Selection: Herbie Nichols “2300 Skidoo”
1. Original: Herbie Nichols Trio (1955): Herbie Nichols (piano) Al McKibbon (bass) Art Blakey (drums) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, May 13, 1955 Blue Note BLP 5069 The Prophetic Herbie Nichols, Vol. 2
From The Prophetic Herbie Nichols, Vol 1 & 2, two 10″ Blue Notes reissued together by King Records, Japan (1983)
2. Mengelberg/Rudd/Lacy et a,l Soul Note, 1983:
3. Tight Corners: The Phillip Johnston/Jex Saarelaht Quartet reinterpret Steve Lacy’s interpretation of Nichol’s interpretation of 2300 Skidoo
Regeneration: half Herbie Nichols, half Thelonious Monk. We will return to the half Monk in another post.
2300 Skidoo is a maddeningly catchy tune typical of Nichol’s compositions, reinterpreted on this 1983 Soul Note predecessor to the 1985 Change of Season album. Nichols was master of strong melodic composition with a forceful rhythmic underpinning. His improvisation serves to embellish the melody, rather than as an opportunity for further exploration. The tune is the tune.
Roswell Rudd on trombone, replaced by George Lewis on the later album. Rudd’s career has been closely linked to friendships with both Archie Shepp and Steve Lacy, and his 1999 album Monk’s Dream was nominated for a Grammy as Best Jazz Instrumental Album. His adventurous dedication to trombone in avant gard settings deserves greater recognition. (We will come back to the trombone with a poll, shortly)
Compare-the-Interpretation with Dimitri-Shostakovich Von Meerkat, renowned musicologist and to help pay the bills, part-time insurance market analyst:
Vinyl: Soul Note 1054 (Italy) stereo 117gm
It’s not always easy to find a specific Soul Note title in the UK. Produced in Italy, Soul Note records did not always find their way across the Channel, and that cover won’t necessarily have helped sales. Original artwork, but it still manages to look cheap.
Thanks to Ebay I tracked down a copy of Regeneration on Buy-It-Now. Ebay is a great invention. Drives us mad sometimes but for record collectors, when you are looking for a specific record, it uniquely brings buyer, seller and product together. With record shops, you are hostage to what happens to have come in. Admittedly that adds a degree of interest, as you have no idea what will turn up. My database tells me only around a third of my collection has been sourced through Ebay – two-thirds have come from physical record shops. I’m doing my bit to keep the record shops afloat.
You need hi-fi to play records, and you need records for the hi-fi to play, so equilibrium makes sense. I try to keep a balance between investment in records and hi-fi, at 50:50. Right now, recent investment in bits of kit and wire has tipped the balance towards Hi Fi. Time, I think, to buy more records. Trouble is, I have lost every bid I had on in the last couple of weeks. There are more people out there than ever with a big appetite and deep pockets. May be I should think about switching my car insurance.