Liberty Stereo Cover, but wait – Always Read The Label!
Selection: Let’s Face the Music and Dance (Irving Berlin)
“There may be trouble ahead
But while there’s moonlight and music
And love and romance
Let’s face the music and dance”
Jackie McLean (alto saxophone) Walter Bishop Jr. (piano) Jimmy Garrison (bass) Art Taylor (drums) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, October 20, 1959
McLean brings his sharp alto tone to bear on popular tunes of the day, you know all the words, There may be trouble ahead... Great song, great tune, sentiments you can all relate to, and all the better for McLean’s “no words required” approach. The other tracks follow the same theme, like I’ll Take Romance.
Recorded for Blue Note at the end of 1959, an influential year for McLean, arguably the apex of Mclean’s bop trajectory. In that year he recorded with Mingus (Blues and Roots, Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting), and shortly after, took a part in the New York junkie house-band on stage in Freddie Redd’s music from The Connection, before moving progressively further and further out in the course of the early ’60s. But always recognisably, that acid sharp tone. AllMusic note:
McLean sounds invigorated here, catapulting each melody forward before launching into a series of impassioned improvisations….Swing Swang, Swingin’ may not be as groundbreaking as Mclean’s more modernist work, but it’s a solid session from an artist just beginning an incredible hot streak.
Jumping Off Point: Walter Bishop Jr.
Walter Bishop is a great asset to this Mclean date, maintaining the momentum of the tunes behind Mclean’s ascerbic explorations. Bishop’s trademark is terse, punching accompaniment, with lines flowing over changes.
Bishop was an early member of the Art Blakey start-up Seventeen Jazz Messengers in the second half of the ’40s, a highly talented but financially-unsustainable jamming band in which all the leading names of the day appeared, including Powell himself and Monk. Sadly the history of this talent-pool remains largely in reminiscences of unrecorded club dates. As the Jazz Messengers membership slimmed down to a commercially-viable working line up in the mid-50s Bishop was replaced by Horace Silver.
A Powell-inspired player, nothing wrong with that, Bishop did not record as leader until the ’60s, forming his own trio with Jimmy Garrison and GT Hogan. Like many musicians hailing from the hey-day of Bop, by the ’70s, he largely disappeared into music education and teaching, disappearing completely in the ’90s. AllMusic’s assessment of Bishop as a “valuable utility pianist” seems a bit harsh: he does a great job in enabling McLean to shine, which is a valuable enough contribution.
Vinyl: BN 4024 mono, RVG and ear, 47 West 63rd label
This was one of the first handful of Blue Note to carry the INC and R marks of Blue Note’s incorporation So far so good, but Popsike premium-price sales suggest it should be DG both sides, so it is not possible to rule out a later pressing run here, but only by a short space of time . I am sure Mr Cohen has something to say about it.
One thing stands out, A-1 and B-1 matrices. Bad day at the studio, Rudy? Unlike my original thoughts, it is probably a good sign. Van Gelder wasn’t happy with the first cut and thought he could do better.
Photoshop-fake mono rear cover, actually a Liberty stereo cover, but hey, cut me some slack, the liner notes are the same. (Shh! Our secret). Notice that the footer of the Liberty rear cover notes “An original Stereo Recording” – i.e. not pseudo (fake) stereo.
The only difference between mine and this one on Ebay is the cover, which mine lacked. ;-( Oh, and mine’s not got a yellow label. Some people just haven’t got a grip on camera white balance.
And it cost less than $800. On top of it’s game, Swing Swang Swingin’ max’s at a little over $1200.
This record was another victim of London’s light-fingered record cover shop thief. (I’d take his off at the tone arm) My gain, the seller’s pain, I guess, under circumstances I would not have wished. It is now housed in “reduced circumstances”, tucked up in a Liberty Stereo cover. Anyone spot a VG original cover with a G- vinyl, tip me off.