Selection: Status Quo (John Neely)
John Gilmore, Clifford Jordan (ts) Horace Silver (p) Curly Russell (b) Art Blakey (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, March 3, 1957
When are the Jazz Messengers not the Jazz Messengers? Here.The 1954 original Messengers line-up of Art Blakey, Curly Russell and Horace Silver, replace Lou Donaldson/ Clifford Brown or Mobley/Dorham with two Windy City muscular tenors Cliff Jordan and John Gilmore. It was Gilmore’s Blue Note debut before going off to spend the next four decades front-lining with cult resident alien Sun Ra (Quote: “The outer space beings are my brothers.They sent me here.They already know my music. Green card please”) Gilmore also pops up in unexpected places such as Blue Note’s avant-garde session, Andrew Hill’s Compulsion (BN 4217) , where he occasionally swaps the tenor sax for bass clarinet. Eric Dolphy anyone? (noted for future post)
One of the angles of this record is the difference between two tenors – Gilmore has the harder more punchy delivery, Jordan the more mellow tone, but as they are both solid driving players, who cares, really? The headline statements in duets are a nice touch as are the swapping solo lines, its bop, the whole bop, and nothing but the bop. After a few posts recently featuring the Avant-Garde , its right to put some bop balance on the scales.
Vinyl: EMI France/ Pathe Marconi reissue 1983 (thirty years old )
A couple of posters recently has reminded me that there are more than a few jazz lovers who have significant budgetary constrains, and have a right to have their needs attended to. Its like if you ever browse the shelves for car magazines, its all fantasy, What Lamborghini, so today LJC gives coverage to the Reliant Robin of vinyl collectors, the humble Eighties French reissue.
But first, lets take a peek in Popsike at a trophy original. By no means the most expensive at over a thousand dollars, but I liked the story of the seller, liquidating his late uncle’s jazz collection. Why don’t I have an uncle with a collection of near unplayed Blue Notes like this? It’s times like this makes you realise you chose your parents unwisely. I’m sure I was swapped in the maternity crèche, I deserve such an inheritance, LordJazzCollector
Highest price realised for this title was $1,715. As Mrs LJC is wont to say, That’s nearly half/quarter/third of a new kitchen! In our house we have a special unit of currency with which to talk about my hobby. Anything related to my hifi or records can be denominated in New Kitchens (NKs). For example, the cost of my speakers was “more than a (bloody) New Kitchen! (1 NK), the new Dynavector TKR cartridge was nearly half a New Kitchen! (0.5 NK’s), the entire LJC record collection is worth over four NKs. It’s so much easier than real money.
Beautiful object that it is, in its original laminated cover, this was never going to appear on my shopping list any time soon. Not at nearly quarter of a New Kitchen. However it seemed worth a try-out as an inexpensive re-issue from the 80’s, courtesy of Pathe Marconi/ EMI France, for little more than the price of a nice free-standing sink tidy. Before you reach the giddy heights of the high-end trophy hunters, there is still a lot of fun to be had fishing in the record-bins of life with the low budget jazz tramps.
French reissues do not appear on collectors most wanted lists but I have had some good experiences with them along side some less good. At half the price of a Liberty, given a good vinyl system I think you can enjoy a better musical experience than the Evil Silver Disk, but a lot depends on how your system takes to them. I rate my system today as “sensitive” (it knows when you are talking about it) and the earlier French Pathe Marconi 1982-3 pressings, mastered locally from tape (no Van Gelder imprint), can deliver quite a respectable performance for the money. However I avoid the DMMs that started around 1984, as they are mostly horrid
Uncommonly among reissues it is mono, probably how it was recorded originally so EMI France have worked with the source format and not tried to electronically simulate stereo, which is another bonus.
An inexpensive Ebay purchase, but I still consider it quite desirable, as it is not often found in other vintage reissue formats. Maybe Liberty or UA reissued it (if they did my mailbox will be bulging) but I can’t say I ever chanced on it in day-to-day collecting.
In this context, for the budget collector, a comparable value edition has to pass under the $15-30 price barrier that the French reissues command. We are talking Reliant Robin, it gets you from A to B , you can always get better by spending more, that’s not in dispute. The question is, do French reissues have a place for collectors? I think in some circumstances, the answer is yes.
It’s all about love of the music. And as you know, love conquers all.