Sonny Rollins Newk’s Time (1957) Blue Note

4001-newks-frontcover-1800px

Selection 1: Asiatic Raes (Kenny Dorham)

Selection 2: Tune Up (Miles Davis)

Artists

Sonny Rollins (ts) Wynton Kelly (p) Doug Watkins (b) Philly Joe Jones (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, September 22, 1957

Year: 1957

1957Great Britain tests first hydrogen bomb on Christmas Island, islanders cancel traditional Christmas greeting to Great Britain; The Ten Commandments breaks box-office records, however patrons reportedly leave cinemas early, considering command not to covet your neighbour’s goods as “unAmerican”.

Music

There is no shortage of Rollins on record, given his massive discography spanning the crucial bop years as well as the wasteland decades that followed. What seems to set Rollins works apart are the different group settings in which he is found. Some love him in trio, where he is free to roam with the barest of support for forty minutes. Others prefer him in a more disciplined  quartet or quintet setting.

Newk’s Time leans more  towards a group setting. No other brass, but Wynton Kelly is no mere accompanist, Philly-Joe provides the Starsky and Hutch teamwork that keeps Rollins tight, and the compositions provide a  disciplined framework that I believe press Rollins to shine. I recall hearing some great guitarists in my time, but none I would want to listen to play a forty minute solo. In music, context is everything. What doesn’t change is the muscular endlessly inventive musical lines that flow, unstoppable, from Rollins tenor, always a delight. “Nuke” Rollins.

The reference to Newk in the title is apparently based on Sonny’s resemblance to Donald Newcombe, a Major League Baseball pitcher who shared the same nickname. Reference to sports heroes is a common male-bonding thing, though not in my case, having been diagnosed early with the socially embarrassing condition TDSS: Total  Disinterest in Sport Syndrome.

Vinyl: BLP 4001 DG, Ear, 47W63rd labels, but label on Side 1 has the ® symbol below NOTE  and BLUE NOTE RECORDS “INC”, indicating a later pressing.

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Collectors Corner
ENVY-RATING4

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Source: Ebay
Sellers Description:
“BLUE NOTE BLP 4001.ORIGINAL 1ST MONO USA PRESSING.
DEEP GROOVED LABEL. RVG & EAR ON THE RUN OFF.
BLUE NOTE INC- 47 WEST 63rd . NEW YORK ON LABEL.
RECORD VISUAL CONDITION. VG WITH VISIBLE MARKS, PLAY GRADE EXCELLENT IT PLAYS WITH LOUD CLEAR DYNAMIC SOUND.
COVER, VG CONDITION . SEE PICTURE SOME WEAR TO THE SPINE AND A TWO INCH SPLIT IN THE BOTTOM OF THE COVER.
A VERY RARE BLUE NOTE.ORIGINAL USA 1ST PRESSING. A MUCH SOUGHT AFTER RECORD WORLDWIDE. VERY HARD TO FIND.
GOOD LUCK ”

The Forensic Detective

LJC---sherlock--RTDeep Groove both sides, 47W63rd labels on both sides, but not a 1st pressing:  INC & ® present on the label of Side 1, indicating that label was printed after 1960 – some years after the original 1st pressing released in 1958. Unless Cohen lists it as an anomaly, which I doubt, I think it is  not a “1st original” as claimed. However I am not fussed.

It’s within a year or two of the 1st press, from the same mother and stamper sets (9M on both sides), indistinguishable sonically, mono, reasonable laminated cover, and the price was very comfortable, cheap even.The First Pressing Fundamentalists can roll on the floor clutching their sides but really, I’m the one laughing.

Watson! Break open a fresh bottle of laudanum. I think I am going to have me  a little celebration. Know anything about American rounders, Watson?

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14 thoughts on “Sonny Rollins Newk’s Time (1957) Blue Note

  1. Congratulations. Lord knows I’ve bid on various occasions and I always lost… As long as a copy is pre-Liberty, I try to bid on it if the finances allow me to and this would have been one of those occasions. I mean, the etchings in the run out groove are the same as on the true 1st pressing, as we’ve seen with so many other but later pressings. The audio quality of your copy shouldn’t be any different than the 1st pressing.

    My wife just saw me turn green with envy and had to comfort me 😉

    • Sorry for asking but doesn’t the stamper get a bit worn after a while which could imply somewhat less good sound quality?

      • I’ll let Matty speak for himself, but I’ll put my tuppence worth in. In theory, yes, in practice, nothing is so certain. We don’t know how many pairs of stampers were created from each mother, or how many mothers from the master, nor do we know with any certainty how long the 1st pressing run was, or the 2nd, or how many LPs pressed from each stamper pair before being replaced with a fresh stamper. That’s a lot of unknowns.

        Every record pressed – both 1st pressing run, second and subsequent runs – falls somewhere in among those unknowns, and the sonic quality varies accordingly. I guess we all have some limited experience but mine says close 1st and 2nd pressings can sound equally good, where I have had occasion to compare upgrades. Equally, a first can sound less good, a second can sound better. Its all in the unknowns.

        There is a world of difference between all the pre-1966 original Blue Notes and the second generation of reissues that followed. I think second or third pressing originals offer terrific listening value for money as the First Pressing Fundementalists fight it out over who has deeper pockets.

        Guess that’s more than tuppence-worth.

        • Thanks a nice Tuppence 😉
          So in practice if the second pressing is made in the beginning of a second fresh stamper it could sound better that the end of the first pressing if the stamper is at an end? The mothers don’t wear out so much right?

          If I’m not mistaking the amount pressed for first pressings there days were not so many – around 600 to a 1000 so the stampers were reasonably fresh even for a second pressing with the same original stamper. It makes sense – however it seems that just chasing first pressings a bit less important. But a first pressing is always a first pressing so……..

          • For some collectors, a first pressing is an end in itself. That is the only issue – is it the very first run, with the oldest hallmarking, is it a kakabushi cover, is it flat edge. Collector as archaeologist.

            For others including me, its a means to an end – because you hope to get closest to the sonic quality inherent in the tape and original mastering – closest to the sound of the musicians in the studio, the sound a few feet from John Coltrane.

            The start of a pressing run from a fresh stamper, even if its the second or third or fourth pair, I believe gives you the maximum quality during the life of that stamper, as the groove profile deforms under pressing repetition.

            Lets speculate. From what I have read on the subject based on interviews with people familiar with operation of pressing by plants like Teldec, Decca, during those decades, the number of records that could be pressed from stamper before it is “worn out” varies from 2,000 to a reported 6,000. Its not a few hundred and its not over 10,000.

            The original lacquer could generate a half dozen usable mothers and each mother over a half dozen pairs of usable stampers. The maths tells its own story.

            Question is how many copies of particular titles were pressed, at any particular plant. We know the very rarest, like Mobley 1568, only 700 copies were pressed, all at Plastylite. So one mother, one stamper pair. End of story. But what to make of Blue Train? Sidewinder? Song for my Father? Somethin’ Else? What metal did they actually use for the third press on NY labels in 1964 of a 1957 release?

            I fall back on my ears. First pressings generally sound best, except when they don’t, for reasons I can’t explain.

            That’s sixpence you owe me.

            • Sure – I’ll even buy you a pint when I’m in London next time 😉
              That’s at least 72.000 good sounding LPs from one lacquer (2000 a stamper).
              Great!

  2. Green with envy – a prize. Alas, I merely own the CD so it’s interesting to hear the superior sharpness and timing of this pressing. Think I’ll look out for a Toshiba.
    There’s so much joy and liberation in Sonny’s music, it’s almost the antithesis of Coltrane’s lonely struggle.

  3. For me, this is THE Rollins album. Bought it when I was sixteen, been devouring it ever since. An absolute classic, and overshadowed by the better known sets like Way Out West and Saxophone Colossus. I think Work Time would be my other favourite.

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