Grant Green Idle Moments (1963) Blue Note – mono

4154-ggreen-idlemoments-front-1600

Track Selection: Django (John Lewis)

Record previously posted 31st March 2012 in stereo version here, with 14 minutes of the title track, which I won’t duplicate. Instead, the John Lewis composition “Django”

Artists

Joe Henderson (ts) Bobby Hutcherson (vib) Duke Pearson (p) Grant Green (g) Bob Cranshaw (b) Al Harewood (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, November 4 and 15, 1963

It is as much a Henderson or a Hutcherson album, even a Pearson album, and it stands apart among other Grant Green titles, very different from some of the guitar-organ-drums titles.

Music

Everyone has favourites. With some people its Miles’ Kind of Blue, for others its Coltrane’s Giant Steps,  everyone has their own personal favourite most wanted record, the one you would choose to take with you to your desert island, for me it’s Grant Green’s Idle Moments, primarily by reason of its 14 minute title track, in which the solos from Green, Henderson, Hutcherson and Pearson are non-pareil.

NeedleStick-cuStarting with reissues and audiophile press, the original Blue Note Stereo copy I finally won on Ebay at great expense was found to have a needlestick a couple of minutes into the title track. See it close up, so you can share my pain. When I blogged this previously posters offered some well-meaning advice on vinyl repair, thank you,  but a heavyweight radiogram arm had gouged through over ten grooves.

I figured I just had to keep going to find a top copy for myself. Each time I chased one the price went through the roof. I was not alone in wanting it the nearest thing on record to “time suspended in space”. However what goes around comes around, and virtue receives its just reward, just as a six-eye Kind of Blue “popped up”, so finally has my most wanted Blue Note, BLP 4151.

Vinyl: BLP 4154 Blue Note 1st press, NY mono, no DG, ear, VAN GELDER, 180 gm.

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4154-ggreen-idlemoments-back-1600

Collector’s Corner

Source: Ebay

Sellers Description

Grant Green Idle Moments 1st US press Blue Note 4154

Ebay-Pic-Idle-Moments

“The record is in very good+ condition; the sleeve is in very good condition, but showing some signs of wear to the edges and a slight seam split to the top of the sleeve”

The light oak wood panel flooring is in Very Good condition, a few light scuffs from high heels which do not affect walking. Could benefit from a good polish.

I made the last bit up. It was from a lady seller, who I thought might appreciate a little feedback on her floor covering, which features rather prominently in the item for sale  photos.

Yeah, it’s a record. Every 12″ LP record is more or less the same in the vinyl department: it’s round and black. What differs is the label and 85% of the right hand picture offers little useful information as to what is on the label. What could have been useful is the year of the inner sleeve to confirm its status as an early pressing, but no, that’s obscured by the large black plastic disc, which confirms it’s a record and not a cuckoo clock.

Can we talk money for a moment?

It can be vulgar to talk money but with records, you can’t always avoid it. Ebay is a buying and selling market, records have a value, some have more value than others, buyers have to put money in for the market to work, how much depends how much they want the record, which is why it is interesting. Some collectors are motivated by scarcity, others by a search for quality, by nostalgia, by an collecting-impulse, for trophy hunting, by thrill of the chase, the pleasure of ownership the original artefact, a financial investment, a thousand other possible reasons. Money is merely a servant of these acquisitive impulses that have deeper rooted origins.

A near-mint mono BLP4154 fetches anything up to $1,000 – as usual Popsike statistics are skewed by the number of inexpensive  VG minus, Liberty, Japanese, and so-called “audiophile” copies. Apart from the odd lucky shot, top quality originals fall in the upper end of the price range.

IdleM popsikeCapture

These mint copies are way way over my house limit, but it is a quandary when something most-wanted shows up.  If you are stinking rich,  just put in any number you like. Three is a nice number, so is seven. Then add as many noughts as you like. Someone else more sensible than you will set the final price but you will win.

Personally I need a more “rational” approach by which I can arrive at and justify spending a stupid sum of money on the less-evil black plastic disc . I know this is just a BS mind-game but I sleep better for it. Start with your house limit. If you don’t have a house limit, make one up – it is the figure at which you would sensibly walk away, everyone should have one. Then add a premium on top because it is one of your “most wanted” records. Then add just a teensy bit more – you wouldn’t want to lose for a lousy five bucks. Then toss in another chunk on top of the lot. This is a killer karate mind-move – the  “so what” factor: once in a while you pay “too much”, so friggin’ what?

Now comes  the clever bit: financing the bid. Simply cancel all the other bids currently sitting on other records in the next week, to fund this one. See? Easy. It’s amazing how much you can save by not buying things.  Women do it  all the time, with shoes. Darling, I saved nearly £300 on a lovely  pair of Jimmy Choo’s I saw today. I decided not to buy them. What I saved I put instead towards these three pairs in their sale.  No Fiscal Cliff problem for these ladies,  they just leap over to the other side.

Already my bid was looking viable, if a little eye-watering. . Now if you lose, it is not your fault, you have done everything you could reasonably have done. What in Californian personal growth teaching they call  rapprochement  – “the simultaneous capacity for both inner regulation and external functioning” .Psychobabble, but it works for me. (careful, I have read the core works of NLP, have five volumes by Bandler and Grinder on my bookshelf)

Snipe set, I promptly forgot about it, waiting for my mailbox to bring the good or bad news. Six days later, the news finally arrived. Not only was it good news, it was very very good news. apparently, not only had I won the record, but I had also just saved myself a fortune. Theoretically, at least, as the final price was less than half of my bid. Taking a leaf from the ladies, I seized this hypothetical “saving” and promptly reinvested the windfall in a couple more bids. You have to speculate to accumulate in this collecting game.

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14 thoughts on “Grant Green Idle Moments (1963) Blue Note – mono

  1. I recently picked up the new 33rpm release from Music Matters. My copy is an adequate (although noisy) later stereo Liberty copy. Not ideal so I figured I’d try this out. For whatever reason, tape hiss is prominent on my Liberty copy and so it is on the Music Matters copy as well. A touch more hiss on the MM copy likely due to natural age. Compared to my Liberty copy, the MM is cleaner and clearer. You can make out each note better on it, really hearing each pluck Green gives to the guitar. The drums and cymbals are a bit more prominent than I would like, but not offensive. Between the two LP’s, I’ll take the MM copy. That is until I get an early mono copy.

    I also compared it to the Analogue Productions SACD copy and this new MM bested it to my ears. The AP just seemed a bit more closed in with the cymbals a bit louder.

    All in all these new MM’s are some of the finest reissues I’ve heard. Don’t try and kid yourself that they sound like the originals. But that’s not what they are going for as they want to remain true to the original sound on the tapes. Will put down my thoughts on Blue Train on that thread…

  2. LJC,

    You’ll be happy to hear that at dinner tonight my family and I were listening to this lovely album. My wife definitely enjoys jazz, but rarely comments on it. However, as the title track was ending she said, “I really like this. What is it?” Always nice to be reminded that I married the right person!

  3. Hi Bob, I like your comment. A lot of those albums you listed are amongst my favourites too! I’d have to add Grachan Moncur III’s “Evolution” and Jackie McLean’s “One Step Beyond” and probably Bobby Hutcherson’s “Happenings” too!

    I am a MASSIVE fan of Grant Green and I must say I just Green just plays differently on this album – musically, it is still my favourite of his works (definitely in my top 10 BN albums of all time) but to me it’s wrong to say he’s never played better than on here … it’s just a different mindset, and believe me I’ve checked all his albums. The 1961-1965 period is amazing but he’s really on point in the earlier part within that 🙂

    • HI Artie:

      Many thanks for your kind words….I am a little embarrassed to admit that I am not familiar with Moncur III’s Evolution (my GM III knowledge starts with ‘Some Other Stuff). As for Jackie McLean, my selection of Destination Out over One Step Beyond was an agonizing dilemma — it was essentially a tie between the two. The only reason I picked Destination Out over One Step Beyond is that – at least to me – it is a little more adventurous, a little more “far out” , a little less monochrome and a little bit more consistent than the One Step Beyond. Bobby Hutcherson? Never met a single BH album on Blue Note I did not like, but, for my own personal desert disc collection, I would pick ‘Stick Up’ , ‘Components’ or even ‘San Francisco”)

      As for Green’s playing on Idle Moments, perhaps I did not articulate myself well. He plays on this session with significantly more finesse and subtlety than he does on any of his other BN releases – both earlier and later ones. There is a sweet sensuousness in every note he plays here, and he milks every melismatic tone down to the last drop (If his guitar were a human voice, I guess he would have been Sam Cooke or Ivory Joe Hunter) As much as I like his funky and bop sides (my other “weak” spot in his discography is his “gospel” album — ‘Feelin’ the Spirit’), it is Idle Moments that takes the cake. There is really no significant doubt in my mind that Idle Moments was Grant Green’s crowning achievement — and a serendipitous presence of two other Jazz giants on these sessions surely did not hurt, either ;-).

      • Bob,
        I agree about Grant – and I agree about “Destination Out” over “One Step Beyond”. Whilst I love them both, “Destination” is a little more defined in its presentation. Moncur’s “Evolution” was recorded a few months later and also featured McLean, Hutcherson and Williams! I think of it as an extension musically. I really think that the best albums also contain the most ambiguity 🙂

        I also forgot to mention that “Idle Moments” would definitely be my desert island disk too.

    • As best I recall, a watchmakers eyeglass, and a sewing needle to scrape the groove clear of any debris and let the neeedle have a chance of a clean pass through. I would not give much of a chance, but since the record is already damaged I guess there is no way you can make it worse.

      • Hi Andy — I tried this advice about four times in my life and it practically never worked. The only time it did work was when there was an (almost) parallel scratch cutting across the grooves at a very sharp angle which derailed the needle and forced it to stick and return to the previous groove. Wherever the sticking was a result of a obstructed groove or vinyl “bubble” in the pressing, the advice proved worthless. Unfortunately, there is no other alternative. I can think of no other remedies that might work. The only suggestion I would have is: if it does not work the first time around, give it up. Subsequent efforts will only make things worse.

        One more suggestion: NEVER attempt this intervention if the needlestick is a result of a bubble in the vinyl (it rarely is — a bubble will typically cause skipping, not sticking), because the bubble is just what the name says — an air bubble covered with a thin layer of vinyl. If you perforate it with a needle, you essentially create a crater in the vinyl — a much bigger problem than the one you originally aimed to solve.

  4. Awesome post, as always! And a very good choice, I would say.

    Idle Moments – along with Ike Quebec’s Sentimental and Blue, Pete LaRoca’s Basra, Joe Henderson’s Page One, Coltrane’s Blue Train, Lou Donaldson’s Blues Walk, Hank Mobley’s Soul Station, Cannonball Adderley’s Something Else, Freddie Hubbard’s Open Sesame. Art Blakey’s Moanin’ , Jackie McLean’s Capuchin Swing and Destination Out, Horace Silver’s Song for My Father, and Larry Young’s Unity – has always been my BN favorite, In fact, it may be right on top of the heap. It possesses unusually spiritual depth, sweep and dimension which is different to describe and has to be experienced and absorbed firsthand, preferably on repeated listens., You practically get sucked into the moody, tri-dimensional ambience which is sustained, pervasive and all-encompassing .The comparison with Kind of Blue is right on the money. And Grant Green never – ever – played better. He is on top of his game here, and more, and then quite some. This is IN EVERY MANNER IMAGINABLE a quintessential Jazz guitar album — right up there with the works of Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, Tal Farlow, Gabor Szabo, Ivan Jones, Sonny Sharrock, Django Reinhardt, Jimmy Raney, Jim Hall, Pat Martino. Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel and John McLaughlin.

    I also agree that this is as much as Henderson’s and Hutcherson’s session as Green’s. However, due to the nature of the session, all three play in a very subdued manner. Hutcherson, at times, is practically melting into thin air and has to be labored to be heard.

    For those like Andrew who suffer from the budget dilemmas, here’s the next-best-thing (yes, I know I am posting on the VINYL collectors’ site, and yes, I know most of you – like I do – abhor digital, and yes, I realize this sounds like anathema, but…), The 2010 Analogue Production super-audio CD (increasingly scarce — it looks like the distributor is having problems with the vendor) is absolutely UNBELIEVABLE and sports the sound (almost) every bit as profound and realistic as the original BN pressing. In fact, being a gorgeously balanced stereo, it may even have some advantages over the mono BN album. And it will cost you a mere $25.00 or so,

    • Strange Bob, but your list includes virtually every one on mine, except possibly Bennie Green’s Soul Stirrin’ which I must add. . Do you think there might be two desert islands? With a convenient home delivery service?

      The” audiophile CD” is a strange idea to me, but anything is possible I guess.

      • Hi Andy — well, perhaps we can build a channel tunnel between the two desert islands and thus avoid any Blue Note redundancies 🙂 .

        Re: audiophile CD’s. No, not all of them, just SACDs. Strangely, the earlier SACDs (1999-2005) sound much better to these ears than the later ones (2006-2012). There is a distinct clarity to them and channel separation is typically incredible. They do lack a little bit in the lower end of the dynamic range, but with a little creative equalization, this can be easily taken care of. I’d say, give it a shot.

        SACD’s typically work better for some instruments than for the other: My personal experience is that they do wonders for the human voice (Billie Holiday truly never sounded better than on a 2001 Columbia SACD and hearing Satchmo and Ella on SACD is a joy to high heavens) and guitar, trumpet and tenor sax. On the other hand, Bass, Cello, Organ or rhythm instruments typically do not gain as much from the SACD/DSD mastering as other instruments

  5. Excellent write up, LJC. And a superb track to attach to the blog.

    Sadly, though, I don’t speak French. You describe ‘Idle Moments’ as non-pareil. Is this French for ‘makes you cry’?

    Guy

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