Impulse Labelology, the first pressing of the first 100 classic titles – mono (updated)

  (Last Updated November 14, 2014)

Impulse Labelology: The First 100 – mono

impulse_logo-with-tonearm-1800LJC

For Record Collectors Only!

LondonJazzCollector previously posted a reference set of Impulse labels 1965-73 from A-100 onwards, to capture the evolution of the Impulse label from mid ’60s post-bop through to the early ’70s journey into outer and inner space. I’m not proud, it mixed mono and stereo, left gaps, it could have been done better but it was a start. The classic first one hundred Impulse titles remained unfinished business.

This flyover of the label of the first one hundred Impulse titles yields up more secrets that the Da Vinci Code. Welcome to the Fundamentalist Church of First Pressings, mono tendency, 21st Century visual reference.

Mind The Information Gap

Researching many thousands of auction offerings, I found the term “original” slapped recklessly on everything and anything. It joins the favourite of seller-lexicon, “rare“, as collector Viagra. Mind the knowledge gap! Too many sellers don’t or can’t read the label, and most do not provide a picture of the label of what they are selling.

The label is important. Treated with care, it gives a pretty good indication of point of pressing. Promo’s are a particularly interesting research resource, as they provide a timely insight into design, corporate name changes, and catalogue numbering matters at the initiation of the pressing run, which can be applied to the main commercial release.

Impulse-detective-1200-ljcThe judgements here are based on looking at secondary picture sources: several thousand photos supporting auctions, notably the rich resource of  Ebay.Ca, also Discogs, Vinyl Roots Guide, EIL, many inscrutable Japanese collector sites, and up to 10 pages deep of Google links. That is not to say it is infallible, and  some records absolutely defy discovery of even one label photo anywhere on the planet.  The search for knowledge never sleeps.

My thanks to LJC readers emailing me some of the labels missing in the original post.

There is no doubt more to be discovered from the dead wax (see comments below for some great info)  however this depends largely on ownership of the record, which is outside the scope of a labelography.

Disc-overies

Some discoveries, things to look for when reading across the label sets: – the handover between Am Par and ABC-Paramount, at  A-33 (still open query on status of A-29). Nothing like sweating the evidence. am-par-vs-abc-paramount-close-up-ljc-1800-4-updated-A-32 – a new diagnostic, “Cat-A“, which identifies the ABC Paramount catalogue number format adopted from mid-1965 onwards, which I believe  identifies re-pressings of earlier titles, despite having the same Orange Black label and often the same ABC Paramount Inc attribution. An example is given below, for A-32 Coltrane’s Ballads a-32-controversy-1800-ljc-A32-updated Popsike has nearly 200 auctions results of A-32 Coltrane Ballads, first released in 1963, a large proportion which bear the Cat-A numbering system introduced several years later. A large number claim “original status”. Pure A-32 copies are fairly rare whilst A-32-A copies are quite plentiful. There is plenty of supporting evidence that the Cat-A naming convention was established around the first issue of A-81-A, released in mid 1965, and remained the convention for all Impulse labels printed after this date (one exception A-100)

A great many examples of other Coltrane titles are found with the Cat-A label, suggesting many further re-pressings as his popularity rose. This is  potentially controversial, I have not read this anywhere before, it’s a hypothesis and it remains open to scrutiny: science is never settled (unless of course it’s about the weather)

UPDATE A-32: (31/10/14)

A-32 s1 Am Par DottorJazz finalmy thanks to Dottorjazz for contributing a picture of his A-32 first pressing, on Am Par label, neatly filling the gap above, while at the same time blowing a hole through my hypothesis that A-32 original pressing was on ABC-Paramount, because that was all I could find.

Label Reference Set A-1 to A-100

Ashley Kahn in his excellent history of the Impulse label records Impulse executives understanding that unlike many other labels of their day in search of top-40 hits, Impulse made its money from the on-going sales of its whole catalogue year after year. It is for this reason that some Impulse titles span a long chronological series of label changes, with ten thousand copies pressed this year, another ten thousand next year, another ten thousand the year after that, and so on for a decade. Each re-print of the paper labels conformed to  naming conventions of the day, legal entities current at the time (with regard to payment and collection of royalties and copyright protection). Long-lived titles like many Coltrane classics will be found on four or five Impulse  label variations. This is not industry chaos, or regional variation, but straightforward commercial practice (with probably a pinch of chaos thrown in)

The labels are in four tableau of 25 titles, arranged in 5 rows of 5, with each label resized to around 400 pixels, which should be readable viewed at 2,000 pixel-wide full screen, apart from the essential corporate identifier which is rarely passed comment on. Having an orange and black label is apparently enough – I don’t think even one seller ever mentioned a label’s  corporate ID  in any of the thousand-odd auctions I looked at. That text is almost too small in real life, but the text has been “validated” in examination of the original pictures.

Mono A-1 to A-25 (all Am Par, no ABC, no Cat-A)

Implulse-1-A-1-t0-A-25-Am-Par--at-2000-px-20141031

A-26 to A-50 (Transition from Am Par to ABC Paramount, no Cat-A) 

Implulse-2-A-26-to-A-50--Am-Par--at-2000-px-FINAL

A-51 to A-75 (All ABC Paramount, no Cat-A)

Impulse-3--A-50--to-A-75--at-2000-px FINAL

A-76 to A100 (All ABC Paramount, transition to Cat-A)

Impulse-4--A-76--to-A-100--at-2000-px-FINAL

 That’s mono 1st 100 1st done, coming soon to a record player computer screen near you: Stereo Impulse! Hopefully you will find this a useful source for future reference, and will be maintained permanently under the Guide to record labels/ Impulse, once it’s shaken down, run past angry sellers, and broken-hearted collectors. Further work required: covers, stereo it’s endless…

If you note any errors or anomalies, please help improve the guide, mail me. You will have noticed a few image placeholders, derived from tiny thumbnails, where I was unable to find an acceptable size label shot. If you have a label for which I am showing only a “place-holder”, send one, help the cause.

Acknowledgements

My thanks to eagle-eyed  reader Antoine, who started me looking more closely at variations in the label of some Impulse titles that were hard to explain, until the title-by-title examination showed up patterns I wasn’t previously aware of. Great detective work, take a bow Antoine.

Further thanks to LJC contributors Dottorjazz,  GregorytheFish, Gordon T, Diego S, Enricomaria, and John B who sent in missing pictures.

Collectors Corner

Further reading recommendation: The House That Trane Built, by Ashley Kahn The perfect antidote to Labelology, the inside story of the Impulse Label (and hardly one record label in sight.) Ashley-Khan-House-that-Trane-Built-1200 It’s a good read, one that unlike the biographies and music critics view, introduces you to more of the business side of ’60s modern jazz. It’s good to know more. Any good Jazz books you would like to recommend and what’s special about them? Anything you learned worth sharing? The floor is yours.

UPDATE: (November 5,2014) Lack of New Posts!

I’ve been travelling recently and recent Mediterranean storms have found me stranded for hours on runways amidst torrential downpours, thunder and lightening all around and aircraft unable to refuel in case of going kaboom!. Blogging has been light.

Now home, work on the stereo Impulse series is three quarters done, coming shortly with labels of the first hundred stereo first Impulse pressings. Breaking new ground. All I can say is god bless the Japanese jazz selling sites, who are alone in their meticulous documentation and photography.

Watch this space.

LJC

 

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85 thoughts on “Impulse Labelology, the first pressing of the first 100 classic titles – mono (updated)

  1. I’ve come across this one, recently sold:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Olive-Nelson-Blues-and-The-Anstract-Truth-Impulse-5-RARE-COVER-/201228780892?pt=Music_on_Vinyl&hash=item2eda2b855c&nma=true&si=Kz9obJca%252BV2YGtdSw2Rqxu%252BAjZc%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557
    from a secure seller, clearly indicated A-5-A and ABC Paramount, nowhere declared original, BUT believed original by bidders and the buyer, I presume: US $ 394.00
    I think a lot of buyers SHOULD come to LJC school.
    I’m a daily attendant.

  2. some more questions for Impulse Wizard Gregory the Fish, and a call for LJC: what about Mono after A-100?
    I’ve: 9106, 9110, 9124, 9134 and my last mono orange 9155.
    which is the last mono orange?
    are they all on orange? e.g.: 9140 exists in mono as white promo but never seen in orange.

  3. just for fun, i went through all of my mono and stereo impulses between A-79 (the start of cat-A) and A-9164 (the end of the orange label) and every single one save for the Definitive Jazz Scene 1 and 2 (i do not have 3) has the cat-A convention. more support for the theory, i suppose.

    • Ashley Khan’s book is spot on the money. Impulse business model rested on a relatively small catalogue selling copies over many years. Few top forty hits but many sales of the same titles year after year, as a result of which the recordings enjoyed a frequent history of label change, 1961 through to 1975. After a while it makes sense why the later label formats are encountered more frequently. If it is any consolation barely a couple of my Impulses pass the 1st pressing stress test. However they sound great! (except the Bell Sound ones. I wish I had known about this before, but you have to start somewhere)
      Its an education.

    • I would like to get in touch with you Greg, being # 1 Impulse expert.
      I’ve completed my whole Impulse check, dead wax included, and would like to compare with yours. There’s no other way to understand Impulse’s shadows if not visual comparison. impossible from eBay descriptions. once over you can mail the whole results to LJC for publishing.
      giorgio@studiocappiosarchi.it
      thanks
      comment: at the end of my checking I’m upset enough, grrrr, I must search again for records I believed originals, and it ain’t!

  4. Does anyone know how high the glossy labels go? The highest numbered glossy orange label I have is AS-85-A John Coltrane Quartet Plays. After that mine are all the matt orange label.

    I realise this is just the first 100 but for those of us collecting Impulse! on into the 70s, pressing variations get very interesting/complicated. I’ve got a pretty good spreadsheet going and can send improved scans of some of the first 100 labels, including a few promos, if that’s of interest?

    • I’m checking all my Impulse again at the light of all the new features coming out from this post, beginning with JC, Orange labels.
      from A-6 to A-77 all labels are glossy, mono and stereo.
      A-85, The JC quartet plays: side 1 matt, side 2 glossy
      from A-94 all labels are matt.
      DEAD WAX: A-6 and A-10: RVG
      from A-21 to A-9110-A: vangelder
      A-9120-A, Expression: vangelder side 2 only
      A-9124-A: vangelder
      AS-9140-A, Om, Bell Sound

  5. Leave it to our esteemed colleague, Dottorjazz, to take the wind out of my sails as just tonight I was excited to find a copy of AS-32 (stereo) with Am-Par labels on both sides. Curious thing is that it has a deep groove on side 2 which I haven’t seen on any Impulses since the first handful of titles. It also has the original inner sleeve where the titles only go up to A-14 where my matte label ABC-Paramount copy’s inner sleeve has titles going up to A-57.

    • I have NO Impulse with deep groove, but I’ve read in the years that some exist.
      another interesting feature to add to LJC effort to turn the light on a seemingly simple label. in the meanwhile I invite all readers owing Impulse records, everybody I guess, to check their records and send Andrew any data useful for a complete and exhaustive Impulse reading.
      DEAD WAX, suggested by DGmono: Vangelder, Bell or mixed etchings
      LABEL FINISH: glossy or matt
      OUTER RIM
      DEEP GROOVE, suggested by Aaron
      please divide into Mono OR Stereo.
      ah, spent Halloween night deadly awoken with my A-77-A copy of A Love Supreme…

      • my theory on d/g with impulse is that deep grooves are indicitive of little more than the pressing plant or die in use, since they began right at the handoff to non-d/g standard pressings.

        the glossy labels are known to be first-pressing specific… or so i thought?

        My copies of A-1 and A-3, both mono, have legitimate deep grooves. my stereo A-2 does not.

        oddly, in LJC’s pictures, A-93 looks like it has a deep groove on the top, and not the bottom, of the picture. probably a light trick.

        by outer rim, do you mean lipped versus flat edge? all impulses are absolutely lipped edge. i do have a small numer of serrated edge pressings, like on the american dime, though. not sure how that fits in.

        i lost my ALS in this fight too, dottor. as well as my mingus x5 and four for trane. 😦

  6. Reading all this plus the relevant Steve Hoffman stuff, I must confess that my head is spinning. Not being a vinyl fundamentalist, the basic question for me is: Where can I get the best possible sound for a particular Impulse session? What are the technically most acceptable versions irrespective of format? To me this is the real problem with Impulse in particular, but the answers, in all likelihood, will not be found on an all-vinyl forum like this.

  7. I have a handful Impulse pressings. Given the mind boggling pile of details to look for again I’ve decided to leave it as it is for now; I’ll stick with Blue Note details for the time being. That being said, the next rainy Sunday afternoon I’ll make close ups of my Impulse gems and share them here in the comments 😉

  8. A Love Supreme overdubs.
    1) Acknowledgment: Trane’s vocals overdubbed on Dec 10, 1964. 3 different vocal overdubs were recorded.
    2) Resolution: a long high note that begins the last eight-bar statement blends into the following note because it was dubbed in by Trane to replace a note that didn’t speak properly.
    3) Psalm: sax, bass and drums are overdubbed on the last 30 seconds.
    My copy, mono, has A-77A and Vangelder printed on both sides.

  9. I have a copy of A Love Supreme – A 77 in a absolute mint condition, both sleeve as media. Anyone knows what something like this is worth? Sometimes I see them going for 1000$ and then for just 50$. Whats going on?

  10. Re. books:

    Collected Works: A Journal of Jazz 1954-2001: Whitney Balliet — great to dip into. I question his taste but his writing on jazz is marvellous. Balliet was creating a language in which jazz could be described and compared.

    “Kind of Blue”: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece: Ashley Khan. Khan’s other jazz book. I’ve read it twice and foresee reading it as third time.

    Music Outside: Contemporary Jazz in Britain: Ian Carr. Or contemporary in the early 70s. Excellent essays on Evan Parker, Mike Westbrook, Trevor Watts/Spontaneous Music Ensemble…

  11. Guys guys guys guys guys……how are we not discussing THE DEAD WAX??? 😉

    Over at the ol’ Hoffman forum, the host has been consistent and adamant about all Bell Sound masterings of Impulse albums being made with second-generation tapes (and perhaps a rare Van Gelder remastering as well):

    http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/john-coltrane-a-love-supreme-old-mca-impulse-cd-mastered-by-greg-fulginiti.117681/#post-2835347
    http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/value-of-john-coltranes-a-love-supreme-lp-on-original-impulse.138551/page-2
    http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/1963-full-track-van-gelder-master.340722/#post-9941507

    Apparently, for each album Van Gelder cut one master lacquer from the original tape (maybe more in rare instances) that was used for some pressings, and Bell Sound (or Van Gelder himself) then made their own master tape duplicates which they then used to make their own masters for pressing other copies. Now I hate to make things even more complicated than they already are, but it would be very interesting to see how these label schemes match up with Van Gelder and Bell Sound dead wax markings. Despite Hoffman’s brief comment about a Van Gelder remastering of A Love Supreme done from a Bell Sound duplicate tape, I guess I always assumed that the Van Gelders were the originals and that the Bell Sounds were subsequent, but now I wonder if there are originals with Bell Sound mastering…?? My guess at this point is yes, and that the Van Gelder and Bell Sound masters were used simultaneously to press original copies, maybe in different regions of the country…?? Just a theory. Let’s see those dead waxes!

    • I feel rookie inside here: please DG MONO/STEREO (!!), is it possible that 2 different masters exist, one RVG and one BELL and that they are different in some way? do two versions exist for mono AND two for stereo? even with minor differences? I think we need two RVG mono and stereo AND two BELL mono AND stereo to compare. I don’t even know if these 4 versions exist.
      can anyone help?

      • Hi Dott, there can only be one master from one tape machine that originally did the recording. When a tape is copied (like what Bell Sound did) it is no longer a master. But what may be called various names like dub, copy tape, sub master, LP cutting master, etc. The master in the name of those various descriptions does not make it a master tape.

        Now Steve Hoffman is saying that RVG sometimes ran mono and stereo recorders for Impulse sessions in which case there would be 1 mono and 1 stereo master tape. But he is the first person I have heard say this, by this point it was assumed that RVG was using his fold down (50:50 method) to create the mono lacquer. Mind you, with NO generational loss since RVG was vehemently against copying tapes.

        Another weird thing that Steve Hoffman says is A Love Supreme was recorded with both full track and two track machines. Particularly peculiar since ALS has vocal overdubs. So they would have had to have done those vocal overdubs to both tapes.

        On the issue of Bell Sound vs RVG cut, all it takes is listening to an album cut at both facilities and the difference is readily obvious. I have compared Coltrane “Ballads” Bell Sound stereo with RVG stereo and the former is very poor. An almost underwater, murky sound while the RVG is precise and clear.

        • I just read Rich’s comment. ALS is one of my all time favorites… I have the 45 rpm AP reissue, RVG stereo, RVG mono and Bell Sound stereo. Again, like Ballads the Bell Sound is bar far the worst sounding of the 4.

        • I had a Bell Sound copy of Ballads with horrendous IGD on side 1 that had a dramatic effect on Jones’ cymbal crashes.

          I would agree that because there were overdubs it was probably recorded to two-track only. But if you look carefully, Hoffman said that the ABC tape ledger indicates Bell Sound receiving mono and stereo master tapes from Van Gelder’s in the 60’s, and not only that, he also briefly mentions that Van Gelder would have made the Bell Sound duplicate tapes at his studio himself. So this all seems to make perfect sense actually: Van Gelder recorded to two-track tape only and cut his own mono and stereo master lacquers from that tape (as he did with Blue Note), but then he made duplicate tapes for Bell Sound at ABC’s request, which Bell Sound then used to cut their own masters. Hoffman claims that Van Gelder shipped the master tapes to Bell Sound as well, where they were marked “original” opposed to “master” and sadly got thrown away in the early 70s.

          But I still wonder if the Bell Sound and Van Gelder pressings of each album would have been released sequentially or simultaneously??

          • Thank you Rich.

            Hoffman also goes on to say that Bell Sound would make copies of copies of copies so they could bill ABC a copying fee. If this is true Bell Sound could have used any tape they had created, which might correlate with the rather large generational losses I can hear with some Impulse Bell Sound records. Van Gelder stamp records always sounded much better, though to varying degrees of better.

            WRT to your last paragraph I wish I’d kept any of my Bell Sound Impulses to see which label design it used and compared to the RVG.

            Another issue that I feel should be discussed is that Impulse used various pressing plants – for instance some of the outer edges have the rough edge outer rim (you’ll know what I’m talking about when you run your finger along it, it is dramatic) while others have the super smooth outer rim. This may or may not correlate with the Cat-A or absence of Cat-A moniker for records pressed in 1965, perhaps they may have been pressed at similar/same time but different plants had different labels? (cue Bob Djukic/haunted Halloween music).

              • I think mention of this has been made before, but my copy of Blues and the Abstract Truth (with the second cover, ABC Paramount) A-5, has RVG in the wax on side 1 and Bell Sound (and no RVG) on side 2. Side 2 sounds inferior to side 1.

              • I think I have only seen Van Gelder stamped ones with the rough outer rim. I’ve gone through my albums before the 9xxx catalog number starts and there is a mixture of Cat-A and non-Cat-A amongst them. TBH I am not a hardcore first pressing only fundamentalist, in this case as long as I have Van Gelder stamp and quiet vinyl (difficult when Impulse switched to the completely different second design label) I am happy.

    • I hope I’m not trailing too far from the subject here, but since we’re talking about RVG, there’s an inconsistency that’s been puzzling me about a record in my collection for a while now. Curtis Fuller AS-13.
      In the album’s liner notes, there are two engineers. The Stereo Engineer is listed as Frank Abbey, and the Monoaural is Bob Arnold (and the producer was Bob Thiele). However, “RVG STEREO” is clearly stamped into the runout grooves. Since I’m guessing there’s no way Rudy Van Gelder’s signature could have “accidentally” shown up on the master, why wouldn’t he have gotten credit as the engineer — and what did the other two guys even have to do with the recording? Does anyone know? Does anyone care…?

    • I know Bell Sound can be found on some of the Capitol Record Club pressings of A Love Supreme. I’ve had a copy of that; it sounds surprisingly good. I’m not sure it’s “original” because of the record club angle, but it was released the same year.

      • I’m guessing that the Bell Sound masters can sound pretty good; Hoffman seems to see-saw on his opinion about them, FWIW. At one point he claims that he favors them to the RVG cuts despite them being one generation removed from the master, but then elsewhere he criticizes them for adding too much top-end EQ…?

        • The Capitol pressing quality probably had something to do with the sound; the deadwax info is in the machine-block type which usually indicates a good Capitol pressing.

        • Would Capitol have been involved in the pressing process? Was Impulse affiliated with them? The record club thing suggests that the labels worked together on the distribution level but I’m not sure that Capitol had anything to do with the Impulse/ABC manufacturing process…?

            • Yes, the Capitol record club pressings have the Bell Sound imprint (some do anyway), and the deadwax is SMAS-90215 in the Capitol block print. The orange/black labels are the same except for the album number and, under the word “Stereo” on the lower right, it reads “Mfd. by Capitol Records, Inc. USA.”

              • Impulse! Capitol record club pressings were pressed at Capitol’s Scranton, PA plant which can be identified by the triangle “IAM” (International Association of Machinists) logo in the runout.

      • HI Joe:

        ALL Impulse Capitol Record Club pressings were issued WELL AFTER the original Impulse pressing (typically between 1967 and 1969), because there was no point in Impulse giving away its best-selling titles to the record clubs unless and until their sales crested and they were no longer money-makers for the company. The Capitol Record Club pressing you have is of distinct 1967 vintage, definitely not the 1965 release.

        I know of no CRC pressings with Bell Sound Labs stamps, although I concur that they might exist, because Bell Sound labs was also a vinyl seller, and they delivered vinyl “blanks” to the various pressing plants with their pre-stamped logo. . All CRC copies I have seen thus far – and I have seen quite a few – have a very highly distinct Capitol matrix (more often than not hand-etched) starting with either MAS- (mono) or SMAS- (stereo). I agree that they sound every bit as good as the Impulses (some actually sound better) although they have a stigma of record club pressing attached to them. The distinct CRC covers with the distinct book-bound spines didn’t exactly warm the cockles of the collectors’ hearts, either.

        BD

        • The later pressing date makes sense; putting yourself at the time, A Love Supreme would be quite a brave choice for a record club without a track record of popularity!

          Yes, those Capitol Record Club jackets are very unattractive; washed out and flimsy. They do not warm the cockles of this collector’s heart, esp. when compared to the real deal.

    • I also thought I’d add that in my experience with tape it’s possible to make a second generation copy of a tape that sounds damn near identical to the first gen copy if the tape and machine are of a certain quality and the massive headroom of a 3-head reel-to-reel running at a high speed is taken full advantage of.

      • Rich, given the Capitol record club’s practice with other labels (notably Philles), where they received not only the original first generation masters but actually the unreleased and unequalized 4-track pre-production tapes, it is highly unlikely that Capitol was making a second-generation tape from Impulse sources. Chances are they used the original 3- or 4-track master and then mastered it for their own production.

    • It’s my understanding that Bell Sound made “cutting tapes” with EQing applied, fadeouts, etc. from Van Gelder’s master tapes which were then used to cut the lacquers.

      In fact, Bell Sound supposedly discarded Van Gelder’s original master tape for “A Love Supreme” which had somehow become mislabeled as a copy leaving the Bell Sound cutting master the only extant master tape for decades until a 2nd generation direct copy was located in EMI’s vaults.

  12. Well thanks for this informative piece! I now realize I own a mere ABA Paramount issue of Coltrane’s “Ballads”! But it’s stone mint and sounds like a dream so I’m happy with it. I’m curious..are there any sound benefits to having first issues on Impulse like there are with having original “ear” pressings of Blue Notes?

    I am happy to confirm that I have true original 1st issue monos of “with Duke Ellington” and “Coltrane”…along with original stereo issues of “out of the afternoon” and “Blues and the abstract truth” – speaking of which…did you know that the first issue had a weird metal sculpture picture inside the gatefold and that later issues replaced it with a picture of Oliver Nelson? It took me about 3 copies to figure that out!

    Also I notice that 1st issues have a thicker/wider spine and that often the text inside the gatefold is coloured…ie not black.

    • I second the question of sound quality vs. BN 1st pressings.
      Also mistermkr, yes, the first “Blues and the Abstract Truth” displayed the swooshing metal sculpture because the art department wanted that particular album to stand out and also keep with the “abstract” theme that the music carries. My guess is that it may not have sold as well as they expected, so they reissued it with the more “traditional” design.

    • I hear no difference between Am-Par and ABC Paramount pressings. Orange and black all sound the same (excellent) on my system.

  13. A few more things, now that I have had time to go through my catalog. Of the first 198 impulse titles, i currently own 126. all, until now, were considered “originals”. thankfully, this information only knocks out a few (6), mostly not too hard to replace. i already knew about the AM-PAR thing. the only heavy loss was my copy of A Love Supreme, which brings me to the first of many interesting observations:

    the existence of the catalog suffix A/B on earlier issues where the original would not have such markings correlates directly with a noticeably lower vinyl weight. this supports the theory. it also matches up exactly with having the gloss label versus not having it. handy knowledge for when one is digging in poorly-lit conditions.

    miscellaneous info that may be helpful:

    -I do not own, but have absolutely seen, a copy of A-18 jackie Paris with ABC one side and AM-PAR on the other side.
    -I have white promo copies of A-24, A-25, and A-26, none of which have label gloss, although i would not be shocked if the gloss appeared on first-issue non-promo copies.
    -dotterjazz mentions a mismatched OM. i notice that on the spines of issues having the ABC RECORDS 3-line thing, the word IMPULSE is almost always spelled in lowercase letters, and was in uppercase letters on all AM-PAR and ABC-PARAMOUNT issues that I am aware of. OM has such markings. the only mis-match i know of is EXPRESSION, which is generally believed to have its original press on the 3-line label, but has a capital letter IMPULSE on the spine.

    tomorrow i will report back if any of my copies from A-9100 through A-9164 (the final orange label) lack the A/B suffixes.

    i must go now, and update my spreadsheet with this new info. i may also purchase an ABC-PARAMOUNT copy of A-29 i had previously left behind at my local record store! wheeee.

    i’d be lying if i said this all wasn’t rather stressful, but still sort of fun.

    • NEW INFO: My copy of A-100 does NOT contain the catalog A/B suffixes, which means it was pressed earlier than 1965 it seems.

      • I did note in the post that A-100 in an anomaly: it breaks a hitherto unbroken run of cat-A labels. It is part of a three volume retrospective series. Quite possibly had been in preparation for some time, or maybe some rookie at the printers accidentally picked out an older label template while typesetting the A-100 label. Anyone who has worked in organisations for any length of time recognises sometimes there is intent, sometimes there is a c*ck-up. It is an anomaly, explanation optional.

        Appreciate the input, as always.

        • oh shit, you did mention that. well bollocks. either way, this is all very interesting. i must admit, though, having 10 or so of my previously beloved “originals” including ALS knocked out by this info is disheartening. i suppose i can sell them and refund TRUE originals before the info gets out. 😉

    • I have white sleeve/white label promos of A-4: Blues and Abstract Truth–Glossy label; RVG. A-8: Percussion Bitter Sweet–Glossy label; Bell Sound (for all you conspiracy theorists out there why would 2 pressing plants do promos? Does an RVG white label promo exist) and a White Promo Sleeve/Orange glossy label stamped Sample Not For Sale of A-4 Out of the Cool; RVG

    • Ted Gioia’s The Jazz Standards (OUP, 2012) is an excellent reference volume. It considers over 200 classic songs/tunes that could be considered to be part of the jazz repertoire. I got it as a birthday present this summer. OK, it didn’t tell me which composer who was on named a Bolshevik death list as a 17 year old but later went on to win 22 Academy Awards and an Oscar (that was Wikipedia and to find out, see my post on Freddie Hubbard’s Ready For Freddie to find out)- but it is full of loads more fascinating stuff and a few good tales.

  14. Ciao, i’m here again to thank you for supporting me about the first stereo pressing of Ballads. but now i want only to leave my opinion about the best Impulse sounding versions
    i have some Mono first pressing and a two dozen of stereo pressings. i do not think that mono is better, on the contrary a good sounding hifi system can reveal more sound color gradations if we play a stereo release. Even through the 4 metres which separe my old speklers system the piano’s are in the center, like the rounded bass, and if you dislike the voice of saxophone inside the left or right speaker i say you that actually the sax is captured in a monomicrophone and the mixing in two channel respect the timbre of sax more then the confusing mono listening. this is valid, for me, for the original release. Obviously the 1956 and older releases , which are mono, offer a very good sounding and i like oldest the same the newest release. But the Mono Party Power , i know, disagrees…

  15. broken-hearted collectors: ME! as the Impulse connection was first raised in these pages, I checked all my Impulse to discover that three (3) weren’t originals.
    A-6 Africa Brass, A-30, Duke Ellington & John Coltrane and my beloved A-5, The Blues and the Abstract Truth. I wasn’t unaware of the difference AM-PAR/ABC Paramount , now I’m expert, a crying one. Those 3 Impulse have been laying in my collection some decades, and I could’t see the light.
    interesting a post on Jazz Books: I’ve got some hundreds (far from having read ’em all).
    many are reference books.
    one example: Chris DeVito, Yasuhiro Fujioka, Wolf Schmaler, David Wild, edited by Lewis Porter:
    The John Coltrane Reference, pp 821, 2008.
    a must for all Coltranologysts.

    • The searchlight of truth is unforgiving, but we are all stronger for it, for knowledge. I have taken a few hits in this study myself. Like, who knew? Now the genie is out the bottle, and I can’t stuff it back in. Who knows what the forensic on Stereo might bring?

  16. Regarding books by critics “Jazz Retrospect” by Max Harrison published in the mid 70s is a classic. Mr Harrison was never a writer to be swayed by current musical fads or received thinking, his writing was scholarly never effusive, and his assessments were usually spot on.
    I talk about him in the past tense because I’ve not heard from him for a number of years

    • I’ve been keeping an eye out for an Am-Par A-29 for the past few months, actually, as I’m going through a bit of a Chico obsession, and they’ve all been ABC. If Am-Par versions exist, they’re, uh, well… rare.

  17. wow, this is fabulous!

    impulse is my main niche, so i will have to run this info through my collection to see what i can find. i will catalog some info when i get home tonight. i can likely help with most if not all of the missing labels. i have many. i will be in touch!

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