Updated: more rips! Jackie McLean: Right Now! (1965) Blue Note/Liberty UA

September 7, UPDATE!

“Eleven out Ten LJC readers who expressed a preference asked for more comparative rips, to hear for themselves what alternative editions sound like”.

LJC-Michael-Caine- Professor Jazz fastshow30Actually, I just made that up, but seeing as how a lot of what you read nowadays is made up, I thought: why not LJC too? Reader Evan H kindly offered to supply two rips of Poor Eric, 320 kbs, Audacity. The rig obviously differs from LJC‘s, nothing’s perfect, especially not me. but all I have to do is put my feet up. Collaboration! Great!


Selection 1: Eco (Jackie McLean)

Selection 2: Poor Eric (Larry Willis) ’70s Liberty/UA


Selection 3: Poor Eric1965 Blue Note, mono, original pressing


Selection: 4: Poor Eric King Records, Japan, 1977-1980 “Blue Note Masterpiece Selection 150” Series



Jackie McLean (alto saxophone) Larry Willis (piano) Bob Cranshaw (bass) Clifford Jarvis (drums) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, January 29, 1965


I have been meaning to add a post on this McLean record, but I have a United Artists West Coast reissue copy. However after playing it I reckon it stands the test of “vintage vinyl” so I’ll go for it. One of the last recordings in his Blue Note Further Out series, now all five reviewed here at LJC:

1963  – Destination Out!
1963One Step Beyond
1964 It’s Time
1964Action Action Action
1965 – Right Now!

Whilst Eco is my favourite day-to-day listening from the album a classic piece of McLean mid-’60s inside/out  no post on this record would be complete without  Willis and McLean’s lament on the passing of Eric Dolphy, Poor Eric. The piece is not a celebration of Dolphy’s music, which would be one of wild devilish exuberance, but a heartfelt expression of a sense of loss, which is a quite different narrative.  Larry Willis’s solo is especially poignant.

The quartet format is a hard taskmaster. There is nowhere to hide, sit out and take it easy. With a dynamic frontman like Jackie and no alternate brass, the “rhythm section”  steps forward to join the front line. Cranshaw grabs the opportunities to walk the bass hard, and Jarvis fires on all cylinders, but it’s Willis’s percussive comping that helps hold it all together.

This was Larry Willis’s first appearance on record as sideman to Jackie, appearing also on Jacknife. He arrived on the mid ’60s scene just as it was beginning to run out of commercial steam. He has more than a shade of Hancock, and he had a strong melodic lyrical side on the right hand, which adds contrast to this McLean outing. He went on to a successful career right up to the present day, fitting around whatever trend followed, but leaves an important contribution to this best of the post-bop era.

Cover Art:

Wonderfully expressive typography from Reid Miles: giant typewriter style font with ink bleeding into paper at the edges, title all lower case with shriek-mark for emphasis  underscores the implied  “political” message –  “right now!” – we are impatient (for change).  Artist name proper capitalised to separate it from the message but bonded through the same font. Such simple  elegant design, signposting ideas.

Vinyl: BNST 84215 Liberty UA, Los Angeles

Shamefaced, it is not an original Blue Note, but a second Liberty/UA issue, nevertheless “vintage” circa 1970, and sourced from the Van Gelder master and its metal descendants, so an acceptable alternative. Dustier than it should be, I’ve put it down for a second wash, though this is unlikely to have any effect on the milky discoloration in the vinyl, which doesn’t look healthy but which “doesn’t affect play”™



Collector’s Corner

The record in this post is a Liberty/UA reissue from the very early ’70s and for the most part these are a very good alternative to the hard-to-find and harder still to afford Blue Note originals. For original vinyl from elite jazz labels, the only practical strategy is to seek out the alternative quality vintage reissues, reissued by subsequent owners or lessees of the historic catalogue.

Here are some alternatives I have liked, as always, your own experiences may be different.

LJC Cheapskate Guide to Good Alternative Pressings: The 2nd Division

Blue Note: There are some good sources for Blue Note recordings from Division of Liberty , Division of United Artists label, the black/light blue label and some select beige twofers. Presence of  RVG master stamp is a good sign, absence is ususally a very very bad sign. Our friends from Tokyo – King and Toshiba, offer an acceptable reissue for the most rare titles (prior to around 1988 and not more recent). French Pathe Marconi remastered in France – re-edition 1982-5 have some acceptable issues but patchy.

Prestige-Blue-Trident-500-LJCPrestige: for Prestige and New Jazz recordings there are the later second issues on Yellow/black Bergenfield or Blue Trident label. European pressings from original US metal on Esquire and Metronome are an excellent find. .Some of the very first green Fantasy label 1972-3 are acceptable, but nothing any later.


For Impulse early catalogue, ABC Records second pressings on black red-rim label are very acceptable.



On Riverside, seek out Orpheum Productions (mid/late ’60s) , or European Interdisk issues, pressed in UK  initially by Decca and latter by Philips UK or Holland.



anything on white or black fan plum/orange label, and some few early Red/Green 1841 Broadway address, not beyond.


Columbia-two-eye-label-500-LJCColumbia: can be quite acceptable on two-eye and the very earliest one eye Columbia All Round label (sadly not later). UK CBS are very mixed in quality – seek any pressed by Philips, avoid those pressed by Oriole.


victor-japan-label-500Verve and Victor

Nice quality reissues of Victor and Verve can be found on their Japanese counterparts, Victor Japan



Contemporary recordings can be found on UK Vogue, and UK  Contemporary Vogue. With a few exception these are mono, and high quality Decca pressings.


Savoy-reissue-label-500Savoy: the one disappointment, not only are the reissues by Savoy of their own imprint very unsatisfactory (even those with Van Gelder remastering) the few originals I have acquired are not to the standard of other major jazz labels at the time.  Historically interesting and important music, but I assume  the absence of an engineering champion has left a legacy of rather underwhelming recordings

London American label 500London crimson/silver label (Decca)    

In the UK you have the excellent Decca pressings of recordings licensed from Savoy, Dot, Jubilee, Carlton, Chess, Bethlehem, Imperial, Atlantic, United Artists and Riverside.


Just the headlines that come to mind, there is more to be said.


31 thoughts on “Updated: more rips! Jackie McLean: Right Now! (1965) Blue Note/Liberty UA

  1. Hi Everyone,

    I just thought I would throw this in – I have a Nakamichi turntable with the centering function. It works very well and every once in a while it is a joy to behold but…

    Ultimately, you find yourself thinking “this is great that my turntable can center a record but why should I have to go through this process every time I want to listen to this record?” It solves a problem but in the end will not alleviate the nagging dissatisfaction that comes with knowing that you have a record that was pressed off center.

    • Hi Peter,
      It’s a feeling similar to the frustration the 78 RPM lover feels when he realizes that each of his records requires a different type of needle to produce decent sound. Or the vinyl freak who finds that different records may require different turntable adjustment. There is no end to pondering …

  2. I would qualify your recommendation for Impulse ABC second pressings. The true black red-rim label from 1967-1972 are very acceptable. The image you used is the 1972 “third” pressing which are of lesser audio quality and should be acquired with caution.

  3. Seven out of eleven cats say they think online collaboration is the route to greater economic prosperity, human and animal wisdom and better cat food.

    Damn, that mono rip sounds terrific, even on my far from perfect computer (JBL Creature) speakers. Again, thanks for bringing this LP to my attention. Thank God I now have the MM33 on order or I would feel dreadfully left out.

    And incidentally, in a recent survey twelve out of twenty cats expressing a preference say they think LondonJazzCollector swings immoderately.

  4. to me i hear a little of what sounds like a warp, but that my just be the sound file. i can’t imagine anyone can measure the off-centered-ness of the photo, as good as your photos are (and they are about the best) since they can’t see the entire lp. if you don’t hear the wow, or if it doesn’t bother you, then no biggie (it doesn’t bother me and i really had to listen): everyone’s tastes are different. what does bother me is the troll that tries to tell someone they aren’t a real audiophile since you don’t have the correct turntable, or because you don’t have the same preferences in sound, or whatever. if a troll doesn’t like a blog the troll doesn’t need to read it, nor does the troll need to write caustic comments just to piss off the reader’s who care the read the writer and not the troll. ljc, keep up the good work and please ignore the trolls.

    • yo’re rights , mr freejazz. anyway i have got only one Liberty original from McLean : Demon’s Dance, i like it, i like also one step beyond wich is, i my opinion an excellent album ! But the mosaic set (i have the Evil Silver disk edition) is a good job

    • First: A warp is not the same as eccentricity.

      Second: LJC’s sound files will NEVER EVER, by themselves, produce anything like warp or eccentricity.

      Third: Let me say it again. Eccentricity is the number-one problem with vinyl, and the only REAL problem I myself am having with vinyl.

                         Comments Policy!
      • Fifth: You CAN measure the off-centredness of the LP using LJC’s photo. All you have to do is find the centre of the circle formed by the inner groove and match it to the centre hole. It’s as easy as that. No need to look at the entire LP. But these are basic things, why am I wasting my time.

    • I’ve built my Turntable, built my step up, built my Phono stage, built my preamp, soon my tube power amp and speakers. I would never call myself an audiophile. Audiophile these days is a record company slapping awful digital music on 180 grams. I don’t think I have one off centered record in my collection, so why get a nakamichi tt? I’ll stick with my Lenco L75.

      • You are lucky. I have quite a number of them, not first pressings, but some with the VAN GELDER stamp on them. And believe you me: They’re much more off-centre than LJC’s Jackie McLean, which I was probably giving some unfair treatment in comparison. (But off-centre it is, by more than 1mm. Period.)

        Now I am not advertising the Nakamichi TT, which has long disappeared from the market anyway. What I am saying is it’s a pity the industry has been neglecting this important (compared with golden cables) aspect although, with 2015 technology at hand, solving the problem would be a lot easier.

        (As an aside, there would be an enormous market among 7 inch/45 RPM collectors. That’s where eccentricity really, really hurts!)

        • I understand what you are saying but maybe the reason why no one brings it up is because it’s so insignificant, the industry doesn’t care. I’ll double check my inventory but I don’t think I have one. It would suck if you had a extremely rare LP like a 1568 and it was off centered.

      • keep calm and enjoy your turntable! I have one micro BL111, one denon dp6700 complete set, one Denon dp5000, Thorens td160 super, MKI and a Thorens TD150 MKII and last a technics SP15 with SME 309 arm, 3 step up (Ortofon t30, Cinemag’s by BoB Device and one denon au340, Micro, Saec Sme and udiocraft tonerm (vintages) and a Jelco of recent production plus one Esoter track (Italian brand made by Jelco in eghities), i have got over 1500 vinyl and many, too many cd’s and off centered lp’s are six or seven not more…so…why Nakamichi…..Answe (Naples peples said) OGNI SCARRAFONE E’ BELLO A MAMMA SOIA….in english….a sort : every monster baby is a beautyness at mother’s eyes…..

  5. All my Jackie McClean are non originals but my two favourites: Let Freedom Ring (probably his best IMO) and One Step Beyond at least have Rudy stereo stamps which is good enough for me.
    I also picked up The Connection on Liberty the other day which is great record with JM playing on it.

    Right Now! I have on CD so I shall have to do a comparison to check this business of wow and flutter etc – I’ve never really detected it myself.

    But then again I thought my Newk’s Time was fake stereo and after finally doing an audacity test I realised it wasn’t (you were right about that Eduard) – still sounds an odd recording to me though.

  6. BTW, Larry Willis has recorded some nice sessions on the Mapleshade label if anyone is interested. They are on CDs, but Pierre Sprey (Engineer Extraordinary that he is) does a nice job with the disks. And you can’t fault Larry for keeping his work in the public’s eye, or ear, whatever the flavor of medium.

  7. There are significant gaps in my McLean titles and to my shame this isn’t a recording I have in any format and indeed have never heard. Shocking, but there it is. And it is marvellous, of course – especially the threnody (?) for Eric.

    I don’t hear ‘wow’ on this rip, but comparing it with a version on YouTube – not ideal, I know – what I will say is that the pitch of this rip doesn’t sound quite true. I think the degree it’s off is probably marginal, but even so, even to my clapped out ears it doesn’t sound quite accurate. Of course, auto-suggestion has to be taken into account, I suppose. Would I think it’s off had Eduard not raised the point? I’m honestly not sure…

    I shall certainly search out a copy of this in whatever format I can find/afford it and thanks, LJC, for the nudge.

    • Alun, the “wow” admittedly isn’t as bad as on many another record I have put on my TT.

      Still, this is one of the few REAL problems I am having with vinyl, and I don’t see why it is widely ignored by listeners and, consequently, by the industry. My guess is, those who still listen to vinyl on a regular basis have come to accept it some way or other, and many so-called audiophiles are fully occupied with phenomena neither they nor anyone else has ever proved to exist.

      In the article I quoted below (here’s that link again)
      the author says that “all of [the turntable manufacturer’s] time and money spent on achieving a .04% flutter and wow is meaningless and wasted. If enough of us talk about self-centering, maybe one manufacturer will actually do it. And if one manufacturer does it, many more will follow due to competitive pressure.”

      Also, being one of those few who own an old Nakamichi Self-Centering TT, he says that “…I am addicted to listening to LPs that don’t have pitch instability. Having lived for months with pitch stability I really would not want to go back to instability.”

      But that should be the g****mn rule, not the exception!

  8. Nice observation of this Jackie session. I own the same Liberty United Artist copy, and have always been disenchanted because I never have seen anything close to an original issue. Thus, I gave up the chase on this one. Because of this post, I pulled my copy from its’ jacket this morning to play, and now remember why I gave up the chase. My copy sounds great. And what’s not to like about Jackie to the converted. Jackie’s alto is always recognizable, like Miles’ trumpet (muted or not).

  9. Well done on completing your reviews of this sequence of albums. I must confess that I’ve yet to explore them, as I struggle to enjoy Jackie McLean’s alto sound- but I expect I’ll go there eventually. The brief notes on affordable pressings are also most helpful. Thanks! It’s not just the cover of this album that merits an exclamation mark- so does your hard work.

  10. Sorry I have to keep on splitting hairs, but that’s what everybody here is doing in audiophile matters, aren’t they? Thanks to your nonpareil photography, LJC (and I do mean it, from all my heart!), I was able to take a closer look at this record (Side One). I found an eccentricity of a little more than 1 mm. According to a widely accepted standard, eccentricity should not exceed 0,2 mm to avoid audible “wow”.

    Considering all the audio voodoo we are confronted with on a daily basis, I would really appreciate if more attention was paid to those parameters that really matter.

  11. Your samples of this Blue Note/Liberty UA of this great album sound very good indeed. Note that the Music Matters 33 1/3 reissue of this album is available Right Now! Would be interesting to hear a comparison… Thanks for the great post once again.

    • Thank you and well-spotted. My usual dealer has it listed for Aug 2015. They’re often late coming into the UK so as i haven’t heard from him i’m assuming it isn’t available yet — but i have just reserved a copy to be sure i don’t miss it.

  12. “Poor Eric” is easily one of my all-time favorite McLean cuts. It holds up with just about anything else he ever did. As for the sonic discussion above; I listened to the sample and listened to a digital file from my computer overlapping. They sounded pretty damn similar to me – as far as tone and pitch and speed. Sounds like a fine find indeed.Excellent work as usual.

    • Bink, the “wow” is very clearly audible towards the end of the track, i.e. the inner groove of Side One. I was probably exaggerating when I said “badly” off-centre, which – due to the laws of physics – mainly applies to the inner grooves. But the problem is: People who claim they can hear ever so slight differences in tonearm angle adjustment tend to make fun of those who put their finger on other, much more significant, anomalies.

      But it is true to say that a lot of records are much more off-centre than this one. It’s one of those inevitable deficiencies – and there are quite a few of them – that make vinyl different from the master tape.

  13. Excellent music, but the vinyl is very badly off-centre, rendering “Poor Eric” unlistenable. “Eco”, being no less off-centre, sounds more tolerable because of its vividness.

    Rather than discussing the intricacies of turntable adjustment, audiophiles should press the industry to solve this number-one problem. Could anyone just tell me why nobody seems to care?

    As noted before, the only successful attempt I have come to know is this:

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