Track Selection: The (STEREO) Back Sliders (rip updated)
Lead track Ping Pong previously posted under the Japanese release Pisces, so it is an alternative track selection, The Back Sliders.
Lee Morgan (tp) Wayne Shorter (ts) Bobby Timmons or Walter Davis Jr (p) Jymie Merritt (b) Art Blakey (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, February 18 and May 27, 1961
Recorded in 1961, a few weeks after the return of Blakey and the Messengers from touring Europe and Japan, takes from these sessions were released selectively in Japan only (Pisces), one title added to BN 4156 Freedom Rider then left forgotten in the Blue Note archives, victim of Alfred Lion’s caution about not overloading the market with particularly productive artists. Rediscovered and released on vinyl in 1970 on the new Blue Note black and blue Liberty/UA West Coast label.
Featuring one of the Messengers strongest line ups – Morgan, Shorter, and Timmons – the time is just right, 1961, bop-around the clock, and its a fiery outing from Shorter and Morgan. After you have been toying with a plate of nouvelle cuisine, “poncy stuff” as Mrs LJC calls it, or enduring four sides of experimental simultaneous spontaneous improvisation, “ear-ache” as I call it, it is nice to tuck into a large helping of solid no-nonsense bop. This swings, lots.
Vinyl: Blue Note BST 84347, 1st pressing, VAN GELDER master, 140 gm
A Liberty/UA pressing in the black and blue livery which says, basically, “we can do whatever we like here in L.A. Like take a classic brand and trash it” Fortunately the West Coast black and blues, issued between 1970-3, are generally very good pressings and this is no exception – wide dynamic range with a good sense of musicians in-the-room presence (as opposed to next door, under a pile of blankets, the house style which United Artists later went on to adopt) It is also fortunate as this is first and, I think, only pressing, so it is not like there is an alternative.
The brief liner notes contain a nice anecdote about Blakey, which you can read for yourself by clicking to full screen, of course unless you are ahead of the curve surfing on a smart phone.
Source: West London record store
Going to pick up this record was the occasion I was unexpectedly offered a six-eye copy of Kind of Blue which had arrived that morning at the shop: a case of being in the right place at the right time, but for entirely the wrong reason.
I think it was John Lennon who said Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. Shame you can’t plan for serendipity, but then serendipity is the brother of calamity, its evil twin. You can’t have one without the other. Calamity makes an unexpected appearance from time to time too, and both of them turn up to prevent life becoming too predictable.