Selection 1: Georgia on My Mind (Gorrell / Carmichael)
Brubeck shimmers with radiance in his piano improvisation, while Paul Desmond executes his solos with balletic grace
Selection 2: Short’nin’ Bread (traditional)
- AllMusic: “Morello gives it his creative all with a rich flair for rhythm during his strong solo performance, with a superb call-and-response exchange between Morello’s drums and Brubeck’s piano”
- LJC: This track caused me to fall about laughing, at how Morello gets away with carrying the tune and improvising over the changes, entirely on a drum-kit. Pure genius.
Paul Desmond (as) Dave Brubeck (p) Gene Wright (b) Joe Morello (d) recorded Los Angeles, CA, April 22-3, 1959
Mattel launches the Barbie Doll ; unrelated, Fidel Castro comes to power. Russian Lunar probe Lunik III sends back first pictures of the dark side of the Moon, only to discover Pink Floyd were there first. The iconic British Austin Mini hits the streets, London begins to swing, like a pendulum do..
Brubeck Chronology: Jazz at Oberlin (1953) Jazz Goes to College (1954) In Europe (1958); Gone With the Wind (1959); Time Out (1959); Southern Scene(1959); Countdown Time in Outer Space (1961); Futher Time Out (1961)
Not critically well received at the time – “one of the classic Dave Brubeck Quartet lineup’s lesser efforts” opined The Seattle Post. This musical tribute to Georgia and the American South was said to be Columbia’s price for releasing the riskier but ultimately more commercially successful “Time Out” . It’s certainly not hip-hop, but these familiar songs are slyly reinvented with cool jazz stylings. While listening the album, Mrs LJC happened to pass through the corridor bound for the kitchen and I heard her picking up the lyric of “Camptown Races” without really realising why and without breaking step. We all know these songs.
AllMusic’s appraisal is measured:
“The album as a whole is filled with wonderful surprises and contains some of the best that the cool jazz style has to offer.The recording is masterful in scope and very stimulating in style and detail. The percussion of Morello and the bass playing of Wright are quite colorful and filled with texture and majestic rhythmic quality. Desmond’s lead on the alto sax is compelling and passionate, filled with joyous melodies.and his ability to surf up, down, and through scale passages with a sense of effortlessness is certainly full proof as to why he is regarded with such high esteem within the entire spectrum of jazz.
Dave Brubeck’s proficiency resonates throughout the record as he shows off his classically trained ear. Brubeck is one of the few pianists who, during his day, clearly avoided standard bop melodic conceptions and rhythmic feeling, and played within a unique style very much his own. Strongly recommended not only for the seasoned jazz fan, but also for first-time listeners who wish to be thoroughly captivated.”
I can’t think of many musicians that would be happy to be described as “proficient“.
interviewer: Mr Coltrane – may I call you John? – your heartfelt playing on Love Supreme has been described by one critic as proficient. What would you say to them?” Sorry, I don’t think my editor would allow me to print that. Can you think of anywhere else they might like to “shove it?”
Vinyl: Columbia CL1347 Six Eye DG mono
Matrix codes 2D and 2E , which in Columbian means an early cutting from a second master tape or mix. Not that it necessarily means a thing, of course, sounds pretty good to me.
Why a second tape mix? May be the first one wasn’t very good, or not good enough so the engineer remixed it. That is the usual explanation for a Van Gelder A-1 or A-2 matrix. One in the eye for the Church of The First Pressing fundamentalists, eh? Matrix A1, eat my shorts.
Source: Central London record shop.
I am not especially a fan of Brubeck’s piano playing – more the combination of Desmond and Morello, and those artful time signatures. Initially I picked up this UK CBS first release of Gone With The Wind, in stereo, on Fontana:
Reminder: Short’nin’ Bread, Columbia Six Eye, mono
Now in Fontana Full Stereo the UK Fontana first release, pressed by Philips UK:
Short’nin’ Bread, Fontana UK, Philips pressing, stereo
Stereo: Morello on the left, Brubeck on the right. Does stereo add anything to the musical experience? Sometimes it does, on this occasion, I think not. Worse, the remastering is flat and hollow-sounding compared with the prime source. The rip is only two minutes but takes about two seconds to tell the difference. Your personal involvement with the music is gone. That is what weak second-generation mastering/pressing does. It delivers the music as just a tune, playing somewhere in the room, much as any MP3 iTunes download does. The notes are all there but your umbilical cord to the artist in performance has been cut.
Philips usually produce very good sounding records, but on this occasion, on the evidence of this listening test, the Six Eye mono trumps the Fontana Stereo. Which of course you would never know unless you had the opportunity to play them side by side. Only on LJC.
More on the rocky history of Columbia’s invasion of the UK on the updated LJC label guide to Columbia in UK and Europe.