Kenny Burrell At The Five Spot (1959) Blue Note


Selection: Birk’s Works (Gillespie)


Tina Brooks (ts) Bobby Timmons (p) Kenny Burrell (g) Ben Tucker (b) Art Blakey (d) recorded live at the “Five Spot Cafe”, NYC, August 25, 1959 recorded by Rudy Van Gelder

Year: 1959

1959December 12th – United Nations  Committee on Peaceful Use of Outer Space is established. Everyone is greatly reassured, knowing the UN is on the case. Space Invaders continue to draw up their plans for the invasion of Earth, regardless.

Music: unfree jazz

What else can I say? Tina Brooks!! He did not leave much recorded material, unlike Kenny Burrell, so this record is to be treasured more for Tina’s presence on tenor.

RVG has worked his miracle again, capturing live atmosphere in a way that plunges you into the front row of the Five Spot café. It’s an appreciative audience, polite applause, intimate atmosphere, and I especially like the absence of piercing whistles beloved of today’s lame-brained concert-goers, or the talent-show whooping required to remind you are watching something exciting. No need to cheer on Tina Brooks, just enjoy.

According to Wiki, English ex-Police guitarist Andy Summers referred to Burrell’s solo on “Lover Man” as “one of the best jazz guitar solos ever recorded”, so that’s two good reasons to revisit this classic if it is on your shelf.

Vinyl: BLP 4021 NY labels (2nd pressing) RVG stamp, ears, deep groove, 170gm.

This upgrade is to a second pressing – second in the generic sense of “not the first”, but within the Blue Note Years before 1966, from the RVG master. Pressed in 1964 if the Blue Note corporate inner sleeve “25 Years of ” is a correct match to its owner. I’m a huge fan of seconds. First pressings attract too high a collector premium for my pocket – easily three times the cost –  and I would rather have  a lot of seconds than a few firsts, though I have every respect for serious collectors, the First Pressing Fundamentalists and their fastidious requirement for the suffix 23 after New York in the label address.  The 47 West 63rds do sound astonishing, but there is  always  individual variation, and RVG masters turn out reliably fabulous listening, whether first or second pressing.

Comparethepressing meerkat veegeeTitle Previously blogged (2012) as a Division of United Artists reissue . Judge for yourself what United Artists house engineers created around ten years later and how it differs from a Blue Note  “original” pressing, both boiled down to a 160 kbps mp3 rip – MC VeeGee of Comparethepressing assures me they each sound quite different.

Division of United Artists 1970-3 are generally very good, closer to the original than later reissues.



Collector’s Corner

Source: Ebay
Sellers Description:

Kenny Burrell – BLP 4021 Mono with Art Blakey New York USA RVG Ear pressing. Record and Sleeve in VG+ condition. From my own collection and sound checked. A very nice copy.

Envy rating 3Not overwhelmed with envy, but for a nice copy at a fair price. 2/5  (upped to 3/5 for James)

smug-index-3-Wanted a decent copy for some time, now I got it, I’m pretty pleased with myself. Smug 3/5

cool-3Tina Brooks, say no more. Tina is always cool.3/5


LJC’s First Law of Collecting: If you see it, buy it.

crumb-hauntedYou never know if you will ever see it again.

The occasion buying turns out a mistake can be undone, simply by selling, or by just forgetting about it.

A mistake not buying can never be undone, and will haunt you the rest of your collecting life.

LJC’s Second Law of Collecting:  Equilibrium

Yin YangFor the would-be audiophile however, the best possible sound is mostly (it must be said, not always) from vintage vinyl, and records demand nothing less than the best possible Hi Fi, to extract what’s in the grooves. That is why your record collection and your hi fi should be of roughly equal financial value.

Improve the hi-fi, you need to buy more records. Buy more records, time to improve your hi-fi. Each one repays not through itself but through the other. Equilibrium.

(Hey, what’s with all the philosophy, LJC?!)


Your Amp

A new custom-built valve-based phono stage amplifier, arriving at LJC shortly. All the records on the shelf are whooping with excitement. Go LJC go!  And is that Tina Brooks I hear in the background, wolf-whistling?

More on this in a future post. Stay tuned to LJC. The only blog to give you both music and hifi porn.

16 thoughts on “Kenny Burrell At The Five Spot (1959) Blue Note

  1. Another great comparison. The second issue trumps the united artists issue. There is a hard-to-describe “sparkle” that is missing in the ua issue. Tried adding volume to bring the sound closer to the second issue, but it didn’t make any appreciable difference. I believe LJC commented that the second issue is sometimes the preferred for economic reasons. An interesting comparison might be a true first issue vs. the second to confirm (at least for a specific record) the actual differences between them. Inotherwords, are the “differences” such that should the “strapped for cash? jazz enthusiasts bid with the big boys (and re-finance the house) to have that original issue. Suggestion: Would it be technically possible to have a timer with the selected cuts to make it convenient when comparing them? Not terribly important, but thought I would put it out there.

    • Hi gh, thanks for your kind comments, and a good suggestion about the timer. I am limited to the audio streaming app that comes embedded in WordPress. It used to have a working countdown MM:SS timer but I notice it it stays stuck on zero nowadays. I’ll raise it with WP and see if its something fixable. They are often quite helpful.

  2. Ah, I’ve been chasing after this one for quite a while. I saw a second press go up to ~$400 a couple of weeks ago! I spotted a mint original at $400 in Tokyo last month and I am kicking myself for not buying it then.

  3. Perhaps this copy was owned by Kirk Stevens the 1980s Canadian cocaine-sniffing snooker player. What a great track! The Tina Brooks solo with Bobby T comping underneath is ace.
    The UA is very nice but of course if you gave me the choice I’d take the early pressing.

  4. Hooray for second (or third or fourth) pressings! There was just a short conversation about this very topic over at jazzcollector, specifically as to Bill Evans’ New Jazz Conceptions, a first press white label twin reel copy of which just went for $1,913 on eBay. A second pressing, which is from the same stampers, pressed a few years later, and has the blue and silver twin reel label, can routinely be had for under $20. While the first press is lovely and wonderful and obviously perceived as good value by the buyer, sign me up for the aurally-identical second pressing, and another 50 other second pressings, for that same total price.

  5. I like Jazz. i love records. i lust over Hifi porn. Thats why I follow your excellent blog. Also, I want this record, so add one to the ‘Envy Rating’.

  6. Superb acquisition. And I’d say that the Liberty pressing sounds ‘less present’ than the original that you have now. Also the first audio snippet is louder, the Liberty comes across as, well… a bit shy, if I may say so 🙂

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