’ve seen this US pressing plant before – matrix/ catalogue number so faint as to be illegible – a struggle in Photoshop just to pull this.

Collectors corner


London record shop closing down sale, which gives you a wide selection of names to choose from! The list of ones not closing is getting shorter. As supply dries up, collectors have to queue to get into the few remaining shops.

More collectible record sales shift to auction on the internet, where competition from thousands of international collectors  with access to Paypal but not shops is pushing up prices. It also appears likely that, as with everyone else, collectors are living longer, which delays the return of their collections to the market.

Grandchildren pace the floor impatiently, waiting for grandpa to pop his clogs so they can sell his valuable jazz collection. But the old bugger is still going strong, listening contentedly, not going anywhere soon. Sneaking up behind him and bursting a paper bag unexpectedly has been known to do the trick.

It must be very frustrating for the younger collector today. He’s found a taste for this great music, and the best medium on which to hear it, vinyl,  but family and mortgage committment take priority. That’s one of the reasons I try to focus on affordable collectible options.

Though browsing through the airport magazine rack I noticed how many special interest magazines there are for aspirational consumption. Not Popular Mechanics of yesteryear, but Which Lamborghini? No one reading these mags actually buys a McLaren or Ferrari, or will ever date a centerfold. So taking a leaf from their book, I have made a note to feature occasionally some of the more aspirational  titles from my shelf –

Working Title:  Vinyl Play-mate Of The Month. Good, eh… “Spanky DeBrest” on bass… hehehe… I expect it to generate quite a lot of interest, though mainly through search engines.

5 thoughts on “Clifford Jordan Spellbound (1960) Riverside

  1. I wondered: if the matrix number is so faint, doesn’t it also mean that the engraving was very shallow to begin with and that this is one of the last copies that came off a near worn out stamper, meaning that maybe the groove on the a-side is very shallow as well?


    • A possible explanation but nothing unusual about the pressing that I can hear. I have seen this faint handwritten catalogue number on US Riversides before. I don’t think its a chance one off the end of the run, but more likely the way the a particular engineer in that factory habitually wrote on the master lacquer. Mind you, this could start a whole new theory about the prominence of the Plastylite ear from one copy to another!

      See the picture of the engraving being created here
      If you used a very fine tipped needle instead of a “typeface branding iron” its what you would see.


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