Art Blakey Mosaic (1961) Blue Note


Selection: Children of the Night (Shorter)

Shorter anxious to show he can rip through the register as fast and fleet as Coltrane.

Freddie Hubbard (t) Curtis Fuller (trb) Wayne Shorter (ts) Cedar Walton (p) Jymie Merritt (b) Art Blakey (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, October 2, 1961

Year: 1961

1961 “Barbie” gets a boyfriend when Mattel introduce the “Ken” doll. They later split when Barbie discovers Ken has no genitalia. Ken subsequently turns his testicular deficit to advantage, pursuing a successful alternative career in politics.

Chronology: A busy studio year for Blakey, so much so that some recordings had to wait several years for their release: Roots and Herbs  2/61, The Freedom Rider 2/61; The Witch Doctor 3/61; Alamode (on Impulse) 6/61; Mosaic 10/61; Buhaina’s Delight 10/61.


Hubbard – Fuller – Shorter, The Messengers first recording as a sextet, a format retained for the next three years. What a great combo, the Messengers have never had a thicker more textured brass dimension than this, it positively fizzles with excitement, every track a winner. Walton swings it in traditional bop style, a different sense from Hancock’s later percussive approach with Shorter. Van Gelder provides an exemplary lesson in how to mic the drums, especially those cymbals, much  “liked” by modern dynamic hi-fi.

Vinyl: Blue Note BLP 4090 mono, NY, RVG, ear, no-DG

New York’s finest.4090-Blakey-Mosaic-labels-1800


Collector’s Corner




Source: Ebay
Sellers Description:

Catch up time, as a previous copy of Mosaic required a walk to and fro the turntable to lift the arm over a needle stick due to a tram-line. On the upside, the previous scratched copy had a better cover, near mint, and a perfect original inner sleeve from 1962, and after a bit of swapping around and we now have a combination of the best of everything. Not such a bad deal all things considered.

27 thoughts on “Art Blakey Mosaic (1961) Blue Note

  1. dear LJC, Rich and friends, just gotten a NY label stereo original of mosaic. sounds great but like several comments here, I experienced distortion as well especially on the horns. the bass sounds very full but not distorted at all. thought the LP needed a cleaning so it’s drying now. will give it a spin again maybe tomorrow. just also played flac versions (pro studio masters, rvg cd and hd tracks) and also detected distortion. I suspect its due to the master tape. maybe RVG’s VU meters went too deep into the red. after that I gave my song for my father stereo NY as well as the mono liberty a spin. no distortion. really nice sounding without any distortion and they are about 2 grades below the mosaic.

  2. Music Matters are a completely different operation to Analogue Productions, and are not related at all. Quality is completely different. Both vinyl and covers.

  3. Actually, I think Van Gelder overdrove the preamps a bit much in this session. Blakey is pounding on the drums at several points and it sounds near distortion to my ears. In my experience, the masters were cut significantly hot as well, which incrrases the speed at which the groove wears, so I imagine it’s difficult to get a good sounding vintage copy of this title at this point.

  4. Bizarre about the sound quality because my French copy sounds good with none of the overload etc – will have to check it again when in after returning from my wine tasting tonight. However everything will sound good then.

      • French copies were remastered in France by EMI France from copy tapes. The distortion was introduced by Van Gelder into the RVG lacquer at the mastering stage, but does not exist on the original tape mix, and therefore absent from the French edition. Its logical, if a little surprising.

        Your anon – I sign into wordpress for it to pick up my Gravatar, which has a password and email address to link the avatar to me. If WordPress doesn’t recognise you, perhaps it substitutes “Anonymous”. I’m only in charge. Doesn’t mean I understand everything. Maybe you need an “image” and a Gravatar (free) account. Its easy to do.

        • Done that – I now stand forward in the full glare of the light – couldn’t think of any other image but me. Interesting about the French press – perhaps I’m a little less envious now.

          • I had a very dim view of French reissues for a long time but I have to confess there are as always exceptions. BLP 1542 Rollins Vol 1 on Pathe Marconi (re-edition 1983) is a better pressing than any other of the reissues – better than the Liberty, Division of United Artists, and better than the King. However its nowhere as good as my original second pressing on 47 West 63rd.

            The very early 80’s Pathe Marconi I find pretty acceptable, though by 1984 they got into the DMM technology and they are mostly pretty horrible to my ears anyway, though no way as bad as the US Capitol Manhattens. As there are always exceptions in this business, no doubt there is a gem among those too.

            Smart gravatar.

            • The Music Matters re-issue of BLP 1542 is simply the best. I own both and there is no contest. Actually, that goes for all the MM re-issues.

                  • Same as mine. I was chasing the Lexington recently but it slipped through my fingers (by a margin of only $300 above the LJC house limit). As its my favourite Rollins Blue Note it sounds like I need to lend an ear to the MM. I have never been impressed by modern audiophile reissues, but there are always exceptions.

                    The Grant Green Idle Moments MM I bought early on is not a patch on the real thing. Uncontrolled bass and muddy, I still A:B it against the real thing from time to time, and to my ear it falls considerably short of the NY mono. However as I wrote recently, no-one really knows what someone else hears. If it sounds good to you, then it does.

                    • 45rpm double credited to “Analogue Productions” with “AcousTech Mastering by Steve Hoffman/ Kevin Gray” – I thought the same team that do Music Matters releases? I have no idea since one bite of this cherry was enough.

  5. I recently received this via an eBay shipping error instead of the Jazz Messengers “Caravan”. A pleasant surprise indeed. The seller cleared up the error and I now have both records. In any case, I really like Wayne Shorter on this one. The whole line up is great but Shorter is the stand out for me.

  6. I think Rudy got a little too “hot” on this session. Man, it must have been hard to record Blakey – he was a force of nature 😉
    I can hears some distortion in the trumpet and sax too but I think it’s not groove wear?

    • I have two copies of this record, and they both exhibit the same slightly overloaded brass in places. It can’t be groove wear, which would be present on only one. RVG let the “gain go into the red”, or whatever is the correct sound engineer-speak.

      • Yeah just what I thought ,-)
        I guess RVG overloades both his mics and tape recorder at times, but what the heck he captured the music so alive and powerful most of the time so I forgive him 😉

        • Another vote for overload…I have a stereo original in VGish condition as well as a liberty I bought sealed…the sealed copy plays great but HOT HOT HOT.

  7. Another envy rating of 4/5 for me. This is one of my favourite Messengers’ sessions and my first introduction to them when I bought this album many moons ago.Shorter’s big riffing style at this point is explosive while Hubbard cuts through the mix like a razor.
    I still have the 1984 Pathe Marconi/Emi pressing I bought when I was a teenager. It’s been played scores of times on crap TTs but I recently gave it a clean and it came up smelling of roses. It’s a surprisingly good pressing – no doubt helped by the quality of the recording. Much better than the later DMMs I bought back in the day. I’m surprised Dave’s early pressing doesn’t good – basic groove wear perhaps.
    Probably the most productive Messengers incarnation given it went on to record Buhaina’s Delight and Free for All. For me though Lee Morgan has a slight edge over Hubbard – I’d love an early pressing of Witch Doctor for instance.
    I was lucky enough to see Art play at Ronnie Scott’s in the late 80s – I’ll never forget it – like witnessing a volcano erupting

  8. This is the only Blue Note I have ever had that actually didnt sound good. It’s a stereo pressing, RVG in the deadwax, with New York address. It sounds distorted and completely unlike every other rvg record I own. Anyone else experienced this?

    • Yes, I recently acquired a NM STEREO with RVG and an “ear” of Mosaic and it sounds terrible. The only “ear” pressing that ever sounded poor. Distortion especially in the right channel. I thought it might be groove wear, but listened to mp3’s and although pumped up with louder sound, there is still distortion. What year FRENCH reissue is worth getting of this? 1984?

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