BLP 4135: The Blue Note that never was (1962)

FREDDIE HUBBARD: HERE TO STAY (1962)  original artwork

Freddie-Hubbard-Here-to-Stay-cover-1800-LJC-1

Selection: Assunta (DMM) – Pathe Marconi Fr. 1986

Artists
Freddie Hubbard (trumpet) Wayne Shorter (tenor saxophone) Cedar Walton (piano) Reggie Workman (bass) Philly Joe Jones (drums) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, December 27, 1962

Music

19621962, dream brass team Hubbard and Shorter on top of their game, strong rhythm section, great collection of tunes, that just right modal feel, fine van Gelder recording, no, I don’t think we’ll bother.

Blue Note pulled BLP 4135, it was never issued by Blue Note. Never to see the light of day until 1976, then not reunited with its intended artwork until 1986.

The track most often cited in regard to this album, the cleverly-titled “Philly Mignon”, I found pretty plain fare. There are a couple of other, minor-themed compositions which I think offer  Hubbard and Shorter more freedom  to go where the mood takes them. Assunta has Shorter laying down an almost off-key repetitive backing riff, Cedar Walton does a Hancock in percussive alternating chord vamps, with Hubbard’s burnished tone probes the contrasting opportunities. This is great music from the simmering crossroads of bop and modal. Here’s another taste of that 1962 mood, the excellent and obscurely titled “Nostrand and Fulton” – Nostrand Avenue and Fulton Street Brooklyn intersection.

Vinyl: Pathe Marconi BST 84135 Direct Metal Mastered

Normally I would rather a poke in the eye with red-hot needles than buy a DMM, but the strange history of this “missing title” intrigued me sufficiently to go for it (single digit price, negligible market awareness). It was the liner notes however that alerted me to the presence of the same recording, on  a Freddie Hubbard two-fer in the Cuscuna-inspired and mis-named Blue Note Reissue Series – the reissue series that includes much music not previously issued.

The DMM was as I feared, a bit fierce, but without a comparator one can’t be too hard on it. Except there is a comparator. The earlier United Artists two-fer.  No problem I thought, wrongly. Sourcing the Hubbard two-fer was surprisingly difficult. Very few copies on offer, short supply. Somebody knows.

Freddie-Hubbard-Here-to-Stay-labels-1800-LJC

Freddie-Hubbard-Here-to-Stay-rearcover-1800-LJCCollectors Corner

You wait fifteen years for a Blue Note, then two come a long, one after another. Actually, the United Artists two-fer came first, somewhere around 1976, the first release of BLP 1135 Freddie Hubbard “Hear to Stay” (paired with a re-release of another fine Hubbard title, Hub Cap, followed ten years later by the DMM Capitol/ Pathe Marconi release  with the original artwork intended. The two-fer gives you a feisty pressing by UA from fresh van Gelder  tapes, and it is not DMM. Why didn’t I know all this?

Hubbard-twofer-front-1800-LJC

Selection: Assunta (United Artists ) non-DMM late 70’s just for comparison

This is a nice pressing of great music. Like most of the undervalued two-fers, a book judged wrongly by many collectors and dealers alike, by its cover, brown wrapper monochrome artwork, mis-description (“Reissue Series”). You will hear more about these issues in future posts.

Hubbard-twofergatefoldt-1800-LJC

Hubbard-twofer-baack-1800-LJC

It may not be pretty, but more important, it sounds great. However people have different values.

I would just love to have seen that original artwork on a thick card laminated cover, Plastylite pressing on NY labels. What a missed opportunity. Makes you appreciate all the more the things they did get right.

 

 

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29 thoughts on “BLP 4135: The Blue Note that never was (1962)

  1. The RVG reissue of this album on the Evil Silver Disc features an interesting new look written by Bob Blumenthal. I have upped a scan of his notes to share with all of you, you can read/download it from my Google drive by clicking here. 😉

    (PS: apologies for the quality, but it was a quick scan that I made, believe it or not, with my iPhone; the app is called TurboScan…)

  2. Funny there’s all the stigmatism with the packaging and marketing – as this particular two-fer is one I’m always on the lookout for when snooping the shops. Two reasons make it obvious for me: 1) It’s exceedingly likely that I’ll never find an original “Hub Cap” I can afford, and 2) the otherwise unreleased (or so I thought!) session with all the positive traits you’ve already mentioned.
    Aside from that, I actually think that the liner notes ‘in retrospect’ can be enlightening, and the sound quality I’ve found on the Reissue Series has so far been more than satisfactory. The first one I ever came across was from McCoy Tyner, for $7 US. Surely one of the finest releases in the whole series.

  3. i am one of the over-lookers. these packages just look and feel very unattractive. i have no desire to even listen to one. but you are wearing me down.

    • I understand what you are saying, I felt exactly the same way at first: but confirmation bias is a bitch, crappy packaging does not mean crappy product within. I loathe the packaging, but trust me, give the vinyl a spin in the platter, with fresh ears. You are listening to van Gelder recording tape from the Blue Note vaults, still pretty fresh. A staff UA grunt simply reproduced what was there, the rest is just a marketing clusterfcuk.

      I have the same argument with acquaintances about Lidl supermarket. ” It’s cheap, it must be rubbish”. No it’s fantastic quality food, you are running the price = quality app from Waitrose. They have a dog in the fight.

      There are some iff-y ones among the two-fers, like anything. I recently picked up a Blue Note original 47W63rd that was quite “dead”

      I’ll start a guide shortly.

      • yeah, put a laminated cover on it and give it some color, and i’d be into it. so would everyone else, though, i imagine.

        • one of my few exceptions to owe an original is a number in this series, Sonny Rollins at the Village Vanguard. I preferred two old 1983 King issues, vol.2 green, Vol.3 blue, same photo cover as the original purple Blue Note, beautifully laminated.

  4. I am a huge Freddie Hubbard fan. Got to see and talk to him each time he visited Washington D.C., which was often. He was a really approachable guy and easy to talk to. I was so sad when he lost his chops and grieved at his passing.

    I have this two-fer and the DMM versions of both LPs. My least favorites on both LPs were the first cuts of each. “Philly Mignon” on Here to Stay, and “You’re My Everything” on Hub-Tones. Even with this there was not much he did I didn’t like, except for his late “Live at Fat Tuesday” release,where I thought it was apparent to most his sound had suffered. The news was he had blown his chops at a gig and didn’t take enough time to rest before he was back performing.

    Freddie was so unafraid, bold and brash in the face of giants like Miles, Lee Morgan and Clifford. A strong mind and will individual and the reason he probably survived the tough streets of New York in the early years.

  5. LJC, You are a week late in posting this. I had a copy of the UA two-fer on my shelf for years until a recent spring-clean of the collection took a load of LP’s to the local shop for trade in. I went back today to see if it was still there, but the owner recalled selling it to “an excited customer”.

  6. Two-fer sounds nice through my headphones. I never realised this a later issue – it’s a great record. I’ve found, to my cost, that you need to read the cover print on these reissues – I bought a UK pressed edition of the Konitz and Mulligan two-fer and it’s truly dreadful, I have some of the same material on a Vogue pressing and the difference is massive.
    But today I picked up a Dexter Gordon UA reissue with the white note on blue background. It’s a true reissue – a sort best of compilation. So I was able to compare tracks from a King pressing of Doin Alright with the two-fer. It’s close, but the Two-fer definitely has more punch and presence. And for £8 I’ve got a crap cover but great sounding music.

    • I agree about the Konitz – Mulligan, (BN-LA-532-H2) it’s not a good listen.

      The key to these two-fers seems to be the source recording. Everything Cuscuna and Lourrie pulled from the Blue Note vaults that’s an RVG recording has sounded great. It’s where they pull from other sources things go down hill

      The other two-fer I dislike is the Chick Corea, for whole host of reasons.

      The best I have heard is the Horace Parlan/ Booker Ervin, which has such a raw exciting presentation I felt I should have called the cops and confessed I didn’t pay enough for it.

      I think I should compile a list and have a poll of wider opinions. The two-fers are too good a source for collectors to miss.

      • A what-to-buy-and-what-not-to-buy guide to the Blue Note two-fers is a good idea — a sort of ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid’ for jazz enthusiasts.

        Im use say I have found huge variation in them and have ended up disposing of more than I have kept. The Andrew Hill, the Horace Silver Trio recordings, the Herbie Nichols, the Cecil Taylor — all of them marred either by poor sound or pressing problems, or both.

        I suspect that of these two problems, poor pressings (especially off centre spindle holes and warping) are the worst. Let’s face it — some of these vAluable issues of otherwise hard to find music were not exemplary recordings in the first place. (Hell’s bells, in the case of the cecil Taylor I just replaced both halves of it — Jazz Advance and Love for Sale: both fantastic records– with CDs, and they aren’t a vast lot better….

          • BTW Alun – I am enjoying the Giuffre Fusion record. Took a few plays to clean out the dust and quieten down. It’s another world which you don’t always feel like entering but it’s always there for the right moment. It’s earned a place in my rotation.

            • That’s great news, Andy — I’m pleased you have taken to it. You’re right, of course, that the world of Giuffre/Bley/Swallow isn’t where you always want to be. It’s an austere place, after all, not at all forbidding or ‘challenging’, but even so best kept for special times. Maybe you’ll strike lucky and find THESIS?

  7. I have the Music Matters release, a killer album. If it was anyone else, I would suggest you try and track one down, but alas, knowing you LJC, I would not bother. 🙂

    • Please bother, Tim. I have nothing in principle against any label or source, and I have eaten humble pie so many times its a regular on the menu.

      I have bought two Music Matters and found them both lacking against the originals I eventually acquired. The grit in the oyster for me was hyperbole that accompanied the MM sonic offering, plain contradicts my experience. Its an opinion based on experience, but your mileage may vary.

      There may be other MM’s that for a variety of reasons excel, and there may be good reason why this is one of them. I would encourage you to stick to your guns.

      • Fair enough LJC! I love the MM releases, and absolutely understand your issue with hyperbole. I’m not one in the position to compare MM releases with many originals, and am extremely happy with the quality of both the packaging and sound. My apologies if I came across with an attitude, I just love your blog and recognize your previous experiences with Music Matters that you have posted.

        It truly seems to me that at the end of the day, Music Matters releases absolutely sound different than RVG masterings. My opinion is that I totally understand folks preferring RVG’s style of mastering. I don’t see myself being in the position to acquire too many genuine Plastylite RVG’s, and as a consequence also don’t see myself becoming too accustomed or attached to RVG’s original masterings. Although I must say because of you I have picked up a few Liberty pressings, the latest being Duke Pearson’s Sweet Honey Bee for the very reasonable price of US $12 and I love the sound. I will not hesitate to buy further Liberty’s given the opportunity. I also really enjoy the Japan King pressings I have. I have not however taken advantage of these UA two-fers, despite seeing them around regularly. I will have to remedy that in the future and see what I think. Thanks for keeping my mind open!

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