Selection 1: Dear Ann
Encore! Too good a line up to let go! Encore!
Selection 2: We Six
Artists: Paul Chambers Sextet
Donald Byrd (trumpet) John Coltrane (tenor saxophone) Horace Silver (piano) Kenny Burrell (guitar) Paul Chambers (bass) Philly Joe Jones (drums) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, September 21, 1956
Peerless line up of Coltrane, Byrd, unusually – Burrell, and of course Horace Silver. What more could you want for. Coltrane is slightly hesitant, still not yet on fire, still waiting to catch the Blue Train, and the surprise presence is Burrell in a more complex sextet format. Byrd offers a beautiful melancholy burnished tone, dancing faultlessly around the melody of the pretty ballad “Dear Ann”.
Aged just 21 for his first session here as leader for Blue Note, Mr P.C. must have recorded more than any other bassist in modern jazz, the bassist of choice for monumental albums like Monk’s Brilliant Corners and Coltrane’s Giant Steps. His career cut short in 1969 at the age of only 34. That’s too young for anyone. His biographical notes say his dad wanted him to be a sportsman. Good job he took no notice.
Chambers is rock-solid rhythmically, pioneering arco and pizicatto to show bass was potentially more than mere accompaniment, and showed its melodic potential .I am reminded of the saying attributed to Mingus: “We all know where the beat is, there’s no need to actually play it” Contrast that with some modern music.
Vinyl: BN 1534
More label mixing, this time left over 767 Lexington with W63rd on Side 2 but crucially the New York 23 variation , found only around 1957. The RVG initials are hand-etched, its the full Blue Note Meal Deal.
Lovely split-tone cover picture of Chambers – that little trolley wheel under the double bass carry-case is so sweet, a reminder of the physical transportation challenge of moving a double bass around the city. The location is not identified but it looks like it ought to be in the vicinity of Hackensack, New Jersey,van Gelder’s home studio.
Writing on cover alert: “To John. Happy New Year”. Now why don’t I get new year’s presents like this?
Whim of Chambers tracks were also released under the United Artists ’70s Blue Note two-fer, BN-LA451-H2 Paul Chambers/John Coltrane – High Step but without that original cover, which is an essential part of the experience.
Another early acquisition around five years ago, at a sensible price. Fortunate, I guess, as I have never seen any since in London’s shops. A recent Lexington of Thad Jones Detroit New York last week from a Scottish seller on Ebay shot to over £350, count me out.
I have more on the shelves that deserves listening to, than chasing todays auction prices.