Selection 1: Moontrane (Shaw) 320 kbps MP3
Selection 2: Softly as Morning Sunrise (Romberg, Hammerstein II) 320 kbps MP3
Woody Shaw (trumpet) Joe Henderson (tenor saxophone) Larry Young (organ) Elvin Jones (drums) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, November 10, 1965
The Hammond B3 organ is a mainstay in the soul jazz genre: some love it, but if you are allergic to Jimmy Smith’s domination of the instrument, Larry Young shows it in a different light, you have to un-hear Jimmy Smith. The distinctive musical pulse of the B3, yes, foot-pedals in place of bass, yes, but the organ here is a team player on what is equally a Joe Henderson album or an Elvin Jones album. Shaw and Henderson stand in their own right, a feisty brass section (possibly funded by the saving on a bass player), and Jones sizzles. Once you get your ear in gear, integrate the Hammond B3 as just another instrumental voice, it all flows.
Joe Henderson is on top of his game, whether outlining the tune, squawking or blasting. Woody Shaw is a great trumpet voice I hadn’t appreciated as much as I should have. There is not a bad track here, impossible to choose which. They breathe new life into standards like Softly as Morning Sunrise, an exciting tear it up performance, and hearing Monk played on a B3 is positively audacious. The Shaw tune accolade to Coltrane – Moontrane – is one I come back to for its strong composition.
Vinyl: Blue Note BLP 4221 NY labels, VAN GELDER and ear, mono, OG
The catalogue number BLP 4221 is right up against the cut-off point for Blue Note’s sale to Liberty Records in 1966 of 4250, and it was something of a surprise to find Plastylite’s ear present – twenty or so lower numbers are found with NY labels and no ear. Unity must have been one of the last true Plastylite pressings.
Unity is an album I had only on Evil Silver Disc – and rarely listened to. The opportunity to own it on vinyl was not something I encountered often, as it is sought after by a variety of jazz-genre collectors, soul-jazz fans, DJs, East End postcode hipsters with beards and flat caps, not to mention blogging pensioners. That tends to push the price up. The decision to bid high was based on a calculation of provenance, and paid dividends. A trifle expensive, but not overly so, considering it reconnected me with music I should have been listening to, but was not.
An example of new techniques to capture “the vinyl cover artefact”, including the “3-D” drop-shadow line of the cover against a paper-white background, which matches web-page monitor white. Viewed at full screen or lower, it should recreate the experience of seeing the real thing. There is of course nothing “natural” about the process, which is a trifle more labour-intensive. The DxO RAW-conversion software I have adopted also helps to reproduce readable on-screen text of the liner notes thanks to some sharpness controls in RAW format.
We should now have a super-natural view of the crucial detail in the run-out, the label and now the cover. Still a few problems managing reflective glare from black in glossy covers, but I hope improving the on-line experience – (though “smart phones” and ipads seem limited in their ability to reproduce heavy WordPress content and screen layout)