Dave Brubeck Gone with the Wind (1959) Columbia

CL1347-Dave-Brubeck-Gone-With-The-Wind-front-1600

Selection 1Georgia 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)

Critics bake-off

  • 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.

Artists

Paul Desmond (as) Dave Brubeck (p) Gene Wright (b) Joe Morello (d) recorded Los Angeles, CA, April 22-3, 1959

Year: 1959

1959Mattel 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)

Music:

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.

CL1347-Dave-Brubeck-Gone-With-The-Wind-labels-1600

CL1347-Dave-Brubeck-Gone-With-The-Wind-back-1600

Collectors corner

ENVY-RATING1

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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:

Brubeck-Wind-Labels-UK-fontana-1800px

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.

12 thoughts on “Dave Brubeck Gone with the Wind (1959) Columbia

  1. The three plants Columbia operated in the U.S. at the time were Bridgeport, CT (the six-eye pressing shown at top bear their typesetting); Terre Haute, IN; and Hollywood, CA. Columbia’s New York studios also cut lacquers to go to Canada for the release of this LP up north of the border.

  2. I have the exact same Columbia CL1347 Six Eye DG mono. Only the front cover of my copy has seen better days.

    BUT: on my copy the trail off on side 1 reads XLP47117-2F… Side 2 is identical: here the trail off also reads XLP47118-2D.

    So what does that mean for my side 1? That it was made from a third master tape or mix? Kinda baffling, since I don’t speak Columbian like you do 😉

    Last but not least my copy comes with the rather entertaining original inner sleeve, full of nice tips on how to clean your records and needles, including an advertisement for the “Model 632 – Stereophonic High-Fidelity Console Phonograph”; the other side of the sleeve celebrates, quote: “10 years of Columbia with the greatest collection of albums ever recorded!”

    How ’bout them apples? 😀

    • So we both have source as Mastering Mix 2. Suggests Mix 1 wasn’t up to scratch, so the engineers ditched it in favour of Mix 2. That is all good. Interesting that we both have low cutting numbers. According to a previous poster, Columbia made an extremely large number of cuttings ie lacquer masters – from the tape mix. They had national production so one master went East, another West and a third Mid-US Not sure it means a thing except these all are pretty close to the early quality of the tape mix 2. We got cutting 40-something on the big Columbian sellers.

      • Interesting stuff. And then to know that I still need Fred Cohen’s book for the Blue Note details; good to know that here at LJC we find the answers to other label questions 😉

        I’ll photograph my copy this weekend and I’ll leave a link to it in the comment fields. Always fun to compare pressings, let’s see how many other visitors with the same record but different details will join with their snapshots 🙂

      • And finally I found the time to photograph my copy. I also managed to get superb close ups of the matrix numbers in the run out groove, excellent if you want to compare copies.

        For the photos, make sure to view in ‘slide show mode’, please click HERE 😉

  3. Even in MP3 format, the Columbia six-eye track sounds better than my stereo version released in CD format a couple of years ago. How can it? After all, I’m not listening to your LP but to a “lossy data compression” format. To me, this is perfect proof that the “LP versus CD” debate as such never hits the core of the problem. The question is: What source material was used, and what did they do with it? My Columbia CD was “remastered directly from the original analog tapes” – yes it was, but the subsequent mix obviously spoiled it all. On the other hand, I can give you hundreds of examples of music that sounds infinitely better on CD than it did on vinyl.

    • Welcome Eduard. You are right – the format is only half the story. There are so many variables – and a lot depends on what the engineer did with the session tape initially, and what other have done to it since.

      There are indeed examples where CD is better, because the vinyl has been “miss-produced”, if there is such a word. Ultimately, I think analogue vinyl has greater potential as a storage medium for musical information over digital CD, because it is infinitely resolvable – but that potential is not always realised, and can just as easily be made into a dog’s dinner.

      Even when it is all produced to its best attainable level, CD or vinyl, there is still the variable of how well your music system performs in reproducing it. And the final variable, of course: the ability of the listener, to make sense of the music.

      • Well, the only thing I have always regretted about vinyl is the “wow” caused by centre holes never being in the centre, even with some high-quality pressings. Other than that, I have no complaints. The only record player that can handle this problem is the Nakamichi Dragon CT from way back 1984.

      • As anyone who has played music knows, the perfect reproduction doesn’t exist.
        My love for original vinyl transcends sound quality: for example, can you appreciate the smell of any cd?

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