Selection: Minor Escamp (Jordan)
. . .
Now the somewhat surface-challenged Dillon (Roy Haynes Trio)
. . .
Barney Wilen, tenor saxophone, Jay Cameron, baritone saxophone; Henri Renaud, piano; Jimmy Gourley, guitar; Joe Benjamin, bass; Roy Haynes, drums; recorded Paris, France, October 26, 1954
In 1954, RCA launched the first color TV set. Sporting a 12-inch screen, it cost today’s equivalent of $8,000. Today, $8,000 will buy you a 70″ 4K Ultra HD TV with a six-speaker audio system, while Amazon has new 12″ colour portables for under $100.
However, a decent collection of 1,000 vintage records, possibly including some records dating back as far as 1954, will cost today in the region of $50,000. A high-end vinyl system on which to play them, as much again.
This demonstrates conclusively that, while the cost of home entertainment technology has fallen dramatically, the cost of owning any content worth attending to has risen by considerably more. Or that you can prove anything with numbers. Which, I’m not sure.
As you get older you appreciate the amount of time you have is limited, and sadly, dwindling. Time is too precious to waste on escapism. You don’t need television, especially not soaps, in which highly-paid actors pretend to be common poor people. Your time is better spent listening to music, the summit of human creativity, through your record collection, twenty minutes per side (no playlist jumping) and for the sole purpose of listening, not background music to something else. Great art demands and rewards your full attention.
Roy Haynes is great, and the young Barney Wilen equally so. One of the earliest recordings of both, recorded in Paris, it has a cachet in place and time that is hard to beat, even if recorded with earlier generation equipment, it still has a sense of presence. Wilen is caught here a couple of years before Miles Davis drafted him in for his European Tour and the Lift to the Scaffold jazz film score. The other artists are unfamiliar to me, but the whole ensemble swings.
The cover captures Haynes concentrating on that swing. His hands are on the snare but he’s not looking at them. He doesn’t need to, because the propulsion comes from within. No musician needs to look at the instrument.
Musical instruments are extensions of the body. The saxophone is breath turned into voice. The piano extends the fingers, the bass is the feet in which the music walks, and the drums are the living pulse. Put them together, music is human form, in sound. Good music, that is.
OK LJC, if you’re so smart, which body-part is the electric guitar?
You mean as in rock ‘n’ roll? A little below the waistband, I guess. Rather proves my point.
Vinyl: Vogue LDE 130 10″ UK release, pressed by Decca.
As a rule I don’t do 10″ – life’s complicated enough collecting 12″ LPs. Opening the door to 10″ drags you back in time to poorer recording technology, greater vinyl damage from Frankenstein record players with a worn stylus, and a scarcity premium not necessarily worth paying for. That is the way I saw it but as a fan of both Roy Haynes and Barney Wilen, this incredibly rare 10″ was an irresistible attraction.
The seller warned the condition was not great, and that turned out an understatement. Scuffed and scratched, the level of surface noise is at the limits of the tolerable. It was still fairly expensive, due to many bidders, and with hindsight I should have passed it up, but you don’t always make the right choices at the time. If I think of it as a retro sound track, in which clicks are part of the period charm, it works quite well.
It is also a good test of the way some system components are more tolerant of vinyl surface imperfections, whilst others give them greater prominence. The music should ride on top and any surface damage sounds are just in passing. It certainly seems to work that way, as it sounds a whole lot more acceptable on the big system, with its tenatious grip on the groove, than on the more flimsy USB turntable.
Guitarist Jimmy Gourley was a stalwart of the Americans in Paris scene of the Fifties. Here he is reunited with Barney Wilen, recorded over 40 years later, in 1987. Autumn Leaves, sweep them away…
LJC’s SPAM Post of the Day
Submitted on 2013/09/16 at 01:59
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No no really, thanks, it’s nothing. Well, not completely nothing…quite a bit actually…lots, and some. Shame it’s just spam, around thirty of these a day, some days fifty, mostly jammed with online pharmacy hyperlinks.