Selection: Bonus Track not included on the original vinyl – Brilliant Corners, in which Elvis vocalises the part of Sonny Rollins tenor.
The record collecting community was today rocked by the announcement on a popular jazz collecting blog of the sensational discovery of a Blue Note title that has remained undiscovered for over fifty seven years. Collectors commonly assumed Blue Note BN 1553 to be an unissued catalogue number. It now appears that it was indeed allocated by Blue Note President Alfred Lion, to one of the most audacious projects ever attempted by the great Blue Note jazz label: the recording of tunes of Thelonious Monk by rising singing star Elvis Presley. Recently discharged from military service and not then knowing his future destiny, the young recording singing star accepted the challenge of vocalising the tunes of one of the founding fathers of the Bop movement, the highly individualistic pianist, Thelonious Monk.
Grasping tunes that had all but defeated many of the great horn players, Elvis quickly mastered Monk’s quirky melodies with ease, vocalising wordlessly the melodic twists and turns of tunes such as Epistrophy and Straight, No Chaser., even finding opportunities to curling his lip and synchronise his novel hip-swivelling technique at crucial points in the tunes. Recorded by master engineer Rudy Van Gelder, the tapes of the Elvis Sessions were mastered, and a first pressing run delivered to Alfred Lion. Ever cautious, Lion concluded that the young and relatively unknown singer Elvis was too great a risk, unlikely to ever achieve commercial recognition, and decided to discontinue the project.
The tapes of the Elvis Sessions remained in the Blue Note vaults undiscovered over five decades, even overlooked by Blue Note archivist Michael Cuscuna, who mistakenly concluded the description on the tape box was a practical joke. The existence of the first pressing run of Elvis Sings Monk has only just come to light.
Vinyl: Blue Note BLP 1553 Van Gelder, mono, deep groove, no INC or Registered Trademark below E of “Note”
A crate of original mint sealed copies of BN1553 was recently discovered by the US Postal Service’s Misdirected and Lost Internal Freight Service (US-MILFS) who , as a public service, alerted Blue Note collectors of the existence of the find through internet on-line journalists and blogs.
As a mark of appreciation of all the kind comments and loyalty of followers of LJC, the first twenty applicants will receive a free postage-paid copy of BLP 1553, on a first come first served basis.
This offer must come to a close precisely at noon, April 1, 2014.