Eric Dolphy: Out to Lunch (1964) Blue Note (updated 30/9/17)

Selection 1: Something Sweet Something Tender

Mono Original Blue Note:

Stereo, Division of Liberty:

Selection 2: Straight Up and Down

Mono Original Blue Note:

Stereo, Division of Liberty:

LJC-DunceLJC writes: always turn a mistake into an advantage. I have two editions of the same title, thanks to Eduard for spotting I uploaded the wrong rip. Now you can hear if you prefer mono or stereo editions.   A second benefit is to judge what kind of job Liberty made of the release compared with a Blue Note original, just about two years apart. That’s a difference you pay a lot of money for. Is it worth it? You decide.


Freddie Hubbard (t) Eric Dolphy (as, bclar, fl) Bobby Hutcherson (vib) Richard Davis (b) Tony Williams (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, February 25, 1964, four months before Dolphy’s death.

Year: 1964 – Cultural Notes

1964South America: riot during soccer match between Peru and Argentina leaves 300 fans dead; UK: fights at British seaside resorts  between Mods and Rockers; US: University of California students storm administration building and stage a sit in. We demand… umm.. something!   California brats…


alltopollresultIn the recent LJC poll of alto players, seems Eric Dolphy has a strong following, poll-topping neck and neck with Cannonball Adderley. One of our commentators found jazz fans taste for “honkers and squawkers” surprising. We definitely have followers of the Free Tendency here as well as the Armchair, Cardigan, Pipe and Slippers Swingers.  Stitt, Woods and Criss inevitably suffered by being pitted against the calibre of Art Pepper and Jackie McLean, though it was good to see them still getting a few votes. Ornette, a late addition to the ticket, showed well. Thanks to all who pressed the Vote button

So,  in the Downbeat tradition, an LJC Poll Winners post, and Eric Dolphy selection, Out to Lunch

Out To Lunch is probably multi-instrumentalist Dolphy’s most adventurous album, combining as it does some established bop references with well-articulated atonal attack, staged over a large experimental canvas.The best example of this contrast in sound is the LJC selection Something Sweet, Something Tender, reminiscent of Archie Shepp’s Mac Man, which lays out a smooth layer of vibes by Bobby Hutcherson, soft and serene, a false sense of security before Dolphy launches his edgy atonal assault.

 “A touch of ease drops over the soundscape before the trademark blast of jagged rips and chops runs to the edge off a cliff, and dangle, with sounds that shake jazz’s boundaries

Not for the faint-hearted, Out to Lunch is a bible for the avant-garde and the goatee-stroking set.  Along  with fellow innovator Ornette Colman (and of course Coltrane) Dolphy created the foundation of the avant-garde, a lethal riposte to the predictability of swing. But significantly, it is not free-fall: more a musical bungee-jump, with its attendant adrenaline rush. No matter how far-out Dolphy gets, the solos contain a controlled experiment in danger, and a safe return to earth. Still to come, those players who believed every song should have a beginning, a middle, and an end, just not necessarily in that order. Or just only a middle.

Dolphy was spontaneous innovator who leapt from idea to idea at great speed, rather than harmonic development over a stable rhythmic line. The bass clarinet is a perfect tool for sonic attack, marking out a change from the familiar tones of the alto. This is going to be different. With three horns, he uses every available tonal range .He also emulates ‘nature’ sounds, including included imitating birds and others gathered from nature. Squawking indeed, but squawking with intent. The birds are free, it’s us that live in a musical cage.

Some of the most arresting sounds are from Anthony Williams, not yet Fusion Tony, who rarely lays down a regular beat, but plays percussion as an instrumental equal. Van Gelder’s recording here is a marvel, cymbal strikes resonate and hang suspended in mid-air. Neither Davis nor Hutcherson take on any timekeeping responsibilities, the bassist varying both line and style for each new soloist, whilst Hutcherson uses both space and silence, and avoidance of a beat – percussive and chiming –  a million miles from the conventional death-by-cool mallets of Milt Jackson/ MJQ.

Most notable is the absence of a piano, and its role as an accompanist. Dolphy has no need of an accompanist, his quintet of five original voices, young guns, all walk tall. The most uneasy of those voices was Hubbard. It’s Hubbard who tries to bring things back within bounds, with fanfares and slower counterpoints to Dolphy’s impassioned solos, pulling the tune back towards bop. He was never going to wear the mantle of avant-garde trumpet, which was passed to Don Cherry.

Four months after Out To Lunch Dolphy died in Berlin, only days past his thirty-sixth birthday, it is said, as a result of mis-management of a diabetic coma, an undiagnosed medical condition of Dolphy, mistaken for a drug overdose. In a tribute to Dolphy, Mingus said:  Usually, when a man dies, you remember—or you say you remember—only the good things about him. With Eric, that’s all you could remember.

Dolphy is regarded by many as a genius, and by some a saint, a holy man, who gave us some of the finest, most original and eclectic material in jazz. His music remains “contemporary” in it’s daring mix of opposites – hot and cold, fire and ice, sweet and sour, safety and danger.  His early departure ensured no gradual decline into superannuated mediocrity, nor was he driven to collapse by the demon of narcotics. Unlike many contemporaries, Dolphy eschewed the siren call of the evil red poppy. Had he lived on, I believe he would have continued to move forward, towards the light.

Vinyl: Blue Note BLP 4163, mono,NY labels,  ear, VAN GELDER, DG s1 only

Reid Miles’ famous cover showed a Will Be Back at shop sign with seven clock hands pointing in as many directions, my personal favourite Blue Note cover. The album title and the multi-directional clock neatly summarise Dolphy’s controversial approach to time and expected musical directions, a sly metaphor for the avant-garde and a warning to expect the unexpected.

Collectors Corner




Source: Central London record store, new arrivals, a couple of years ago. As I brought it to the counter, shaking my head in disbelief, the manager responded “My, that was quick – I only just put that out“. As in music, so in record collecting, indeed most of life,   everything .timing is

Despite repeated attempts, for several years I have failed to secure an original copy of Dolphy’s other masterwork, Outward Bound, as trophy hunters and Dolphy fanatics hurl wads of cash at Ebay. The last was just a couple of weeks ago, when exceptionally I bid 30% over my “house limit”, to no avail – second placed among 18 bidders.  The lucky final winner paid through the nose for it instead of me. As a compulsive Ebay Psychological Profiler , or what scientists refer to as “nosy”, I checked the final Dolphy winner – not obviously a goatee-stroking hepcat:  a score over a thousand, a purchase history of mainly 7″ singles, makes three bids every day, and thus far has left no feedback. Strange, but these things so often are, out to lunch.

Postscript: Captain’s Log, stardate September 29, 2017

Many questions around the deep groove and original first pressing of Out To Lunch. Somewhat unhelpfully the uploader of the master Discogs entry for BLP 4163 describes it as “deep groove” in the description, but has uploaded two different pictures of Side 1. Bummer.

Did they mistakenly assume it was deep groove on both sides, confirmed by seeing two dg labels, not noticing the duplication of Side 1?

Fred Cohen indicted the original first pressing is deep groove on Side 1 only, the same as my copy below:

4163 LJC copyCapture.JPG

However there are examples of pressings with no deep groove either side:


The new non-deep groove pressing dies appeared at Plastylite in May 1961, and the last release with a deep groove indent, just on one side, was in July 1965. In between these two dates, records generally considered original first pressings appear more or less randomly with deep groove both sides, neither side, and on Side 1 only or Side 2 only, however the presence of DG reduces over time, until the last of the old dies were worn out and discarded.

The top auctions of BLP 4163 in Popsike either mention DG Side 1 only (as per Cohen) or make no mention of it at all, neither in the positive or the negative. An echo chamber as sellers look for the most favourable description of their record for sale?

LJC  Deep Dive

Digging deeper through other auction sources gives us more evidence to chew over, though a degree of uncertainty remains. The often definitive arbiter of original status, the Promo copy, could not be found (by me at least).  Having looked at around 80 auctions, I am confident of the following :

  • 4163 is found in only two forms: DG Side 1 only, and no DG either side. No other variation is found.
  • 4163 went through possibly three pressings, as evidenced by the accompanying inner sleeves. Inner sleeves changed every quarter, 9 unique designs,  and were in use over three years, advertising the latest releases. Hence the inner sleeve, when available, narrows the likely date of manufacture down to  a four month period.

1964: “25 years” inner sleeve Mid ’64 – Spring ’65) – most copies (90%) with this inner sleeve are deep groove Side 1 only, but other copies with that sleeve are also found without deep groove (see Appendix for screengrabs) . The numbers suggest the initial pressing run was DG Side 1 die permutation, but another press or stamper change was required to meet demand and generated further copies with a different die combination – no deep groove. The ambiguity is inescapable because no-one can say when the first pressing run “stopped” or that a stamper change or second pressing machine  disqualifies that vinyl from being “original”

1965: “26 years” inner sleeve ( Spring ’65 to late ’65)  – all copies deep groove Side 1 only. More copies pressed the following year, Spring 1965 onwards, coincidentally the same pressing die permutation. Or less plausibly, the first pressing run spanned two different inner sleeves. No-one knows. To my horror, I found that my copy was paired with a 26 Years inner,  deep groove Side 1 only.

1966: “27 years” inner sleeve (1966) – all copies no deep groove either side. Definitely a third pressing run prior to sale of Blue Note to Liberty , all with “ear”.

Appendix – auction samples

DG Side 1 only – 25 Years inner – probably earliest pressing

No DG – 25 Years inner – could be earliest pressing based on same  inner sleeve

DG Side 1 only – 26 years inner – more copies pressed? When?

No DG – 27 Years inner – second or third pressing, definitely not “original” 1st pressing as often claimed, but same metal, same plant, who cares?

Stereo Edition – no DG – 27 Years inner – later release or second pressing?

This has to be one of the unsolved mysteries of Blue Note “originals”. My instinct says deep groove Side 1 and 25 Years inner means definitely original first pressing. No deep groove and 25 Years may also be a first pressing. No deep groove and 27 Years inner is definitely a repressing, though still original Blue Note. The deep groove Side 1 and 26 Years inner remains unexplained.

75 thoughts on “Eric Dolphy: Out to Lunch (1964) Blue Note (updated 30/9/17)

  1. I know this is an old post, but can anyone comment as to the how noticeable a difference there is between the RVG Liberty press and the non RVG liberty?


  2. Hello LJC
    First of all Thank you for all your posts, jazzpoetry and comments. It really helps me collecting besides the 100 books and 1000s of records i found.
    This is the only record i feel it’s worth keeping both the stereo and the mono copy.. for me the latter deffinitly sounds better but i’ll keep my stereo liberty just for the simultanious played pieces like something sweet where it’s almost having both Dolphy and Hubbard playing in my house
    Best regards
    Rotterdam Netherlands


  3. This brings up a question I’ve always had about my stereo copy (which unfortunately lacks it’s original inner sleeve). The record, with the Plastylite “P” but no DG on either side, came in a mono jacket with the large gold “STEREO” sticker on the front, like early stereo copies of Blue Train, Somethin’ Else, Moanin’, etc. Does this mean it was made before the proper stereo jacket was available or did they run out and just stickered over the mono jacket to get product out the door? Any ideas would be appreciated!


    • Released in August 1964, stereo was well established, everyone had their home stereograms, stereo sales on the way up, mono on the way down. My guess is Blue Note found they had a surplus inventory of mono covers for this title, and stickering was a good way to use them up. Or some other reason which we don’t know, always a possibility with record manufacture.

      Incidentally, I just uploaded fresh pictures for this post, the originals were just awful (from 2013). In the process, I discovered to my horror that my copy, which I thought original because of the Side 1 deep groove, has a 26 Years inner. Mid 1965 at the earliest.


  4. Hello LJC,

    I was researching the pressings for this release.

    Was wondering about s record with all the same markings as the original mono pressing but without the deep groove.

    And on your main blue note label guide page you state “As a general rule, NY first pressings do not bear the deep groove pressing mark on either side, and those older dies were used more often with second and third pressings of earlier releases, though as is always the case with Blue Note, there are exceptions.”

    All the images of the label I find have the deep groove. And when I look at other NY pressings I have from 1964 they have the deep groove.

    So which is the first true pressing? With DG or without? And if it is the DG, the non DG is likely a second press?

    Thanks for your help.



  5. Has anyone heard the Japan 2013 Mono reissue of this? Is it worth a punt as a cheap route to hearing this in glorious mono?


  6. Just enjoying the chance to compare this same Liberty stereo pressing – which I just picked up on ebay (I presume it’s same; without RVG stamp) with what was my first copy – a French DMM.
    Given I bought it on the strength of this post I’m very happy. In fact the DMM is no slouch, which is surprising. It renders the bass very well but seems a little muffled compared to the Liberty which is sharp and more engaging. I think it goes to show just how good RVG’s stereo recording was in this instance. Thanks for the tip LJC – a nice budget choice.


  7. Looks like there is some fun commentary in this section. I just compared the mono and stereo between the two and both are very nice. The mono certainly has more punch, but the stereo really holds its own. I own this on the UA label with some black writing and the musicians names in the bottom left. I actually haven’t even listed to it the whole way through yet. I’m waiting for when I can come to it.


  8. A great record. In league with Cecil Taylor’s Looking Ahead. I tend to like the vibraphone percussion in avant garde more than in conventional jazz. I am listening to the good old mono, and it sounds spacious, big and exciting. Great music. Love Dolphy, and this is the most interesting Dolphy ( I love most of the others with Oliver Nelson, Misha Mengelberg etc)


  9. Hey LJC, I have a question about first pressings. I read somewhere:
    “Starting with Blue Note 4059, Plastylite BOUGHT NEW EQUIPMENT that did NOT press in the deep grooves!
    4059 (Kenny Drew, “Undercurrent”) is an anomaly because EVERY KNOWN COPY has the deep groove on one side only–that means Plastylite used the newer equipment for one side only! Starting with 4060 ALL “first” pressings have NO deep groove! If you find a copy of any number AFTER 4059 that has a deep groove in one or both sides, it’s a SECOND pressing–the new equipment was ALWAYS used for the first run!”

    But if I use Frederick Cohen’s guide as a reference. There are lots of titles after 4059 that have deep grooves. Including Out to Lunch. So is this a first pressing or not?


    • I have seen that statement, attributed to collector Alan Songer, many times and it is endorsed by a number of serious Blue Note collectors. Only the factory foreman and production staff at Plastylite in the Fifties, not collectors, know for sure what actually happened to dies in the production process. It may be right, it may not be, not to say it isn’t mostly right.
      A number of Fred Cohen judgements are thought controversial, and I think there is an open question over the status of some titles.


      • I don’t know much about pressing records but wouldn’t it make more sense for one machine to press the two sides? Or is the opposite logistically the better option? Which would explain why there are lots of one sided deep groove Blue Notes. But it wouldn’t explain why there are also lots of Blue Notes which don’t have two different sides… Unless there’s a setup were the machines were used pretty arbitrarily. Then we will never know without the production logs. So, if there’s somebody still around with knowledge of the pressing process or production logs, let us know!


        • I believe the old and new dies were merely a small functionally interchangeable pressing machine component, that simply served to hold the stamper in place. Once the A and B stampers were mounted in a press, all the copies pressed in that run would have the same characteristics. Whether the dies were linked in any way to specific presses at Plastylite factory,an old press, a new press, I don’t think anyone knows, or if they do, they are keeping very quiet about it.

          May be the older DG dies eventually “wore out”, which might explain their eventual disappearance. Maybe, maybe, maybe… The Plastylite factory production logs would answer a lot of questions, but we are fifty years away, and all we have is a lot of maybes.


        • I’ve done some more research to give us more insight for identifying “originals” for this album. A postscript added at the foot of the original post, scroll down to the bottom. It’s interesting!.

          The NY label was in use for around 4 years, covers, label and etchings didn’t change, the only forensic is the inner sleeve, which unfortunately is all too often missing over the years. If you have it, there is a good chance you can asses the probability of original status.

          If anyone has a picture or good description of a Promo copy of 4163, I couldn’t find one, that is definitive, give us a shout.


              • by different I just meant either with Deep Groove or without. I purchased the copy in question this weekend. All markings of an original mono pressing. And the inner sleeve. And NO deep groove on either side. And interestingly enough a radio station sticker on the back of the cover.


                • My recently acquired copy is exactly the same. No original inner sleeve unfortunately so the exact vintage remains a mystery. Lovely mono sound, RVG and ear, I’m happy regardless!


                • It is entirely possible the promo copies destined for radio stations were pressed on a different machine to the main commercial batch, so grooveless is “first”, no one knows. I liken it to the old joke about two bald men arguing over a comb. It doesn’t really matter, but to some it does.


  10. I’ve only recently stumbled on your site. What a great resource (and distraction) it is. My copy of Out to Lunch is identical to yours (ear, one-sided DG, etc). I too acquired mine from a London seller, but through Discogs. It was in my wantlist so I was notified immediately. I pounced without hesitation. 50 quid, and in my hands in Los Angeles within days. Great condition, with just enough ‘character’ for its age. As you say, timing is everything. Online is not my preference, but I’ve had some good experiences with records that were unenthusiastically described and/or poorly photographed, especially on ebay. An immaculate German first pressing of Can’s Tago Mago for less than $20 and a tight American first pressing of the Stooges “Fun House” for less than $40 come to mind. I know. Not jazz.


    • Yes, however only a Japanese reissue (Limelight / Polygram – Nippon Phonogram) which I remember being distinctly unimpressed with. I did once see an ” original” but it was in G minus condition sold mainly for the cover, so I bide my time. Haven’t played the Japanese for ages, since when my appreciation of Dolphy has come on in leaps and bounds, so probably timely to re-evaluate it.


      • I have the original Limelight stereo pressing of ‘Last Date’. To my ears it sounds suspiciously like your typical ‘rechanneled for stereo’ nightmare. Either that or the microphone placement in the radio studio was extremely odd. In any case, I am betting that the mono version probably sounds a lot better. Also, the original release was on Fontana which LJC might have a good chance of getting his hands on.

        I really like the performance. however. It shows Dolphy was still developing musically and that even in the midst of his declining health he could still play magnificently. Beyond that, I really enjoy the piano of Misha Mengelberg (whose great uncle was the legendary conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Willem Mengelberg). His style is quite unique, especially in is harmonic choices which seem very much influenced by 20th century classical music.


    • I believe this indicates there are no test tones recorded at the beginning of the tape and that a separate ‘house’ reel of test tones should be used for alignment before playback instead.


  11. I wouldn’t mind having the originals 😉 I have a few of those and really like them too. A bit more punch and brighter sounding. More musical. But the MM’s are great too. They are more detailed, a bit creamier and a dryer drum sound. On almost silent vinyl. A different listening experience but quite enjoyable. I have most of the MM’s I want to have but recently drifting more to the punch and musicality of the mono originals, Blue Note and others…
    I learned a lot from your site. About UK pressings, Esquire, HMV etc. but also Dutch Prestige pressings on Artone with the same stampers as the Esquires and the Prestige originals. They sound fantastic and can be bought for around 20 euro’s in mint condition here. (I live in Amsterdam). Keep up the good work!


    • I am in the process of selling off all of my originals and replacing them with MMs. The MMs were voiced for a different era and I generally dislike their boost to the upper mids and lack of bass. I release its a question of personal preference but I much prefer the more balanced sounding MM releases. Where a cymbal sounds bright without raising the brightness across the spectrum. But that aside, I find the connection to the music much stronger with the MMs, its like the musicians are present in your living room against a silent black background. Superb.


      • Ooops. Should say the Original Blue Notes (not MMs) were voiced for a different era. The upper mid boost was created to generate a sense of greater dynamic range to overcome the reproduction limitations of the equipment at the time.


        • You’re right but I like them both and wouldn’t want to sell either. The Blue note, Impulse or Prestige original still has something fresh and magical to me. There’s a certain energy and punch that the MM lacks. The MM is more analytical. The original makes me want to tap my feet and the MM makes me amazed by the musicianship of the musicians. So why choose? 😉


          • I have been collecting Blue Note LPs for the past 50 years or so. Believe me the MMs do not lack energy or punch! In my experience they are a step above the originals in every way. Had Alfred Lion been around today these are the pressings he would have produced.


            • All opinions good here, but I worry a little about absolutes – as I have written, no one knows what any one else hears. Over five years of upgrading my hi fi, the way a given record sounds has changed dramatically. What sounded initially like too much bass on a recording was in fact uncontrolled bass in the reproduction. The same record now sounds like it has well-controlled bass and consequently more vibrant top end, and punch. Bass leaches energy from the other parts of the register. Same record, but changes to audio system have produced better bass control.

              We tend to think of records as having fixed attributes, but you can’t hear a record except through a sound system, and the sound system varies from one record owner to another, and each sound system interprets that record differently, according to what happens to those electrical signals as they pass through a myriad of electrical components and handovers.

              I am not suggesting any opinions are wrong, only that opinions can differ and both be right, being based on different experiences. Equally, there are still some “lousy” records out there.


              • Yes, I agree. I have been up and down the hi-fi ladder several times. It makes a difference, which is why I said above that I release its a question of personal preference ….


                • That’s why I keep them both for my future 100.000 euro hi-fi set and decide then which I’ll like best 😉


                  • Having said that I’m still undecided, I would really enjoy Andrew Hills Black Fire getting the Music Matters treatment! That’s one of my all time favorites which still hasn’t been released on MM… And of course Let freedom ring by Jackie McLean.


                    • I’ll take an original mono over an MM any day. I have a few MM’s and to my ear it sounds like trying to turn a Blue Note into an ECM. To clean, tame. As if a blanket has been put over the music. More modern sounding I guess, but losing the depth and brilliance of the original mono’s. One has to play the Blue Notes with a good Mono cartridge (I use an old GE VRII and a Denon DL102).

                      Just got a beat-up Out To Lunch mono, and it is stonking. What an awesome record


    • Hi Thanks for the link – wish I had known about it earlier but no matter, I’ve already ordered two from the US. The saving is largely in the postage – a lot less from Leicester, and in not getting stiffed by Royal Mail charge for collecting the import duty, which is plain highway robbery. Not a huge difference but still, well worth having. Remains to be seen how well I like MMs – I have a lot of the titles as originals already, but I can see a few likely candidates, thanks.


  12. A great album. This was also one of the first CDs that I ever bought in the early nineties; a 1987 reissue on CD no less, remastered by the often criticized -what’s in a name- Ron McMaster. I never bought the RVG edition that came out much later.

    “Straight Up And Down” is the true killer of this album, I can listen to it over and over, even though I’m still not good at listening to ‘avant garde’ or ‘free’ jazz. Slowly but surely I’m getting there though – as I get older. “Straight Up And Down” was also used as the theme of a weekly comedy show on Dutch television in the nineties called “Keek Op De Week”.

    And then the comment that Dolphy gives on his own tracks on the back of the LP and in the CD booklet, of course in particular “Straight Up And Down”, quote: “…this one reminds me of a drunk walking, straight up and down I call it…” 😉

    And how ’bout Eric’s words on Tony Williams, quote: “…Tony doesn’t play time, he plays pulse…” -I think it’s those little things that makes Dolphy that genius.


  13. I’ve changed my mind; I prefer the mono rip now having listened again through my Grados. So much more immediate and compelling. You can let your brain make the space.


  14. To allow LJC full liberties with the following, I swing both ways when it comes to Mono vs. Stereo. On this recording, one of my favorites parts are Hutcherson’s vibes. He gives it that haunting quality that sends shivers up my spine. I simply can’t get that feeling in the mono recording. I personally believe that the vibe sound is better served either bouncing and resonating around the room and picked up by different mics or perhaps (though I doubt) he is using a Leslie type speaker, but nonetheless that back and forth quality in stereo is special..


    • As a follow-on comment, I think the cymbals sound better (less flat) in the Mono version. Whether that is a mastering, pressing or closer to the source rationale, I don;t know.


    • Both mono and stereo, Dave, another “swinger” eh?

      Look, Dave, I believe that what adults listen to in the privacy of their own homes is their own business. If couples are into stereo, or practice aural sex (that is, wearing a pair of headhones) who are we to judge?

      I’m all for diversity but I draw the line at suggesting to impressionable young jazz collectors that stereo is somehow natural. Later in life they can make their own choices, mono or stereo, or even come out like you, bi-aural. But this is a family blog, and we favour monotony.

      As the Dottor has explained, our brains are inherently mono. Our ears are there simply to stop our glasses falling off.


      • we’ve got two ears as well as two eyes, two hands, two feet, two kidneys: last night I thought of a defect in human body design. Someone forgot to give us a couple of…too. Definitly a defect, Humans will never make love in stereo.


    • I think most recordings are a combination of mono and stereo anyway, even today. Some instruments such as electric guitars are recorded in mono, whilst others such as a piano are in stereo, before its all mixed together. Not sure what RVG did – he was very very secretive about how he recorded.


  15. “I have lost count of the times people have told me x or y is the best – it’s common parlance, it may well be, or at least for them, on their gear, it’s not been so on mine. ”

    Amen to that.

    Regardless of any other considerations, people should remain conscious of the fact that music is an art, and therefore in the final analysis, subjective. I don’t think anyone enjoys being casually informed by a stranger that a favorite release, which may be near and dear to them, is ‘inferior’ and the corresponding implication of deficient judgement both artistic and financial.

    As someone (I believe Dean R) pointed out: mastering is fraught with judgement calls which must be decided based on one’s personal aesthetics. This goes doubly for producing a recording session. In either case, I feel it’s somewhat absurd to imagine there are ‘correct’ decisions to be made.

    The truth is that each one of us has our own expectations of how jazz music ought to sound when committed to record (or performed, for that matter). I sincerely hope we can all maintain a certain amount of respect for our fellow jazz aficionados and the recordings they choose to listen to.


    • I can see how it may be annoying for someone having spent hundreds, many hundreds of dollars on an original pressing of say Cool Struttin, to read that a cheaper reissue sounds better according to someone else.

      However given that this site exists as a medium for the exchange of such experiences and opinions, I hope the aforementioned respect is extended to everyone.


      • I don’t think that mono sounds better than stereo or that originals are better/worse than reissues: I love mono originals, even if they sound not so good: ie, yesterday I put on the original My favorite things, Atlantic and it sounded awfully, I’ve other versions which I’m goin’ to listen to in order to compare but I won’t ever get rid of my mono 1361, white fan, no dg.


  16. Great write-up LJC. I entirely agree about the music is not a ‘free fall but a bungee jump. In this record and Andrew Hill’s Point of Departure the musicians begin to dislocate the structures of hard bop but it seems to me that they always play the music in the context of those structures. The modern always needs the classical to establish what it is. To me they represent the pinnacle of small group recordings. The common defining factor, perhaps, being Tony Williams’ broken rhythms
    As for the mono stereo thing. The Liberty does appear better played through headphones from my laptop but I bet it’s a different story though a high-end system and great speakers.
    I have a DMM stereo version and it’s okay compared with some of the others I have. Stereo does seem to suit the recording.


        • Unfortunately its OOP at Music Matters so you are only left with eBay where prices have soared…. If you want to dip your toe with the MMs I can thoroughly recommend Tina Brooks – Back to the Tracks, which was scheduled for release by Blue Note but unexpectedly shelved. A classic.


        • I always keep an open mind, and on the strength of a couple of commenters here am checking MM out for myself. The Steve Hoffman/AcousTech for Analog Productions I have is definitely sub-standard but apparently Hoffman has little to do with these things personally – with MM editions, its down to a producer Chad Kaseem (if thats the spelling) and a couple of dedicated studio engineers that actually make the transfer.

          I have lost count of the times people have told me x or y is the best – it’s common parlance, it may well be, or at least for them, on their gear, it’s not been so on mine. I have a completely open mind but I depend on my own experience. I will give my objective verdict here, with comparative rip.

          I’ve ordered a couple of titles direct from MM – around $50 USD each plus $25 USD USPS 1st postage each plus 20% VAT, plus Royal Mail VAT collection charge. Works out about £65 GBP a pop, which if they live up to it, is pretty good value for otherwise unaffordable titles.Will take a couple of weeks with the post.

          MM have only have a relatively small selection of the Blue Note catalogue actually in stock, and don’t cover other labels recordings, so its a niche for certain recordings, far from a universal solution for jazz fans. A seller in south Korea has a load more MM titles but the cost escalates considerably. I’m content with the trial here. Watch this space.


          • I hope you like the LJC. What did you choose?

            One of my favourites from MM is Sonny Rollins VOL. 1 in Mono. Great sound.

            Chad Kaseem works on the Analogue Prod. pressings. Music Matters is a different team: Ron Rambach, Joe Harley, Kevin Gray.

            I saw that seller in Korea too – seems to be asking over the odds given that most of the stuff you can still get for $49 direct from MMM.


            • The email back from MM thanking me for my purchase was from Ron Rambach. Maybe Ron is the latest business brains? Looks like there have been a number of different hands on the tiller at MM. I Googled MM vs AP and got a reference to the Chad team. If you search Ebay for Music Matters it turns up all sort of stuff including sleeves with logos for AcousTech and Steve Hoffman mastering. Seems MM is not one historically continuous production team.

              I have ordered from their current catalogue the very same BLP 1542 Sonny Rollins Vol 1(Decisions!!) and a favourite I don’t seem to be able to source in the original form, Hubbard’ s Open Sesame. Just love Gypsy Blue – a Tina Brooks composition I recall. Great album, I have a very high calibre Division of United Artists press.

              If these sound good, there will be more.


              • Excellent choices LJC!

                I think the Music Matters team has been pretty constant, with the sole exception of Steve Hoffman, who is no longer involved with Music Matters.

                Ron is a great guy to deal with and their customer service is second to none – as is their packing, although I personally asks for LPs to be shipped outside jackets to avoid seam damage.


    • “In this record and Andrew Hill’s Point of Departure the musicians begin to dislocate the structures of hard bop but it seems to me that they always play the music in the context of those structures. The modern always needs the classical to establish what it is.”

      Very well put.

      I like the comparison with “Point of Departure”. I think the continuity with the past is one of the things that makes this particular incarnation of the Avant Garde more appealing for me than some other approaches.


  17. My second ever Blue Note purchase when I was 16 – I loved the cover – boy was I in for a shock. It’s strange, angular and beautiful, and an album I’d happily fork out for again – this time not a reissue.
    Though if other people insist on buying up the copies in central London stores what hopes have I?
    Very high on my personal envy rating, with an extra mark for purchasing in a real shop.


  18. Where the hell is Kenny G in that Alto Poll???

    (….just joking, by the way I would be happy to add Eric Kloss, Leo Wright and Frank Strozier to that list.)


  19. Listening as I am on my wife’s iPad, I can’t tell a damn between the rips, but that isn’t the point — the point is the greatness of the music, the sheer invigorating ‘alien swipe’ (to appropriate Cooks and Morton’s phrase — use, incidentally, not about Eric but about Ornette) of Eric on. Bass clarinet — for my money as thrilling a sound as exists in jazz of any kind, any where. Except perhaps Braxton on contra bassoon (if that’s what it’s called). Now c’mon, LJC, you can — as you well know — add another mark for envy rating!


  20. But the rips are from a stereo record, aren’t they? Very very strange if they were done from the one displayed here. A stereo record with “mono” labels & cover. Now this is what I call VERY RARE. Never seen this one before.


    • I have both a stereo copy and a mono copy. I had better make sure which vinyl was used for the rip! Its always possible there was a mix up – clusterfcuk – Will be updated soon as I check it out, very odd.

      UPDATE: Well listened Eduard. The initial rips were indeed stereo, now complemented by the addition of the mono original Blue Note press which belongs with the pictures.


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