Selection 1: Night Dreamer (Shorter)
Selection 2: Virgo (Shorter)
Lee Morgan (t) Wayne Shorter (ts) McCoy Tyner (p) Reggie Workman (b) Elvin Jones (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, April 29, 1964
China explodes its first nuclear bomb, thought by test site residents to be one helluva impressive firework; Hasbro launch G.I. Joe, an action figure for boys, to counter Barbie’s Ken. Joe forms unexpected bond with Ken. President Lyndon Johnson declares War On Poverty. Poverty vows to fight on.
Wayne Shorter’s first recording for Blue Note as leader marks a significant shift in jazz, away from figurative towards more abstract forms. Moods, tones and colourings take precedent over a story telling through melody. Reid Miles cover picks up the change: shifting blurred indistinct shapes though still obviously human form, replacing Francis Wolff’s iconic portraiture. Not for Blue Note the self-consciously abstract drip-art of Jackson Pollock or titles borrowed from Freud for the Jung, but heralding the shape of things to come.
Shorter’s brooding intensity in Night Dreamer is kept in check by the presence of fellow bop-mate Lee Morgan and the more lyrically-inclined McCoy Tyner, who was not to be comfortable with Coltrane’s increasing introspection, while Elvin Jones ensures the beat is never far away. It remains, on the surface at least, a conventional album, it swings, but straining at the leash of Bop, beginning to intone a new vocabulary, Shorter starting to find his own voice.
Six Shorter “compositions”. Gone is the era of “standards” as the platform for improvisation. It is no longer necessary to recognise the tune. Or for there to even be one, other than as an incidental by-product of repeated play. The tune is no longer automatically the hero, the leading man. The mood, the texture, the interaction between three, four, five musicians is the subject. Though the piece “Virgo” is a perfect partner to a New York city lights at night. It’s enough to make you want to take up smoking again.
Vinyl: BLP 4173, NY, ear, VAN GELDER, mono, 178 gm, 49 years old.
My first “real” Shorter Blue Note. I noticed all of the others were either Liberty or Japanese reissues – Resident Evil (or is that a film?) Shiatzu-phrenia (or is that a dog?) , Adams Apple (or is that a refreshing fruit drink?) Juju… this joke has run out of steam. With a landmark birthday coming up, I figured I owed myself a treat.
Source: Ebay (Italy)
Original blue note inc. lp – Mono copy – ( r ) – Deep Groove label – VAN GELDER & EAR ON TRAIL OFF; NEW YORK USA LABEL; TOP COPY ! TOP CONDITION ! My prefer his album too !! COVER : MINT; RECORD : MINT
Another seller who can’t tell the difference between Deep Groove and Not Deep Groove, and slightly reckless in application of the word “mint” , but not to nitpick, the cover is a joy, and the condition is better than most, so who is complaining about a record coming up to its fiftieth birthday? I should have looked so good at fifty, but as they say, if I had known I was going to live this long I would have taken more care of myself. This replaces a rather too smooth Japanese pressing, which does not live up to the more gritty pure mono Blue Note quality this recording deserves.
The Ebay seller used a fancy 60’s go-go girl avatar, with name to match, so it came as something of a surprise when they signed off the email “Thanks you buy my record, Tony“. Not sure why I was surprised, as some time ago I bought from a London seller with a typically dodgy Ebay name, his Paypal account was in an Asian ladies name, his email came from someone called “Albert” and he signed it “Norman”. Mind you, I am one to talk. Londonjazzcollector. What kind of name is that?