Chet Baker: Summertime – Chet Baker (t) Gerard Gustin (p) Bert Dale (d) Jimmy Bond (b) recorded Paris, France, November 24, 1955
Chico Hamilton: Topsy – Chico Hamilton (d) Jim Hall (g) Buddy Colette (ts) Carson Smith (b) Fred Katz (cello) recorded Hollywood, February 13, 1956
Hampton Hawes: I Hear Music – Hampton Hawes (p) Mel Lewis (d) Red Mitchell (b) recorded Hollywood May 2,1955
Year: 1955-6 context
Lima Juliette Charlie: 1956 saw the introduction of the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, essential communications infrastructure as the world took to the skies, as for the next few years, airplane crashes punctuate the news.
These recordings were made mostly using microphones fitted with Western Electric 640AA condenser heads. Their presence here warranted a couple of lines on the liner notes. Along with the Neumann U47 and AKG C12, microphone technical developments gave sound engineers a huge leap in the quality of recorded music, on the way to its vinyl destination.
However much of this good work was subsequently undone by the record playing habits of Fifties listeners, for whom the floor was the main place for storing records during a record playing session.
From the coast of abundant sunshine, and work for jazz musicians in the mid Fifties., this anthology puts onto one disc the cream of the mid-Fifties West Coast jazz scene.
Vinyl: Pacific Jazz JWC 501 deep groove, vinyl 157 gm
Collectors Corner: The Zen of Filing
It is an old saw of record collecting that there is one type of record that will never have any value: a compilation. (Add to that “The Best of <insert artist name>” which more or less confirms that your musical career is over, and 48 CD box The Complete Works of <insert artist name> that announces to the world you are almost certainly dead)
Helpfully, some record shops have a “New Arrivals” section. If not, it’s usually a sign they rarely have any. Most rely on an alphabetic filing system by name of artist. Some also include a section dedicated to notable artists like “Coltrane” , full of reissues and 180 gm new pressings, or labels like “Blue Note” , full of reissues and 180 gm new pressings, plus the odd Jimmy Smith. Some even group artists by instrument, like piano or saxophone, which has to be the least useful. The one place that is almost never worth looking is the one section at the very end, entitled Various. That is where they stick the compilations.
There is another saw in collecting, which is Expect the Unexpected, which combines well with The Practice of Random Behaviour Under PRB, randomly, you sometimes do things differently to the way you normally do. I am convinced this practice makes a positive contribution in natural selection and species evolution. I never bother to look in the Various section, so this time I did. There was this little beauty from Pacific Jazz, vintage 1950’s, an original US deep groove “anthology” showing off the artist register of Richard Bock’s Californian Pacific Jazz label. The label is one of Pacific Jazz’s earliest designs, which I had never seen in the flesh. It is extremely unlikely I would ever see any of the original albums of this sampler and a treat to have them here in a vintage pressing, for a single figure price.
Complex filing systems, ones with many sub-categories for genres, instruments, labels, selected artists, vocalists, a separate section for modern audiophile reissues, Japanese pressings, jazz from the “early years”, new arrivals, and “big hitters” up on the wall, in addition to alphabetic groups, mean you are always in danger of looking in the wrong place or not looking in the right place. But then so is everyone else.
The “wrong place” is where you very occasionally make the most serendipitous discovery. It was under the uninviting generic heading Piano, I chanced on my beautiful vintage Riverside stereo copy of Bill Evans Trio Waltz for Debby, which had just arrived. Someone behind the counter concluded Evans plays piano, so stuck it under “piano”, a section that has rarely has anything of interest and which I usually skip over. PRB turned up trumps
How do you file the records in your collection? Are you a filing zealot, or a filing slut? Do you have an original method of record filing that works for you? Before I went alphabetic I tended to use the Archaeological Method: a large pile with most recent acquisitions on the top, oldest at the bottom. Then, as the piles got bigger and bigger, I saw the light.
Confession is good for the soul. Tell all.
LJC Spam Post of the Day – the best of 35 received today
I really enjoy reading your blog, it is actually among the highlights of my week. I particularly enjoy reading it within my lunch break.
Always cheers me up, reading the spam posts before deletion. Spamming: what a miserable way to make a buck.