Roy Haynes: Cymbalism (1963) Prestige/New Jazz


Track Selection:  Medley: Hag – Cymbalism – Oleo (10:45)

Haynes kicks off as he intends to continue, relentless propulsion, fizzling with brio and drive, sticks dancing on the cymbals,  head-nodding double-time to keep up, as Strozier pulls up along side and then accelerates away on the alto. Great!


Frank Strozier (as) Ronnie Mathews (p) Larry Ridley (b) Roy Haynes (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, September 10, 1963

Roy Haynes Discography:  We Three (1958);  Just Us (1960);  Out Of The Afternoon (1962); Cracklin’ (1963); Cymbalism (1963); People (1964); ….


digitalred1963The drums are not natural vehicles for melody and harmony, and not an easy position from which to direct music, so of necessity Haynes opted to partner with up with an adventurous front line tenors like  Roland Kirk on “Out of the Afternoon”, Booker Ervin on “Cracklin” or Frank Strozier here, performing on both alto sax and flute. Haynes’s drumming swings as infectious in support as when he solos. His crisp rolls and cymbal accents  fit organically with Larry Ridley’s rock solid harmonic anchors, while Strozier and Mathews push the tunes along to their final destinations.

Vinyl: NJ 8287 – a second pressing on Blue/silver trident label, rare enough itself, if my failed pursuit of Hayne’s New Jazz “Cracklin'” release from the same year was anything to go by. The Purple label original New Jazz fetches up to $300 and it remains rare by my definition – only four or five copies a year come to market (in the whole world), so a second pressing from the mid to late Sixties is close enough for me.

That back cover: Writing on Cover alert!  What possesses someone to write their name in large thick disfiguring felt tip on the back cover? R. Ruff? Is that a joke? Dada? Like the infamous “R Mutt” signature on Marcel Duchamp’s porcelain urinal “Fountain”

Off-topic, I came across one story I liked about the anarcho-performance artist Pierre Pinoncelli, who vandalised Duchamp’s subversive lavatorial ready-made work in the official Pompidou Paris art centre,  by using it for its original intended purpose, before whacking it with a hammer (symbolic of an auctioneer’s hammer, he told the court), getting himself arrested in the process. How  subversive is that? Subverting a subversive work of art that had become an establishment icon of subversiveness, which was only ever a serious practical joke on the art establishment of the day.

In another of Pinoncelli’s “performance art” he staged a hold up in which he robbed a bank of ten francs. He claims his original plan was to demand just one franc, but fell victim to the country’s terrible rate inflation. Separate the action from the monetary  amount. Sheer genius.

R. Mutt, R. Ruff, you decide. I think it’s about the dog on the front cover woof woof, ruff.



Collector’s Corner

Source: part of the late Brian Clark collection

Brian was apparently a keen “amateur” drummer and his collection reflected his passion for the drums. And who better than by Roy ‘Snap Crackle’ Haynes? Artistry without the grandstanding of the decades that followed – the instantly forgettable theatrical ten minute rock-concert drum solo  – just enough time to boil the kettle and brew  a nice cup of tea.

Strangely there were few Art Blakey in Brian’s collection, perhaps the Jazz Messengers were insufficiently drum-oriented. I tried Blakey’s “Orgy in Rhythm” once but it failed to hit the spot, unlike Paul Motian’s sublime time-points and tonal textures hanging suspended in space, or in the strictly come dancing field, Tony Allen, who I swear has an unfair advantage in having more arms and legs than any other drummer.

LJC Thinks:

LJC Thinks some moreA bent piece of metal pipe with holes in it, called a saxophone, transforms human breath into a voice; drums extend the pulse of the heart beat; a piano exchanges ten for eighty-eight fingers, while the bass is the feet on which music walks.  Instruments are physical extensions of human form and function that transform man into musician, the ultimate analogue source, flesh into vinyl.

Whilst a singing voice can be beautiful, how often does it compare with a stream of triplets and sixteenths soaring from Charlie Parker’s alto?

It strikes me that not only are records the new antiques, they are works of art, the equal of art framed on gallery walls. You are not just a mere record collector, a figure of fun and pity, poking around in dusty crates. You are, in that immortal expression of Charles Saatchi, an art-oholic, in search of a life-sustaining drink.

Photos updated JANUARY 1, 2017

16 thoughts on “Roy Haynes: Cymbalism (1963) Prestige/New Jazz

  1. At this late date may I also recommend Frank Strozier’s Long Night (Jazzland JLP 56); a mix of four quartet and four sextet pieces. The title tune, a slow blues with the sextet of George Coleman tenor and Pat Patrick baritone and the rhythm section of Chris Anderson, Bill Lee (Skip’s father) and Walter Perkins captures that after-hours feeling as well as anything I have heard. An overlooked gem.

  2. After a couple of years I finally managed to get my Hands on a purple Label pressing. I’m still in the situation of listening to all my vinyl on not so optimal equipment, but as far as I can tell, the record has low surface noise. I don’t have that much New Jazz records, so I can’t compare. All in all the vinyl sounds great, very straight Forward, nice bass and all. Only the cover has a taped seam and a split spine. So if someone has a decent cover to sell 😉
    But I have one question also. My record has DG on one side only (just as ‘Cracklin’). Can anyone confirm, if that’s true for all other pressings, or were there different runs? And does anyone have an explanation, why there hasn’t been an OJC/Fantasy reissue of “Cymbalism’? That always struck me – as far as I don’t know, that there were reissues. Many thanks!

    • Popsike Cymbalism / purple label, copies DG both sides and copies with DG one side only. I briefly owned two copies of Cracklin on purple label – one hissed the other didn’t. I have five purple label NJ in total, of which three are on vinyl cut with recycled vinyl- ie they hiss quietly, both during and between tracks. Some are more hissy than others.

      All this suggests two plants, use of two or more presses at different times, several separate pressing runs, batches of vinylite sourced from different suppliers, at least one vinylite supplier using adulterated vinyl to cut costs. I think the finger points at Mr Weinstock’s business practices..

      • Well, you might needed to work with all vinyl at hand. At least the music was out and you could make money with it. Businessman he was.
        I’ll have to spin my other purple labels in the next week. But I’ll definitely have to get a new turntable as well.
        Either way, we can both be happy to have this nice record in our collection. I enjoyed “I’m getting sentimental over you” especially. Very tasteful playing by Mathews and Ridley. Compared to “Cracklin'” I always enjoyed the latter one more. Ervin sounds more definitve and his playing always Points to the heart.
        But considering Strozier. Do you have the Pacific Jazz release “People”? Not very common, but sometimes very inexpensive and it’s another Haynes record to have.

    • This is why I even can’t say “great story”, “nice find”. I am pretty jealous, because this special record is so hard to get by. I’ve only seen it once in the last two years on ebay. So, well yeah, great find!

  3. LJC, on the subject of strawberries, I just want to say that I am married to a strawberry, my children are strawberries, all my friends are strawberries, and even my strawberries are strawberries. Even so, Sam Rivers and Eric Dolphy are the two flute playing exceptions that prove the otherwise cheesy rule.

  4. I also have the purple label New Jazz pressing and although it doesn’t sound superb as let’s say a Blue Note, it’s definitely not as bad as with some other Prestige/New Jazz albums that I’ve heard. So it really depends on which copy you have I guess.

    My personal favorite songs on this albums are Modette and Go ‘n’ Git It.

    • Both good choices, I toyed with Modette, it’s such a good title, but lets say I prefer Strozier on tenor than flute.Of all the instruments in Modern Jazz, the flute I still struggle with (gasps, falls back on stack of Herbie Mann albums) It sounds,to my ears at least, sort of “cheesy” but then may be that is just me. I’ve been wrong many times before I am not sure how far I trust my own opinions any more.

      • I can understand that point of view, especially since the flute was much more popular on the west coast scene than in hard bop. But if it’s played rightly, I really love the instrument. Herbie Mann indeed has some great moments, and then there are Sahib Shihab, Bobby Jaspar, Tubby Hayes, Yusef Lateef, Frank Wess,… There’s a lot of great flute jazz out there.

          • Damn. You just have to say “I don’t like strawberries” on the internet and before you can say Clotted Cream Teas, people are piling in to tell you how much they love strawberries, sending you pictures of all the strawberry plants in their garden…tell they recently got married to strawberry.. I give up. It’s my own fault really.

  5. If my New Jazz copy is anything to go by you’re lucky to have gotten a later pressing. Whilst side two sounds great, side one is a bit hissy despite not looking distressed in the slightest.

    • My sympathies, sounds like “thrifty Bob” and his unforgivable dalliance with recycled vinyl to cut costs, it’s the curse of New Jazz.

      Yesterday I was rooting around in Camden’s last remaining pre-owned record shop Out On The Floor and hit on an extraordinary rare early Prestige Stereo – the black and silver label, first I have ever seen in the flesh. Really excited, I popped it on their try before you buy deck, an oh dear oh dear, needle hits vinyl and its schhhhhhschhhhhhh. Recycled vinyl, the worst I have ever heard.

      There is a happy ending however. Another copy of the same rare record, only this time in mono, was found the other end of London. Yesss, no hiss, obviously pressed at a different plant to the Stereo, or a different batch of vinylite. Makes me really wary of bidding on Prestige/New Jazz. The Blue/Silver Trident or Esquire is a lot safer bet, and sound pretty damn good.

      • On a related note: I recently took a chance on a pressing of Red Garland Trio “Groovy”. It had a yellow Bergenfield label and original front cover but with a “Status” sticker pasted over “Prestige” in the cover art and a Status back cover.

        The record itself is in perfect condition, but the vinyl was unfortunately of the Weinstock Special variety: grainy surface with complementary dimples scattered in select locations. Caveat Emptor, as Caligula used to say.

        Actually, the noise is only prominent during the quieter passages (sorry Mr. Chambers) and when the music is loud enough, the sound quality is quite good. Since this was probably the only chance I will ever have at owning a copy of “Groovy”, I had to take a shot. Overall, it should still make for an enjoyable listen and perhaps ignoring the background hiss can act as some sort of Zen-like exercise in profound Red Garland appreciation.

        On the positive side, the only two New Jazz LPs I have both have very quiet surfaces. I do have a couple of the 2-for-1 special Blue Trident reissues (Jazz Interplay, Wardell Gray Memorial) which also have this issue (though not as badly).

        I guess in the end the only solution is to request a play grade for suspect titles, although when I most recently did this with an early blue label Prestige 10″, the seller reported back that the LP played just fine but that there was “some hiss present in the recording”. That was good enough to scare me away.

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