I am delighted and honoured to present a piece of essential but almost undocumented history of jazz on vinyl: the transition in the mid-’50s from the 10-inch to the 12-inch LP. Esteemed jazz aficionado and collector Roudolf has put his lifetime record collection and unparalleled knowledge to work, supplemented with photography by Vera, LJC at the Photoshop retouching desk, and solely responsible for any mistakes.
In this age of superficial celebrity and trivia, deep knowledge and scholarship may be undervalued, but not here at LJC. Because these 10-inch records are so beautiful, I have posted them at full screen resolution: they are enduring physical artefacts which merit your fullest appreciation. I just wish I had more, this is The Beautiful Music.
Put your hands together please, and welcome Roudolf.
LJC Guest Post by Roudolf Flinterman
IN THE BEGINNING
If we assume that the record industry saw the light in the early twenties of the last century, we must establish that the first three decades were rather event-less. The only medium was the 10” breakable shellac 78 rpm disc, which was the origin of the three-minute time limit for recorded music (or was the 78 rpm designed to contain a standard song of two and a half to three minutes? When asking the question, the answer is almost given, but I am not sure). Some labels specializing in classical music extended the length of a performance on record by introducing the 12” 78 rpm disc. This example was followed by Blue Note records for some recordings. Yet the gain in time was minimal.
THE NON-BREAKABLE REVOLUTION
A revolution came with the introduction of the non-breakable 33 rpm long play record in the end of the forties. By the mid 1950’s the long play album was firmly established as the standard vehicle for recorded music. However it was not the long play album as one commonly imagines today: the prevailing model was the 10 inch long play album with a playing time of 25 minutes on the average. The industry was conservative and continued to record tracks of three minutes duration, so four tracks of three minutes on each side.
Later on one began to take advantage of the new format, by issuing three longer tracks on each side or even two, or one (Bob Weinstock of Prestige was the first to break the chains in January 1951 with extended tracks done by Miles ( PrLp 124 and 140, later on Prestige 7012) and in December 1954 with two albums by Miles with one track on each side (PrLp 196 and 200), later as “Bags Groove” on 7109 plus 7150. Especially on the East Coast, independent labels took advantage of the new medium and had sizeable catalogues of 10” albums: Blue Note had 70 albums in their 5000 modern jazz series and Prestige 114 albums in their 100 series. The West Coast labels had more modest catalogues, Contemporary, Fantasy and Pacific Jazz each had a catalogue of some twenty albums.
The situation above is the one we generally saw in the USA for jazz recordings. In several European countries we witness another development: the main vehicle for jazz becomes the 45 rpm EP album. Swedish Metronome produced an impressive jazz catalogue of over two hundred 45 rpm EPs. Prestige too did a number of sessions directly for the 45 rpm EP format (e.g. 1322 – Sam Most and 1337 – Sonny Rollins with the MJQ). Debut Records were indecisive: from two April 1953 Max Roach sessions, one was issued on EP, the other on 10” LP.
THE ARRIVAL OF THE 12″ LP
So whilst the industry was manoeuvring to find the right track (LP and / or EP) there was yet another upheaval to come with the arrival of the 12” long play album. After some resistance, the 10” and EP formats as standards for record sessions were abandoned and the only format became the 12” long play album. Until end 1955 Alfred Lion still thought in terms of 10” albums when planning the production of his albums, as witnessed by the Herbie Nichols sessions. But then also Alfred embraced the new format. And in the industry recording sessions were planned to produce 35 to over 40 minutes of music on one album.
Right after the introduction of the 10” LP format, the East Coast companies started a vast program of re-issuing old 78 rpm material. Blue Note’s first 10” LP album (5001) was mid-forties Mainstream jazz, followed by a Monk album with material from the late forties. Ditto for Prestige: PrLp 101 was a compilation of Tristano and Konitz tracks from the forties, followed by a Stan Getz compilation from 1949. Many similar compilations followed on both labels and also on Savoy. Interesting as these records may be, I will exclude them from this study. The subject I wish to focus on is “What happened to the records made by the independents especially for the 10” LP format, after the transition to the 12” album format was a fact?”. Also must be excluded leased masters from European companies, such as Vogue and Metronome, over which the lessees had no permanent control.
THE FATE OF THE 10” RECORD SESSIONS MADE BY INDEPENDENT LABELS BETWEEN 1950 AND 1955.
The subject is vast and the story is different for each label. I had to make a choice. I selected three labels on the East Coast which are most interesting for LJC readers (Blue Note, Prestige and Riverside) and four on the West Coast (Contemporary, Nocturne, Pacific Jazz and Kenton Presents Jazz (Capitol). What follows hereunder is only applicable for the period when Blue Note and Pacific Jazz were still independent, and not U.A./Liberty, and Prestige, Contemporary and Riverside still their own boss, i.e. not yet taken over by Fantasy. In other words, I will try to analyse what policy was followed by each of the individual owners (Blue Note – Alfred Lion; Prestige – Bob Weinstock; Riverside – Orrin Keepnews; Contemporary – Lester Koenig; Pacific Jazz – Richard Bock; Nocturne – Harry Babasin: Kenton Presents Jazz – Stan Kenton, as project manager for Capitol).
I found three different approaches: a) leave the old material in the vaults, let’s work for the future, record new 12” sessions, forget about the old stuff; b) what we have is very valuable, let’s record, or use additional existing material, to make up for a whole 12” record; c) the mixed approach: we squeeze two ten inchers into one 12 incher, forget about the material we cannot squeeze in.
Alfred Lion could be proud of his seventy long play albums in the Modern Jazz series 5001 through 5070. Of these seventy albums I have deducted albums with re-issued 78 rpm material and leased material from abroad, which gives a nett figure of 42 recording sessions made by Blue Note especially for the 10” format. Out of these 42, 19 have been re-issued on twelve albums in the new 12” format, which gives the disconcerting result of 23 full 10” albums deleted! Down the drain, disappeared! And all of them are gems: the first Hank Mobley album (5066), four Gil Mellé albums, Elmo Hope 2 x, Tal Farlow, Herbie Nichols 2 x, Julius Watkins 2 x, etc etc. What a shame! But really is it?
Alfred looked at the future and made all those fantastic albums in the 1500 series instead of being bothered by a re-issue program. Let’s have a closer look at what was re-issued: 1501/2 Miles, 1504 Bud, 1505/6 J.J., 1518/1520 Silver and 1521/2 Blakey were done correctly with the odd alternate take, making two 12 inchers out of three 10 inchers. 1526 Clifford Brown and 1537 Lou Donaldson were two 10 inchers squeezed into one 12 incher, with the inevitable loss of some tracks. 1535 Kenny Dorham is irreplaceable, since three extended un-issued tracks are added, making up one side of the album, the other side re-issuing # 5065. # 1537 is the last album re-issuing two 10” albums (less two tracks). All the albums which followed contained only newly recorded material.
The verdict: a great pity for the valuable material which got lost, but trying to find these gives the serious collector a goal in life. A list of the 23 “lost” sessions recorded for issue on ten inch albums is at the end of this post.
Blue Note 10″ Gallery
Lester Koenig had a nice catalogue of eighteen 10” long play albums of which six leased from Vogue. Twelve albums were his own and with much care he organized additional recording sessions to make a full 12 inch album for eight of them (including the outstanding two debut recordings of Lennie Niehaus; 2513 “the quintet” becoming 3518 “the quintets”; 2517 “the octet”, becoming 3540 “Zounds”). Two albums were not re-issued on 12” and thus deleted (one Rumsey – 2501 and one Shelly Manne – 2511). Shelly Manne’s The Three (with Giuffre) and his Duo album with Russ Freeman were re-issued as one side each of a 12” incher. Lester makes a good score.
2501 – Howard Rumsey
2511 – Shelly Manne, vol. 2
In their Contemporary Jazz series, Bill Grauer and Orrin Keepnews had 18 albums, of which many Dixieland and some forties material, leaving only four original modern jazz 10 inchers for us to consider. Two were not re-issued (2508 – Randy Weston and 2518 – Barbara Lea). Two were re-issued with extra material; Randy Weston 2515 > RLP 12-227 and Don Elliott 2517 > 12-227. Not a great score, but the material is of no great value.
2508 – Randy Weston
2518 – Barbara Lea
Richard Bock had great authentic 10” material on twenty albums, of which P.J. 18 – the Al Haig trio – is probably unissued. What happened ? I am afraid to say that the material was not treated with the respect it deserved. The Mulligan Quartet material from PJ LP’s 1, 2, 5 and 10 was squeezed into one twelve incher PJ 1207, implying loss of material. But the Mulligan Quartet tracks with Lee Konitz were fully re-issued on 12”, with new material added (WPM 406). The two Laurindo Almeidas however came on one 12” album PJ 1204 without any loss of material. The Harry Edison P.J. 4 came with extra tracks on the revived early sixties Pacific Jazz label. Three 1955 12” albums need our particular attention: 1212 which took part of the splendid Russ Freeman trio (P.J. 8) and one side with unissued Dick Twardzik.; 1213 (Bud Shank) has part of one ten incher on each side (P.J. 14 and 20). Ditto for the “Arranged by Montrose” album 1214: part of Clifford Brown PJ 19 and part of Bob Gordon PJ 12 on each side (Clifford Brown later fully re-issued on the early sixties P.J. 3). The Chico Hamilton album – P.J. 17 – came with especially recorded extra material on P.J. 1220.
All this looks not so dramatic, but now comes the bitter end: the two excellent Chet Baker albums (9 – Ensemble and 15 – Sextet) are reduced to a mere five tracks on 1206. The two quartet albums (3 and 6) are reduced to seven tracks (out of the original 16) on the same 1206. The Chet Baker vocal album (11) was re-issued first with especially recorded extra material, thereafter, Bock’s specialty, by doctoring the tracks, splitting and splicing. In stead of Chet’s singing, we may hear Bill Perkins or Jimmy Giuffre or an unknown guitar player dubbed in!
To close this chapter, one of Bob Brookmeyer’s best albums (16), a quartet with John Williams at the piano bench, remains unissued.
P.J. LP 16 – Bob Brookmeyer
Pacific Jazz Gallery
Harry Babasin had a small catalogue of eight 10” albums and two more in the pipeline, a trio record by Lou Levy and another one by Jimmy Rowles (this one on 12”). But it was not to be. The label folded. One album was sold to Pacific Jazz: NLP 2, Bud Shank Quintet, to become side 1 of P.J. 1205. Two Herbie Harper lp’s NLP 1 and NLP 7 found their way to Liberty 6003. NLP 5 (Earl hines and his New Sounds Orchestra) was issued on Tops L 1599. The unissued Jimmy Rowles trio was also sold to Liberty, who issued it under catalogue number 3003. Apparently the receiver had done what he could and that was the end of Nocturne in 1955. Result: four albums lost:
NLP 3 – Harry Babasin (two tracks on Liberty 6001 – sampler)
NLP 4 – the piano of Conley graves
NLP 6 – Bob Enevoldsen
NLP 8 – Virgil Gonsalves.
KENTON PRESENTS JAZZ
Stan Kenton got a free hand from Capitol to present and promote jazz artists of his liking. I can trace six albums in the 10” H 6500 series, which went from 6500 to 6507. I have no trace of # 6503 and # 6504 (found nothing in Schwann Long playing record catalog, Aug. 1956, which lists all available LP’s, 10 and 12”). They may have remained unissued. Anyone who can give information? What happened to the other five? Kenton changed to the 12” format as from # 6502 with a new prefix: T in stead of H. # 6500 (Bill Holman) and # 6501 (Bob Cooper) continued as ten inchers only. The others became 12 inchers with added 78 rpm material for T 6502 and T 6505 and added EP material for T 6506 and T 6507. Both the 78 rpm and EP material preceded the 10” issues and probably were used to test the market before issuing a full 10” album. I would say that Stan did honourably well: no abrupt break with the past, but a smooth transition.
H 6500 – Bill Holman Octet
H 6501 – Bob Cooper
Prestige had a catalogue of 114 10” LP albums, amongst which a sizeable number of leased sessions, almost all from Metronome in Sweden. Bob Weinstock started his business in the 78 rpm era in 1949 (ten years later than Blue Note). His first recording session was on January 11, 1949 with the Lennie Tristano Quintet – Lee Konitz. No better choice possible at that time. It is perhaps no coincidence that Bob’s first 10” LP album # 101 is by Lennie Tristano and Lee Konitz. But our subject is not how 78 rpm recordings became long play albums, but what happened to the original sessions for 10” albums after the advent of the 12” Long Play album.
So, as with Blue Note, we have got to eliminate sessions from the pre-10” era and those leased sessions over which Prestige had no permanent control. The outcome is 60 specific sessions for ten inch. Out of these, 11 sessions have not been re-issued on 12”. Here is the listing:
130 – Charlie Mariano
131 – Joe Holiday
132 – Teddy Cohen (aka Teddy Charles) trio
135 – Joe Holiday
150 – Teddy Charles
152 – Al Vega
153 – Charlie Mariano
163 – The Contemporary Jazz Ensemble
171 – Joe Holiday
205 – Jon Eardly
207 – Jon Eardly
Note, all the re-issued sessions have been re-issued completely, without losses, except for # 178 (Teddy Charles with Bob Brookmeyer) which came on # 7066 with two tracks missing. The great loss is the superb Jon Eardly quintet with J.R. Monterose on 207, a real gem. But, grosso modo, Prestige did more than a decent job.
A footnote to Prestige: In 1958 Prestige initiated what was meant to be another revolution: the 16RPM disc. A record turning at half speed (16 2/3 rpm) can contain twice as much music (or spoken word) on the same space. The idea is simple, but the revolution did not take place. After six issues Prestige gave up. The sound quality was poor compared to 33 1/3 rpm. (To improve on sound, classic sessions are nowadays even re-mastered for 45 rpm.)
The first four albums were re-issues from the 7000-series. Only # 5 and # 6 had material specially recorded for the occasion. The original material has since been re-issued in the 33 rpm 7000- and 8200- series.
- BLUE NOTE – twenty three “lost” sessions for ten inch records
5020 – Gil Mellé
5023 – Kenny Drew trio
5024 – Howard McGhee
5025 – Wynton Kelly trio
5029 – Elmo Hope trio with Philly Joe
5033 – Gil Mellé
5035 – Sal Salvador
5036 – Urbie Green
5042 – Tal Farlow
5043 – Frank Foster
5044 – Elmo Hope quintet with Art Blakey
5045 – George Wallington
5053 – Julius Watkins w/Frank Foster
5054 – Gil Mellé
5056 – Jutta Hipp .
5059 – Best from the West, vol. 1
5060 – ditto, vol. 2
5063 – Gil Mellé
5064 – Julius Watkins w/Mobley
5066 – Hank Mobley quartet
5067 – Lou Mecca
5068 – Herbie Nichols trio
5069 – Herbie Nichols trio, vol. 2
List of 10” sessions re-issued on 12”; partly * or wholly _ or with extras +. (19 10” albums)
5013 < 1501/2 +
5018 < 1520 *
5021 < 1537 _
5022 < 1501/2 +
5028 < 1505/6 +
5030 < 1526 *
5032 < 1526 *
5034 < 1520 *
5037-9 < 1521/2 +
5040 < 1502 _
5041 < 1504 _
5055 < 1537 *
5057 < 1505/6 +
5058 < 1518 _
5062 < 1518 _
5065 < 1535 +
5070 < 1505/6 _
2. Pacific Jazz
Pacific Jazz “trees” – examples of how material from 10″ records were selectively migrated to 12″, including the overdubbing of Chet Baker’s singing with Bill Perkins or Jimmy Giuffre solos. Let history be the judge.
© Roudolf Flinterman, October 2015