Selected Track: My Funny Valentine (Rodgers & Hart)
Furthest away from the groove on this record, a delicate and sensitive exploration of a standard brought into the jazz repertoire by Chet Baker and Miles Davis among others.
Yusef Lateef (ts, fl) Jack McDuff (org) Grant Green (g) Al Harewood (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, August 1, 1961
Including the Liberty years, Blue Note released nineteen titles with Green as leader, five titles alone including Grantstand recorded in 1961 , his first year with the label. A few less than the twenty seven titles attributed to Jimmy Smith, but a significant body of work, uneven, and which drifted increasingly towards funk in the latter years, ending the Blue Note run in 1971 with the aptly titled The Final Comedown. Some of the titles are stellar others possibly less so, but this is an unusual line up of artists not usually found in the Blue Note stable. Lateef not yet on his journey East, appears on flute and tenor.
Anyone expecting another Idle Moments it is not here, though the track selection My Funny Valentine comes close to that ethereal floating mood, which goes well with a single malt and the lights low. Bop-tinged soul-jazz makes up most of the session. McDuffs only outing for Blue Note finds him in a mellow mood, thankfully not DBHO – Death by Hammond organ: Jimmy Smith, will you now stand and face the jury (dons black cap). Despite four musicians rostered, there are large swathes of McDuff and Harewood just bopping along to the groove, with one track a 14 minute extended jam session with guest soloists.
Allmusic awarded the album 4 stars and described it thus: “if you’re looking for Green the soul-jazz groovemaster, Grantstand is an excellent place to find him” .Another of those “people who like this sort of music will find this album is full of the sort of music they like” exercise in circular writing. It is not Green’s most powerful album, but when you are in need of mellow groove rather than just deep groove (on one side), this one’s got lots of it (on both sides)
A great cover, beautiful picture of Grant, and in near mint condition as I think the previous owner never played it that often. Perhaps he didn’t do mellow.
Vinyl: BN 4086 NY ear RVG DG s1/nDG s2 mono
RVG machine stamp indicating mastering in 1961 before the ubiquitous VAN GELDER stamp was introduced in 1962. A second pressing I presume, circa 1966 if the inner sleeve “27 years” is the original sleeve, and the presence of Deep Groove on Side One is a contra-indication of first pressings after 1961. But it is an “original Bue Note”, good enough for me.
Despite being near mint, the liner notes are as often found, pasted down well out of kilter. No writing on cover, just wonky.
Source: Ebay Sellers Description: Grant Green-grantstand cat no-blp 4086 RVG stamped on dead wax west 61st st address. The record is in very good+ condition. The sleeve is in very good+ condition
As is often the case, the seller has picked up on the cover address, which in this case is of no great significance as 47 West 63rd ran all the way through 1959 to 1966, and overlooked the ear, the deep groove on side one, and the date of the inner sleeve, all three of which are more significant. They also under-graded it.
This wasn’t my first choice in records on auction that week, but other people waltzed off with the ones that were, one in particular, heading for Germany, again (bandits at 10 o’clock!) I picked up Grantstand for not a huge amount, with the benefit of not hurtling over the fiscal cliff .
As its been slim pickings of late, what with holidays and the interminable rain, requiring a change of tack: forthcoming posts will be drawing a little more on the LJC collection than usual. Which is good news for vinyl jazz fans, and more’s the point, good news for my long-suffering postman.