Miles Davis: ‘Round About Midnight (1956) Columbia “essential”

 

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(Previously blogged as the UK Philips release, with a blue cover and photographically enhanced trumpet, now “upgraded” to the original Columbia CL949)

Selection: ‘Round About Midnight 320kbps MP3 Columbia six-eye mono

Artists

Miles Davis (trumpet) John Coltrane (tenor saxophone) Red Garland (piano) Paul Chambers (bass) Philly Joe Jones (drums)

Recorded variously  at Columbia Studio D, NYC, October 26, 1955, Columbia 30th Street Studios, NYC, June 5, 1956 and September 10, 1956

Music

 Allmusic say:

 Musically, this sound is as unusual and as beautiful as it was when issued in 1956. Davis had already led the charge through two changes in jazz — both cool jazz and hard bop — and was beginning to move in another direction here that wouldn’t be defined for another two years.

 

Besides the obvious lyrical and harmonic beauty of “Round About Midnight” that is arguably its definitive version even over Monk’s own, there are the edges of Charlie Parker’s “Au Leu-Cha” with its Bluesology leaping from every chord change in Red Garland’s left hand. Coltrane’s solo here too is notable for its stark contrast to Davis’ own: he chooses an angular tack where he finds the heart of the mode and plays a melody in harmonic counterpoint to the changes but never sounds outside.

 

LJC says: I agree…who wouldn’t?

Vinyl: Columbia CL949  Six-Eye 1A 1B matrix, mono

As proud and happy owner of a dozen or more Columbia Six-Eyes, 32nd cutting, 19th cutting, 5th cutting ( if you are not up to speed on Columbia matrix codes, consult my Learn to Speak Columbian Guide) I’ve always wanted a first Columbia 1A 1B cutting, the one nearest the original tape. Not that I have ever found any difference between all these cuttings, or anything wrong with Six-Eyes (apart from the CBS overprint variety).

Totally unannounced, and unexpected, this record was described as the “original CL949”, but turned out to be more original than the seller knew. It carries an A1 B1 matrix. ( Poorly concealed delight. Whooooee !) Condition not as great as I would have liked, 1956 tracking weight 15 gram early radiogram arms were designed to slice vinyl and cruel to record surfaces, especially those at the thinner end of the vinyl weight range, but much of it holds up pretty well, and Columbia Six-Eye can do no sonic wrong in my book.

Collector’s Note: CL949 was also issued on Columbia CS 8649, PC 8649; Columbia/Legacy CJ 40610, CK 40610 entitled “‘Round About Midnight (fake stereo).

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Miles-davis-roundabout-back-cover-1800-LJC

Collector’s Corner

LJCthinks

LJC thinks:

Some records are simply essential, in my view, this is one of them.

Essential Listening Nominations

Miles Davis ‘Round About Midnight  is probably one recording I consider “essential” in any modern jazz collection. That is not to say there aren’t many other good records, even lots of other great records. But which are the “essential” ones?

Not necessarily what you are currently listening to, or your favourites, but most important landmark recordings. Five is an arbitrary number but it is harder to narrow down to a few than to shoe in many.

If you had to select just five modern jazz records from your collection – to make it easier let’s  say records to lend to a friend who is new to modern jazz, wants to listen to a little more. What would be on your list? For this exercise assume your friend will treat the records carefully, and will return them to you safe and sound at the end of the week. And they can’t carry more than five. They can be imaginary records, you don’t have to own them.  It’s a hypothetical exercise. You don’t actually have to have any friends either. You can pretend.

Play Jazz Bingo (an LJC first)

large%20bingo%20card[1]I’ve already made my list. The first person whose list is exactly the same as mine, wins.  In the event of a tie, the bonus ball is … 36. Kind of Blue – everyone’s going to include that

 

 

 

111 thoughts on “Miles Davis: ‘Round About Midnight (1956) Columbia “essential”

  1. Here’s twist. I just picked up a 6-eye copy of this. Matrix numbers on both sides are 1A. Is also very faint hand etching in the dead wax approximately opposite from the matrix numbers. Looks like WIAA on side 1 and AII on side two. Any thoughts?

    • Columbia had a pretty disciplined production system, multiple lacquers, stamped matrix codes, occasionally a plant identifier – Pitman NJ, Terre Haute IN or Santa Maria CA – I’ve seen stamped and hand-etched. I don’t think I have ever seen any other kind of etching on a Columbia . A challenge for you – take a picture?

    • Apparently (based on the Side 2 dash number in the images) you have a Hollywood pressing, made from a later stamper. In 1956 only two plants were pressing LP’s: Bridgeport and Hollywood; Terre Haute didn’t start until later in 1957 (till then, that plant only pressed 45’s, maybe some 78’s). Pitman didn’t start up until the end of 1960, and Santa Maria opened in stages in 1963-64. By the time Santa Maria got running, the 6-eye era was over.

      Though I’m speaking of Masterworks, I can see why some titles would have had dash numbers that went way up the gazoo although they weren’t megasellers on the order of Simon & Garfunkel post-“The Graduate” or Meat Loaf or Michael Jackson at the time of “Thriller.” Quality control for classical and Broadway cast and soundtrack – and, presumably, jazz – albums was way different from the pop stuff. On such records there wouldn’t have been as many mothers or stampers made from one metal part, and how much was pressed from one set of stampers (i.e. one per side) was considerably less. I noticed this when, doing research at Sony Music archives for another person’s project, I saw a lacquer cutting card for the stereo issue of the Broadway cast album of “Mr. President” that was first released in 1962; by late 1968 they had cut all of 36 lacquers for Side 1 alone (my copy – which, incidentally, has original 1962 2-eye labels with ‘NONBREAKABLE’ in the label copy and “360 Sound Stereo” without arrows in black – has the Side 1 dash number as -1CB [I knew it had to be cut in 1968 rather than in ’62 because on that copy they were using 8 pitch lead-in rather than 32 pitch – and the contours of the record were more 1968 as well], and I doubt that LP sold in the gazillions).

  2. The label fonts and deadwax both point the labels shown in this article to being a Hollywood pressing; the typesetting was by Bert-Co Press (a.k.a. Bert-Co Enterprises) of Los Angeles. Doesn’t have the same “oomph” as the typesetting from Columbia’s Bridgeport, CT plant.

  3. Actually, why not the 5 records that got me into Jazz:

    1. Duke Ellington, The Far East Suite (RCA)
    2. Herbie Hancock, Maiden Voyage (Blue Note)
    3. The Sonhy Clark Memorial Quartet, Voodoo (Zorn/Horvitz on Black Saint)
    4. Clifford Brown, Memorial Album (Blue Note)
    5. Charles Mingus, The Clown (Atlantic)

    They pretty much managed to get me hooked.

    • your Easter hare better informed than mine. Congrats.
      Still on Good Friday I found the Thad Jones quintet in the mail (no hare involved): the Debut Records session with Mingus and Frank Wess (25 cm) on French Swing. A real treat. What a terrific trumpeter. In hindsight Mingus was right when he considered Thad to be the discovery of the decade. Btw, the three Thad Jones albums on Blue Note are rarely listed as favourite albums. Still they are all superb.

      • Not to offend anyone, but I believe Thad Jones was not listed because, while a talented trumpet player and writer, was not the most creative and inventive improvisor. Unlike, Miles, Lee and the fabulous Clifford Brown, Thad seemed more at home as a session player, stepping up front on occasions as a soloist.

        I have a lot of Thad’s stuff, and don’t listen to it like I do Miles, Freddie, Lee and Kenny D.

        Others will have a different opinion I am sure.

      • The 45 RPM Debut DEP 43 was among the first jazz records I bought, and “Illusive” is still among my favourite tracks to return to. Flawless trumpet choruses and great writing by Thad, propulsive beat by Kenny Clarke.

      • “If Someone Had Told Me” on The Magnificent Thad Jones (1527) is just about the most perfect trumpet ballad I’ve heard. Just gorgeous.

        Rudolf – I picked up that Swing 10″ in a record shop here in the States a few months ago. It was not expensive, not sure they knew what they had. Debut stampers. What a delight!

        • great find Joe. The alternate cover is nice too, although I prefer the US cover, so I keep them both. Audio of the Swing album is better.

    • Coltrane and Byrd both swing on that release. Congrats! great acquisition – and an original mono copy at that.

      I have been looking to get more of Red’s stuff. . . .will have to add this one to my list.

      • thanks: this was one of those records that kept me awake at night. The complete series of Garland with Trane has 4 records, I had 3 originals and this one with the second cover and NJ address, bought in 1985. Almost 30 years without sleepin’. A question for Rudolf: I’ve many Debut, most of the 10″ series. Most have deep groove, but a couple don’t. One is Debut DLP-17, Thad Jones and the other is Jazz Workshop vol. 1, Debut DLP-5. Are they reissues?
        And last: I hope any of you had the opportunity to listen, live, to the great Thad Jones-Mel Lewis big band. I can’t forget a terrific monday night at The Village Vanguard, over 30 years ago.
        Very few of us are passionate on big bands and I’m not, but most of our heroes came outa there. Thad was a great player and arranger, he wrote one of my favorite standards, A Child Is Born and his featured in two nice records in small groups, not celebrated as BN but interesting.
        1) The Jones Boys, The Whole Town’s Talking About, Period SLP 1210
        2) The Jones Brothers, Keepin’ Up With The Joneses.

        • dottore: my DLP-5 is deep groove. I just sold my copy of DLP-17 and I am almost sure it was DG. To re-assure you: I kept a better sounding Swing pressing of same. I never came across a non-DG Debut album. Yours may be re-issues.
          I was at the Village Vanguard on a Monday night. Memorable.
          On Period I have a Thad Jones led session # 1208. I like # 1210 less since the record is based on the Jones family name. That is what ties them together, a rather weak basis. The Metrojazz features the three Jones Bros. and one intruder on bass. Of course Period # 1204 has one half by Sonny Rollins, the other half by the Thad Jones Ensemble. The Periods don’t have the excellent level as the two 25 cm on debut and the three Blue Notes.

  4. 5 albums that I love and would recommend to a friend are:

    Sonny Clark – Cool Struttin’
    Lee Morgan – Candy
    Art Pepper – Meets The Rhythm Section
    Sonny Rollins – Saxophone Colossus
    Kenny Dorham – Quiet Kenny

    … and if those aren’t satisfactory, I’ll throw in 5 more:

    Thad Jones – The Magnificent
    Chet Baker & Art Pepper – Playboys
    Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue
    John Coltrane – Giant Steps
    Red Rodney – 1957 (on Signal)

    … and if those aren’t pushing any buttons I would recommend Charlie Parker on Dial.

    • Kenny Dorham – Quiet Kenny is a great selection indeed, love this album, fits any mood. Strange stereo mix though…usually play it in mono.

        • I was referring to the RVG remaster on CD – but yes, the original vinyl may (all?) have been in mono. The few ones that I own are mono. However, on the evidence of the CD versions, many of the original master tapes must have been stereo. Beautiful stereo in some cases (such as Walt Dickerson’s “To My Queen”).

        • Yes, NJ was only mono but most (probably all) of the later vinyl pressings are in true stereo. Quite a radical stereo mix with instruments hard panned.

  5. It would seem then after about 30 contributions we would collectively suggest the following 5 albums;

    1) Kind of Blue (15 votes)

    2) Ah um (6 votes)

    3) Something Else (5 votes)

    4) AP Meets the Rhythm Section (5 votes)

    5) Blue Trane (5 votes)

    I only took into consideration our first 5 suggestions but I don’t think any other album got even 4 votes let alone 5. This is just the result of a quick look through so it would be good if someone else would check my arithmetic

    • Robert: thanks for your useful synthesis. This end result should make everybody happy, at least I am. I can find myself fully in this quintet.
      To all readers, according to The Guardian: today is Record Store Day 2014. Enjoy!

  6. OK time to declare my hand: my “just five essentials”

    A. Miles Davis Kind of Blue
    B. Charles Mingus Pithecanthropus Erectus
    C. Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section
    D. Thelonious Monk Brilliant Corners
    E. Grant Green Idle Moments

    Runner Up, Tie Breaker, Freddie Redd Music from the Connection.
    There being no exact matches, I declare myself the outright winner.

    Coming up next: Jazz Poker.
    I’ll see your two Hank Mobleys and raise you a Bill Evans Trio

    • Which “Connection”? There are three: the one on Blue Note, on Felsted (London) and on Charlie parker records.

      The task was to list five favourites. Many of you could not refrain from listing more. Drowned in the listing frenzy is my serious request, to people with high end audio Equipment, to give their appreciation of the Columbia sound versus Rudy van Gelder’s Prestige sound. Of course, for the same Miles Davis Quintet, in the same 1956 period. Anyone? Andrew???

      • Easy question first -which Music From The Connection? I own all three and my personal preference is absolutely the Tina Brooks Felsted version, over the Jackie McLean Blue Note second, over the Cecil Payne Charlie Parker third . The preference between Felsted and Blue Note is very fine one, and may depend on which day of the week it is, and which side I play.

        The second question Miles Columbia sound versus Miles RVG Prestige – gosh that is a difficult one. Gulp. Are we really talking about the difference between the sound of Hackensack vs Columbia 30th St Studio?

        I’m travelling right now, away from hifi, but what needs is head to head Between Prestige’s Four Horsemen of the Apostrophe Cookin’ Steamin’ Workin’ Relaxin’and say Milestones CL1193 . Any others to suggest?

        I have the necessary titles. Going from memory, which is a poor source, I’d favour the Columbia, but who knows. Current state of the hifi rig anything could happen. I’ll have to revisit the question

        • the fun is to compare one identical group (the Quintet). I.e. Columbia’s “Round about Midnight” CL 949 vs. PrLp 7014, 7094, 7129, 7166 and 7200. The Columbia recordings span the period between 27/X/1955 and 10/IX/1956 for three recording dates. Prestige has 16/XI/1955 for 7014 and two monster sessions on11/V/1956 and 26/X/1956 for the four horsemen.
          The sometimes faltering performances of 7014 may be more the result of a group still looking for a definite sound than deficiencies in recording. But the group had to grow with its technical recording director(s) as well and they are really getting loose on their final recording, most titles of which can be found on 7094 and 7129. The last ones to be recorded issued first. The only homogeneous album are 7014 and 7094, the others (Prestige and Columbia) are all drawn from various sessions, which makes the comparison even more difficult.
          Boukman’s finding of Esquires sounding better than the Prestiges is interesting and contradicts LJC’s claim that Esquires equal the original Prestiges in every respect (AB markings etc).

          • It really is remarkable how much lower in quality playing is 7014. Coltrane, in particular, is very shy and hesitant. Not often you read that sentence!

          • A couple of more recent acquisitions have made me less confident about the relative quality of Esquire against Prestige. There is no doubt Esquire are sourced from common metalwork, some AB (Abbey Manufacturing), some not, so they are not re-mastered from copy tape like almost every other overseas reissue. They should sound just as good, (it may be a little reckless to say “better”) The New Jazz recordings avoid the nuisance chance of hissy vinyl and I find Esquire generally with less wear.

            However I recently picked up the Oliver Nelson Main Stem on Esquire, for which I have the Prestige original. The etchings are identical (common metal) but sonically the Prestige outshines the Esquire by a fair margin. Worse, I pitted a Golson Esquire against a Japanese reissue, and our friends from Tokyo came up trumps. Not an outcome I expected at all.

            My current position on sound quality comparison is that “Esquire are as good as Prestige, if not better, except when they are not“. Sound right to you?
            As they say, all generalisations are dangerous, including this one.

        • Personally, I have had variability with the original yellow label Prestige records. They often have static even when fully cleaned. Infamous cheap and / or recycled vinyl perhaps. Whenever I buy Prestige I aim for a trident blue label reissue. The soundsseems fuller and cleaner and still has RVG etchings and is much cheaper.

          As to which is better between Miles Davis Prestige and Miles Davis Columbia, that’s a hard question. I don’t think Milestones is a very well recorded album so I suspect the Prestige would win out there. But if you compare them against Kind of Blue in mono or stereo (especially the latter) I think the KOB would come out on top. I imagine that partly has to do with upgrades to the studio and / or pressing plant around that time.

      • Hi Rudolf – I have what some might consider a high end system – SET amps and two TTs – one for mono only and the other for stereo.

        I like both sounds BTW. They both have their own special something to offer.

        On my system the Columbia recordings (especially the 6 eye releases) sound refined and rich sounding. RVG Prestige recordings sound intimate and personable. I seem to be able to hear that “in the living room thing” Rudy was so famous for.

        Hey, your name just occurred to me – could you be Rudy Van Gelder masquerading as Rudolf in this blog?

        • Cal: If Rudy were masquerading, he would choose another first name, or? I appreciate your comments on Col vs RvG. I always thought the Col sound to be less full, thinner. But again, I don’t have a high end phono system. And the sound I am most familiar with for Col. is Dutch Philips. Curious about Andrew’s experience.

      • Disclaimer – we listen on vintage equipment (Grundig tube console with modern retrofitted turntable) so it’s a warm, “tubey” sound.

        The Prestige sessions sound much warmer and intimate, the soundstage more enveloping. The Columbia sessions more “professional” and harder, with clearer instruments and a quieter background.

        I personally prefer the Prestige sound, but that is simply a personal preference, and not rooted in any legitimate sonic metrics. I leave it to Edward and Dean and others to tell me WHY I hear that difference.

        • thank you Joe. I’ll have to put a real Col. on my modest turntable For me, the standard is the October 26th session of 1956. But don’t ask me why. Columbia’s Budo and Ah-Leu-cha were recorded one year before.

        • The four horsemen sound better on the UK Esquire pressings than the US Prestige’s on my system (modern and vintage mono replay, modern Tube amps). The Columbia’s sound most refined and ‘expensive’. The Prestige’s are more fun and engaging

    • Nice list LJC –

      Your Mingus and Monk selection surprised me however.

      Back in the sixties when I first heard Mingus and Monk I was a young pup trumpet player in college, and they both scared me. Mingus for his arrangements and choice of instrumentation (penny whistles and the kazoo, really?), and Monk for his complicated rhythms and chord changes.

      Short story – – – I read somewhere a long time ago that one of the reasons Monk and Miles did not get along was because Monk accused Miles of not playing the chord changes in “Round About Midnight” during the recording of the album that inspired this nice blog.

      • I’m not surprised you are surprised, not everyone’s choices. Both the Monk and the Mingus choices were the recordings that brought me face to face with the “more demanding” side of modern jazz – the bitter as opposed to the sweet, the more complex and tangled, not that they are any way near the really difficult stuff, but at the time, they both left an indelible mark on my future listening directions. So I think of them as “landmark”

        • I certainly understand that. If you got [could connect to] Monk or Mingus the first time out, you indeed have my attention. Miles and Art were easy pickings for me and my crew back in the day. We would sit for hours and learn to play and try to master their solos on recordings like Kind of Blue. It was that lyrical thing Miles did.

          There is nothing lyrical about Monk or Mingus – Complicated – yes – Challenging – absolutely. Ordinarily – not for the faint of heart. Those two alone would turn more sensitive types away from jazz for all eternity. Kind of like being introduced to Ravel or Debussy by the Budapest String Quartet before listening to Beethoven or Mozart string quartets.

  7. Ok, since Bird discovered bebop, there are many types of modern jazz, so I’m not really sure about what “modern jazz” stands for. I mean, this music was made more than fifty years ago, and what happened fifty years before that? Buddy Bolden, King Oliver and Freddie Keppard were blowing, Jelly Roll Morton just left New Orleans, and even Louis Armstrong was a kid carrying coal in Storyville. I’ll do my list according to the specific type of modern jazz I’m into, which is… I’m not really sure, see my list and you tell me:

    • “The Sermon”.
    • “Jazz at Massey Hall”.
    • “Blue Train”.
    • “Clifford Brown & Max Roach”.
    • “Time Out” (I can’t see it in anyone’s comments, why?).

    And I love breaking the rules, so if you can take a few more, I would recommend:
    – Jimmy Smith: “Cool Blues”.
    – John Coltrane: “Traineing In”.
    – Dexter Gordon: “Our Man In Paris”.
    – Dizzy Gillespie / Sonny Stitt / Sonny Rollins: “Sonny Side Up”.
    – Paul Chambers:’ “Whims of Chambers”.
    – “Lester Young sits in with the Oscar Peterson Trio”.
    – Oscar Peterson: “We Get Requests”.
    – Oscar Peterson: any of the “Exclusively for my friends” trio sessions.
    – Oscar Peterson / Joe Pass / Niels Pedersen: “The Paris Concert”.
    – Bud Powell: “Bud Plays Bird”.
    – The Modern Jazz Quartet: “Fontessa”.
    – Miles Davis: “Dig”.
    – “Relaxin’ With The Miles Davis Quintet”.
    – Horace Silver: “Blowin’ The Blues Away”.
    – Charles Mingus: “Blues and Roots”.
    – Charles Mingus: “Oh Yeah!”.
    – Charles Mingus: “The Clown”.
    – “Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery”.
    – Herbie Hancock: “Takin’ Off”.
    – Ella Fitzgerald: “Live At Montreux 1969”.
    – Lou Donaldson: “Alligator Bogaloo”.
    – Art Farmer / Benny Golson: “Meet The Jazztet”.
    – Barney Kessel / Ray Brown / Shelly Manne: “The Poll Winners”.
    – The Jazz Messengers: “Moanin'”.
    – Grant Green: “Talkin’ About”.
    – Lee Morgan: “The Sidewinder”.
    – “Bill Evans at the Montreux Jazz Festival”.
    – Ray Brown: “Soular Energy”.
    – Ray Brown: “Bam Bam Bam”.
    – Any Norman Granz live recording, Jazz At The Philharmonic, or Montreux, or whatever.
    – Joey DeFrancesco: 1999 Bern Concert, never edited on a record I guess (there is a video of the concert hanging around the web). Not sure if it’s an essential yet, but sure it’s one of the greatest jazz Hammond organ live recordings ever. Every modern organ player MUST know this concert. Enjoy it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rul7LWnOP9A
    – And if you have some room for a DVD, “One Night With Blue Note”.

    Some are essentials beacuse they are classics, but I added some others that show perfectly the stylistic resources and dinamics of the kind of modern jazz I mostly play.

    You said just five?

  8. Being rather new to jazz myself, here are a few that got me interested at first and, after listening through a couple of times, got me hooked:

    Kind of Blue
    Miles Davis In Person at the Blackhawk, Vol I & II
    Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section
    Dizzy Reece – Star Bright
    Monk’s Dream

    • The Miles Davis in Person at the Blackhawk, Vol I & II collections are two of my all time favorites. I have mono, stereo vinyl (6 eye copies), and CD copies of each. You can get copies at reasonable prices on eBay and other sites. I did not include them in my list because collectors don’t usually seek them out like Kind of Blue.

      I really like listening to live recordings of most any artist, be they jazz, folk or rock, albeit, jazz is my first love.

      If you have a really transparent rig, Live at the Plugged Nickel on vinyl is also very interesting. You can sometimes get copies at decent prices on eBay.

  9. I have actually recommended these five as a good introduction. The Rollins may be an unexpected choice but I am also partial to the film so it works for me.

    Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
    Art Blakey & The Jazz Messangers – Mosaic
    John Coltrane – Blue Train
    Cannonball Adderley – Somethin’ Else
    Sonny Rollins – Alfie

    • I actually really like the Alfie sound track. One of those great records where you can find an original at a decent price.

      • Agreed. I inadvertently purchased a Columbia Record Club pressing on eBay, in great shape mind though. Finding an original will be a nice upgrade.

  10. I think mine would be below:

    Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
    John Coltrane – Blue Train
    Art Pepper – Meets the Rhythm Section
    Cannonball Adderley – Something Else
    Hank Mobley – Soul Station

    And I’m guessing that LJC’s may be below:

    Grant Green – Idle Moments
    Miles Davis – Round About Midnight
    Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
    John Coltrane – Blue Train
    Art Pepper – Meets the Rhythm Section

    Regardless, lots of things on these lists I have yet to hear which is most exciting! Thanks everyone!

  11. ok, let’s say it’s a girl, so i’ll kept the usual suspects for later (miles, trane, monk, evans, etc) and test a few other faves (no order)
    jimmy giuffre3
    carol sloane/hush-a-bye
    pete laroca/basra
    anthony ortega/new dance
    chet baker /riverside (the one with the oh so very nice blond girl/chet cover)

    • Well if it’s for a girl then Saxophone Colossus should be in there on the grounds that my girlfriend likes Strode Rode. I don’t think she knows that she likes it, but when she’s chilling on her ipad and I’m blasting that track out, her foot moves. Then later I’ll catch her humming it. So yeah; Girls like Saxophone Colossus*

      *based on actual scientific study.

      • Hey Paul, I like that study – my wife does the same thing. How can we pick 5 modern jazz cuts novices will love, if the novices don’t know what they like? I think before we make any more wild guesses, we should apply Paul’s scientific study and play what we believe will captivate our unsuspecting jazz novices friends, or significant others, and then watch their feet while they are reading, doing house work, or whatever.

        As proof, I am, at this moment, listening to Kenny Dorham’s Whistle Stop, Buffalo, and I just noticed my left foot is taping so hard I may break something if I don’t stop soon. How can a song named “Buffalo” be so groovy?

        • Well, how can something that’s called “Blues March” be so groovy? I think it’s a similar kind of groove, and it works.

  12. Kind of Blue – Miles Davis
    My Favorite Things – John Coltrane
    On Green Dolphin Street – Bill Evans
    Somethin’ Else – Cannonball Adderley
    Saxophone Colossus – Sonny Rollins

  13. Ok guys I’m going to spill the beans. The choices of our beloved boss man were clearly revealed to me in a dream last night and some of you are going to be very surprised at the depth of his knowledge and the quality of the music he has chosen! I can confidently predict the following;

    1) Steve Kuhn/Gary McFarland ‘The October Suite’ (Can’t argue with that)

    2) Eddie Costa ‘The House of Blue Lights (Dottor Jazz will be smiling)

    3) Stanley Cowell ‘Blues for the Viet Cong’ (Marvellous album, recorded in London)

    4) Herbie Mann ‘Memphis Underground’ (Well, ok, it’s certainly one of his better albums)

    and finally….wait for it…..the ‘piece de resistance’…..

    5) Frank Sinatra ‘In the Wee Small Hours’ (Oh yes…this is the one with plenty of Nelson Riddle slush BUT ALSO the superb piano of Bill Miller..wish I’d thought of that one)

    So there you have it…whoever would have thought it possible!

    • Yes Robert, I’ ve smiled but: when this album arrived from EBay the record was broken! Anyway it was listeneable, but as I usually listen to some records often, I’m searching for the perfect one: anyone wanting to sell me a perfect copy? Dot DLP 3206 is a masterpiece, if someone doesn’t know it, keep searching, it will be a real discovery.

      • I know of a Canadian seller who has an original DOT pressing for sale – vinyl NM – but he is wanting $400 plus shipping. My copy came from Japan and is a Japanese pressing and I am delighted with it. The same seller has a couple of NM copies listed at the moment which have a ‘buy now’ price of $39 only including postage. I should have thought that was a no brainer!

  14. We haven’t got anyone shouting “House!” quite yet but some are awful close. I’m just biding my time, give everyone a go before I declare my hand. I feel your pain, it is difficult, it’s meant to be.

  15. I don’t have any friends who I would trust with my precious children without adult supervision. However, if I had to recommend five modern jazz records to a novice, the list would include: drumroll please….

    1. Sidewinder
    2. A Love Supreme
    3. Kind of Blue
    4. Go
    5. Soul Station

    All accessible sessions and not challenging to the uninitiated I think.

    Is it time to compare notes yet?

    • Way Out West, Rollins
      Arranged by Montrose (P.J. 1214)
      Niehaus, the Sextet (CR)
      Mingus Dynasty
      Relaxin’ with M.D. (Prestige)

      Moments of sheer torture, any short list is bound to be the wrong one. I start again. Now for the correct one:

      Kind of Blue
      Worktime Rollins/Prestige
      Herbie Nichols BLP 1519
      Chet Baker Paris qrt with Dick Twardzik on Barclay
      Trane live at the V.V./Impulse

      Blue Train: remarkeably absent!

  16. 1.) Miles Davis “Kind of Blue”
    It is the one I started with, and the music I have discovered since has been very good to me.
    2.) Thelonious Monk “Monk’s Music”
    The world-class composer at his best, with two generations of tenor greatness.
    3.) Charles Mingus “Mingus Ah Um”
    More world-class composing, the musical “chemistry” within this band could define the term,
    rocks harder than any “fusion” and as such is a great introduction for the rock or pop fan.
    4.) Sonny Rollins “Freedom Suite”
    My favorite by this giant, and an accessible introduction to some avant garde principles
    (piano-free ensembles, extended compositions).
    5.) John Coltrane “Live at The Village Vanguard”
    Coltrane at his peak, IMO. Anything from these dates (such as “Impressions” and the boxes)
    is also essential.

  17. My list for loaning to a friend expressing an interest in modern jazz is as follows:-
    Blue Train
    Mingus Ah Um
    Home Cookin’ (The Incredible Jimmy Smith). There had to be some Hammond from me.
    Some Day My Prince Will Come (as an alternative to Kind Of Blue)
    The State of The Tenor Vol 1 (Joe Henderson)

    My guess is that LJC’s list is:
    Around About Midnight (as given)
    Idle Moments
    Saxophone Colossus
    Six Pieces of Silver
    and possibly A Love Supreme (without checking out what, if anything, LJC has said about this- I’ll check after I post this).

    When I was 16, one of my teachers loaned me 6 Charlie Parker LPs and Bitches Brew. I didn’t really catch on to jazz through these. Perhaps if he’d loaned me a classic Blue Note I may have had an easier and quicker route in.

  18. To introduce someone new to Jazz my picks would be
    1.Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue
    2.Kenny Burrell – Midnight Blue
    3.Bill Evans – Sunday At The Village Vanguard
    4. Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um
    5. Art Pepper – Meets The Rhythm Section

    Nothing to scary but a nice round up of the various forms of 50/60’s jazz to stimulate further investigations.

  19. Taking a broader veiw of modern Jazz and formats my list might include these
    A. At The Golden Circle Vol1 or 2 – Ornette Coleman
    B. Uberjam – John Scofield
    C. Extrapolation – John Mclaughlin
    D. Double Dixie – Harry James
    E. Candy – Lee Morgan

    There are at least 100 hundred albums in my top 5 so its an imposible question

    Jack For Short

    • Just picked up the Polydor first pressing rather than the Marmalade original pressing of Extrapolation – beats my CD version hands down – a wonderful record. Nice list – Candy is perfect Morgan.

  20. john coltrane – “a love supreme”
    charles mingus – “the black saint and the sinner lady”
    kenny burrell – “introducing kenny burrell”
    john handy – “live at the monterey jazz festival”
    don cherry – “symphony for improvisers”

    call me a beatnik if you must. i hep that drab ge-babber.

  21. It would be interesting if the audio specialists in this forum give their opinion on the relative merits of this Columbia recording of The Quintet vs Rudy van Gelder’s (Cookin’, Relaxin’, Working’ and Steamin’).

  22. Whoa! I am loving these lists coming in! So interesting, keep them coming, so many deserving choices. There are a couple of close entries, but no outright winner so far in tonight’s Jazz Bingo, but the comments remain open. There is nothing to stop you voting twice – like Andy C – cheating with an alternative five “most challenging”. If no-one matches my five by tomorrow, it’s a rollover, the prize, nothing, err… doubles.

  23. This is Our Music – Ornette
    Mingus Ah-um
    A Night at Village Vanguard – Rollins
    Spiritual Unity – Ayler
    Kind of Blue (Obviously)
    No room for Bill Evans,Monk,Eddie Calvert unfortunately

  24. I’m going to cheat

    Easy-ish:
    Coltrane Giant Steps
    Art Blakey and Thelonious Monk
    Sarah Vaughan and Clifford Brown
    Sonny Rollins Vol 1
    ‘Round about Midnight Miles Davis (just taking my RSD pressing for a spin – quite nice despite digital interference – and that confirmed I agree)

    More challenging:
    Change of the Century Ornette Coleman
    Point of Departure Hill
    The Magic City Sun Ra
    Airtime Air
    Homage to Charles Parker George Lewis

    • Airtime — an interesting choice, Andy. Air were new to me but recently I found Air Song and Air Raid, and the later 80 Degrees Below and Air Mail, and have been exploring them quite a bit.

      • Yep – I also have Air Mail (as well as Airtime on Nessa) which is very lovely on a thick Black Saint pressing and am still looking for the others. An incredible band – Steve McCall is simply one of the greatest jazz drummers of all up there with Philly Joe Jones, Art Blakey and Shelley Manne for me. Fred Hopkins’ bass is a wonder and Henry Threadgill’s all-round reed playing is exceptional. His flute on Air Mail’s first track is sensational.

    • “Homage to Charles Parker” is a relatively recent discovery, and now one of my favorites as well.

  25. Ornette Coleman – Free Jazz
    Peter Broztmann – Machine Gun
    Don Cherry – Symphony For Improvisers
    Cecil Taylor – Unit Structures
    John Coltrane – Ascension

    This would be the pile of records I would give to my “friend” to sample… to scare him the hell away from jazz. The fact that he has a turntable means if he got the jazz bug he’d be competing with me for original pressings!

    Now if he were evil silver disc only, my list of essential jazz recordings:

    John Coltrane – Giant Steps
    Miles Davis – Miles Smiles
    Herbie Hancock – Maiden Voyage
    Sonny Rollins – Way Out West
    Eric Dolphy – Outward Bound

  26. In no special order here’s my take:

    Take Five
    Open Sesame
    Song for my Father
    The Sidewinder
    Mingus Ah Um

  27. A lovely record. BYE BYE BLACKBIRD and DEAR OLD STOCKHOLM never lose their lustre.

    OK, a list of five essential listening records:

    1. Kind of Blue/Miles Davis: because it would be pure contrariness to leave it off.
    2. Blues and the Abstract Truth/Oliver Nelson

    3. Four for Trane/Archie Shepp

    4. Out of the Cool/Gil Evans: to show that ‘big band’ jazz isn’t what you think it is

    5. Fuchsia Swing Song/Sam Rivers: to show that ‘Blue Note jazz’ isn’t always what you think it might be

    I can’t help but feel that anyone presented with just these five records would want to hear more. And if they didn’t, they could always be quietly eliminated…

    • If Andy C is going to cheat then so am I. I’d like to include a sort of semi-free choice sixth record from amongst the following. An Anthony Braxton from the mid-80s quartet with Marilyn Crispell; or an Andrew Hill from either his later Blue Note period or from his work on European labels; or a late Tomasz Stanko; or a Favid Murray from the 80s or 90s; or Bley/Phillips/Parker’s St Gerold… Simply to illustrate that there is a jazz life beyond the 50s/60s…

  28. Nothing to crazy here, but it’s what I really enjoy:
    Sonny Rollins – Way out West
    Charles Mingus – Roots and Blues
    Art Blakey – Moanin’ –
    Eric Dolphy – Out to Lunch
    Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

  29. A. Evidence, Don Cherry and Steve Lacy, New Jazz. Awesome swinging record on New Jazz. Cherry and Lacy hit it off like Ornette and Cherry
    B. Nefertiti, Cecil Taylor, Debut/Fontana. Probably the most interesting, but still digestible Taylor. I was debating between ‘Looking Ahead’ and this one, but the sheer energy of this session is awesome
    C. Little Girl Blue, Nina Simone, Bethlehem. Just one of the most beautiful records ever made, full stop. She was an incredible singer and piano player. The Bethlehem record is sonically excellent
    D. Oh Yeah, Charles Mingus, Atlantic. Charles Mingus lets it rip. A roaring fun record
    E. Left Alone, Mal Waldron, Bethlehem. Mal, who is one of the great jazz pianists in my book, put out this album as a tribute to Billie Holiday, with whom he played. Incredibly touchingly beautiful. Plus some great Alto work by Jackie MClean

    Hard to make these choices. Funnily enough not a single Blue Note. If you ask me next week, the selection looks different again.

    • A strong and individual list – perhaps I should have included ‘Looking Ahead’. Really interested in the Nina Simone record and have already ordered a Bethlehem reissue. More years ago than I care to remember I had a couple of 7″ EPs that contained several of the tracks on this LP. Also, I have ordered the Mal Waldron – but again please don’t tell ‘the committee’ – I have gone for a ‘7 classic albums’ job on evil silver discs for less than half a crown.

        • I’m sure you’re correct but the least expensive Japanese version (used) I could find would have been £23.99 and I just baulked at that. By contrast I am paying £13.52 for a new Bethlehem reissue of ‘Little Girl Blue’ and that seems to me to be good value.

  30. OK here we go but I am not quite sure when modern jazz ended!
    A. Full House – Wes Montgomery
    B. Milestones – Miles Davis
    C. Oh Yeah – Chares Mingus
    D. Jack Johnson – Miles Davis
    E. Undermilk Wood – Stan Tracey

    Oh dear I dont appear to have any Blue Notes on my list, trouble is my favourite ones are all by Ornette, so not moder jazz unfortunately.

    Regards Jack For Short

  31. Bill Evans-Jim Hall Undercurrent, United Artists UAJ 14003
    Miles Davis: ‘Round About Midnight, Columbia CL 949
    Art Pepper: Meets The Rhythm Section, Contemporary C 3532
    Warne Marsh: Jazz Of Two Cities, Imperial LP 9027
    John Coltrane/Archie Shepp: New Thing At Newport, Impulse A 94
    All of them are listenable with my equipment only: for no reason they’re leaving their home.

  32. Nobody will agree with me but, hey ho, let’s get it over. In no particular order;

    1) Bill Evans ‘Portrait in Jazz’ – simply the greatest piano trio recorded of all time. Superior even to the Village Vanguard album.

    2) Cannonball Adderley ‘Something Else’ – maybe a more traditional album than ‘KOB’ but a far more satisfying result. (Sorry, because I just know everyone else will nominate ‘KOB’ – I find I start to get bored after the 2nd track)

    3) Oliver Nelson ‘Blues and the Abstract Truth’ – every arrangement and every solo is just right on this album. Maybe a complete coincidence, but the whole thing gels to perfection. A sheer delight.

    4) Miles Davis ‘Miles Ahead’ – Miles Davis was at his very best with a Gil Evans big band behind him, so ‘Sketches of Spain’ or ‘Porgy and Bess’ would do equally well.

    5) Art Blakey ‘Paris Jam Session’ sometimes known as ‘Jazz in Paris’ – because it contains the most perfectly structured bebop piano solo ever recorded by the all time master of bebop piano, Bud Powell. The track I refer to is ‘Bouncing wit Bud’. A lesson in bebop playing for every jazz pianist since.

    Well, I hope these choices will not be considered too sacrilegious by the LJC Membership Committee, and I shall look forward to seeing everyone else’s choices. My guess would be that a fair number of Blue Note Quintet recordings will be featuring.

      • Eduard – if your selection does not entirely consist of 2 or 3 horns plus rhythm section recordings then I am sure it will be very interesting and well worth posting!

        • Knowing that Ellington is not really welcome here unless in the company of Charles Mingus, I must restrict myself to some records that might be squeezed in stylistically without annoying the “hard bop till you drop” community:

          1 Gil Evans – New Bottle Old Wine
          2 Clifford Brown & Max Roach – 1954/1955 sessions
          3 Lennie Niehaus – Vol.1 The Quintet
          4 Stan Kenton – New Concepts Of Artistry In Rhythm
          5 Dizzy Gillespie & Lalo Schifrin: Gillespiana

          • Quote ‘I must restrict myself to some records that might be squeezed in stylistically without annoying the “hard bop till you drop” community’

            I’m trying not to laugh too much! By the way, I am ‘Anonymous’ who suggested you post your list – not sure why it didn’t show my name.

            Very much like the Gil Evans choice. Somebody else has chosen ‘Into the Cool’ and I chose ‘Miles Ahead’ so Gil is well represented. Don’t presently own a ‘Gillespiana’ so I must put that right soon.

            • Hi Robert,
              If you mean “Out Of The Cool” – I really like this one. If it’s “Into The Hot”, well, that’s not bad either, being a mixture of Gil Evans and Cecil Taylor tracks. But I wouldn’t recommend it as one of my favourites. I am fond of “New Bottle” because it features both Cannonball and Art Blakey, people you wouldn’t expect to go with Gil’s ultra-cool orchestral sound, but they do.

          • i don’t speak for everyone, but all jazz is welcome everywhere for me, regardless of what i personally prefer.

    • I’m awaiting a mint Miles Ahead (sailboat) 1d/1h 6 eye mono at the moment. 6 eye Columbia can’t do anything wrong in my book either. Let’s hope there’s no groove damage.

  33. Up at “Minton’s” – Stanley Turrentine (both volumes!)
    Monk’s Dream – Thelonious Monk
    The Bridge – Sonny Rollins
    Undercurrent – Bill Evans / Jim Hall
    Smokin’ at the Half Note – Wynton Kelly

  34. In no particular order:

    1. Blue Train
    2. Somethin’ Else
    3. Kind of Blue
    4. Mingus Ah Um
    5. Saxophone Colossus

    The obvious ones, but they came to mind first as the core of it all.

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