Selection: Dexter’s Deck
Not exactly difficult choice, since there are only two tracks on the whole album, side one and side two.
Booker Ervin, Dexter Gordon (ts) Jaki Byard (p) Reggie Workman (b) Alan Dawson (d recorded Munich, West Germany, October 27, 1965, recording by Will Schmidt
A recording five month’s into Dexter Gordon’s five year European Vacation, having concluded a run of successful Blue Notes with Getting Around (BLP 4204) and in the midst of a long run of Steeplechase albums in Copenhagen ( sent out for a Danish, decided to stay). The Prestige origin no doubt derives from Booker Ervin’s contract, hence Ervin leads and Gordon guests courtesy of Blue Note.
A happy blowing session recorded in Munich, Germany with a top notch full house of American swinging sidemen. Send out for more steins! No New York scene introspection and experimental pushing of boundaries here. A rattling good blowing session with everyone stretching out to twenty minutes a side.
Vinyl: PRT 7455 – 1973 reissue by Fantasy Records – note VAN GELDER stamp on Side 2 only on the Dexter Gordon session – Vinyl weight 91 grams
What’s cheap vinyl like this hanging round a nice deck like yours LJC – Low self-esteem?
Normally I give the light green Fantasy reissues a wide birth, but the original cover caught my eye, as did the Schmidt collection provenance written on the back of the sleeve. A trip to the counter to check the vinyl was rewarded by the surprising sight of a VAN GELDER stamp, on one side. A mid Sixties release, production, photo and cover design by the excellent Don Schlitten, and liner notes attributed to writer David Himmelstein, not a name I recognised, but surprised to find these notes referred to as a classic:
Liner Notes – these essays on the backs of records comprise “a minor literary genre,” often providing background on the musicians and the recordings, historical contexts, musical analysis, a window into the recording process, intimate anecdotes and personal views of the musicians that have an immediacy and warmth rarely found in other jazz writing–setting the tempo, in a sense, for the listener’s appreciation of the music
What makes the liner notes unique as a form is that, unlike reviews or even a jazz concert’s program notes, one reads them at the same time that one experiences the art: they offer criticism in the rudimentary sense of making the art available, of enlarging its meaning in the moment of direct experience.
Good liner notes stick in the listener’s mind and attach themselves the experience of listening to the record; the best, in fact, like David Himmelstein’s notes to Booker Ervin’s “Setting the Pace” or Amiri Baraka’s to “Coltrane’s Live at Birdland,” have themselves become classics, touchstones of the music.
If you take a moment or two to read the liner notes, I would put them down as “painfully hip” , as in “so hip he can barely see over his pelvis” (Douglas Adams) but apparently they are “classic”.
I had never come across the original in its’ blue /silver trident label incarnation, but one side at least was pressed in 1973 with the same stamper from 1965 , not long after the sale of Prestige to Fantasy. Curiosity got the better of me.
And very nice sounding blowing session, all the more interesting for the play-off between two contrasting tenor stylists – Dexter Gordon’s measured big tone, and Ervin’s more Coltrane-like driven sound. And confounding expectations, the light green reissue sounds very acceptable (albeit no original to compare it with)
Note the back cover (if not the record) is from famous collector Schmidt’s collection – his distinctive italic black ink signature on the side.
Source: North London record store.
It has been slow on the Ebay front, all the sellers must be on holiday. It’s slim pickings. You have to look harder. It must also be a problem for anyone with a growing jazz collection. Many of the records that cross your path at this point you either already have or you don’t want, and the remaining ones you are still looking for are more rare and often too expensive, leading to a natural slow down of the rate of acquisition. I think I can now understand the problem of TokyoJazzCollector, staring every day at the Mobley 1568 gap on their shelf. Time to think about the next upgrade to the hi-fi. The arm.
SPAM OF THE DAY
I get forty or fifty spam posts every day, mostly online pharmacy fishing for that one in a million gullible person, but occasionally a genuine post gets caught by the spam-filter, so I have to take a quick look every day. You would despair of the human race, shallow tricksy flattery, but every now and then the spammer has crafted a real prize-winner. They say if you wish to flatter, lay it on with a trowel. This gets todays award, a mighty 4/5 Golden Trowels
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