Stanley Turrentine with The 3 Sounds: Blue Hour (1960) Blue Note/ UA repress


Selection: Since I fell For You (Johnson)

.  .  .

Selection Bonus: I Want A Little Girl (Moll- Mencher)

.  .  .


Stanley Turrentine (tenor saxophone) Gene Harris (piano) Andrew Simpkins (bass) Bill Dowdy (drums) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, June 29, 1960


With fifteen albums in the Blue Note catalogue, Blue Note’s “house trio”  The 3 Sounds had already been paired with other artists including Lou Donaldson (LD+3), and later, Oliver Nelson (Coldwater Flat) , repositioning the 3 as a rhythm section tethered to a brass leader, a good formula. Turrentine’s soulful bluesy tenor integrates well with the trio, as it does with Kenny Burrell in Blue Note’s pre-eminent blues outing, Midnight Blue (BLP 4123).

This blues/jazz fusion is a likeable, soulful effort. The format is the blues, its roots in Chicago, the 12-bar progression and it’s variations. Turrentine’s warm full-bodied tenor delivers bluesy-licks, probing the upper register with the occasional jazzy digression, giving the familiar blues changes a genre-bending lift. He stays within safe limits, smooth and measured, never quite reaching the “pour your heart out” intensity that the blues canvas is a natural home to. Send out for Buddy Guy, or my teen-hero, Otis Rush. So Many Roads…

The 3 Sounds pianist Gene Harris emerges as the star of the album as he “tickles the ivories” in the grand blues manner – rising and falling figures and bluesy riffs, top-end trills, all  with echoes of Otis Spann, Champion Jack Dupree and Eddie Boyd. I confess to a long-standing affection for the other classical music of America, The Blues.

The music is not ground-breaking, but nevertheless a satisfying, enjoyable and deserving of a late night listening place on your turntable, in the blue hour. A small bonus, it can be found petit prix on United Artists blue label, like this one.

Vinyl: BST 84057 reissue by United Artists Music & Record Group Inc. circa 1975 (1st pressing fundamentalists may wish to look away at this point) Blue label black note –

OMG! original metal – RVG STEREO master stamp. What an unexpected find. Good stereo, Rudy at the dials, and an unbroken lineage from the recording tapes to the Van Gelder master, thanks to United Artists reusing original metal, and not, as they often did,  re-mastering what sounded good in the first place. But wait, there is more…


… a sting in the tail: a 9M etching! This is impossible…

Stanley-Turrentine-and-the-3-sounds---blue-label-UA-RVG-STEREO-master-9M-LJC-2000The 9M etching appears on all many 1500 series 12″ LPs and just the first of the 4000 series (4001, Rollins’ Newks Time – recorded 1957) and then disappears. Except it appears here on the metal of 4057, recorded and  manufactured nearly three years later. Witchcraft? Voodoo? Time-travel?

After years of speculation as to the meaning of “9M”, it was found by LJC readers to be one of a series of client codes of similar format assigned to a number of record labels in the mid to later ’50s. In that time,  9M is found exclusively on Blue Note, 7E on Prestige, 14i on Riverside, 19H on Debut, 10Z on Esoteric, 3R on Dial, others  possibly for other clients

The existence 9M etched on a master manufactured as late as Summer 1961 is itself hard to explain. Add to that the reappearance of that RVG stereo master, with the 9M, used by United Artists fifteen years later than its likely manufacture, is bordering on the supernatural. What’s going on?

LJC---sherlock-200x300Possessed of a few pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and wanting to understand the whole picture, the LJC Puzzle Solving Guide™ signals a warning. You have a few pieces, but you don’t know how big the jigsaw puzzle is. You may have three pieces out of ten or three pieces out of five hundred. You can not simply connect the dots.

Second, you can not assume the pieces are each from the same puzzle. They could be from several different puzzles. Lastly, the cheat’s solution picture included with most jigsaws puzzles is missing. You are on your own.

The original hypothesis, that 9M means “Blue Note”, remains sound. Also, the re-use of legacy metal for pressing by Liberty and later by United Artists has been seen numerous times. The difficult bit to explain is the two and a half year gap between the last 9M on 4001 and this one on 4057.

One possible explanation is that a client code was applied by a plating service to blank acetate discs destined for use by different record labels. Possibly there was an old blank acetate on Van Gelder’s shelf, from an earlier time, that was put into service to generate this RVG STEREO master. It’s a hypothesis that fits the together the pieces we have.

Until someone comes up with another jigsaw piece, that doesn’t fit.


Collector’s Corner

Even a smart seller can not value a record by what it sounds like, only by its “buy-signals”. Here, they are not high. The record is not especially rare, neither Turrentine nor the 3 Sounds command big-ticket following. It is not a Blue Note original, but a commonplace blue label reissue by United Artists. Only the RVG STEREO stamp hints at what we have – an audiophile bargain for a song.

The LP is short measure, technically “not as described”, but Blue Forty Two Minutes doesn’t really sound like a winner. The evil silver disc edition of Blue Hour combines all Blue Hour session tapes onto two CDs, nearly 90 minutes worth of Blue Hour. Technically, that is over an hour, but the notion that there are only sixty minutes in an hour is well  behind the times. The average bar Happy Hour is at least two hours, if not three. And everyone much happier for it.

Alternative explanations for the presence of 9M welcome, or indeed how many minutes there are in a post-modern hour.

9M UPDATE November 17, 2015

LJC reader and Blue Note collector Jim R has kindly contributed a most comprehensive  listing from his own collection, which confirms the presence or absence of a “9M” etching  in the run-out.  In 70 titles between 1500 – 4001 for which we have sight  (not all titles have been validated but remain to be classified – data blank 28 titles) 48 titles bear 9M and 22 are confirmed to have no 9M etching at all. Thee titles have 9M on only one side.

The longest straight run of titles with 9M ends with 4001, Rollins Newk’s Time, exceptionally it appears on 4025 and 4026.The last sighting of 9M is BLP 4067 Mclean’s Bluesnik and there is a small cluster around that release time in 1961, of 9M on 4057,4058, and 4067 .

The full listing including those for which data is still needed is here.









45 thoughts on “Stanley Turrentine with The 3 Sounds: Blue Hour (1960) Blue Note/ UA repress

  1. This one turned up in Stockholm so I had to buy it just to see if it had the 9M and it did. Sounded beautful as well. It made me curious if I had any other 70:s pressings with 9M and actually my Roll Call has the 9M.

  2. I’m still trying to figure out my pressing I have this Blue Hour Stereo press RVG Stereo stamp and 9m stamp no ear side one has New York USA side 2 has 47 West 63rd glossy album cover the back of the album cover reads 47 West 61st , new york 23

    • Probably a mongrel pressing by Liberty, using various bits of metal as came to hand, possibly old stock covers from inventory, filling in with what they didn’t.

      The inner sleeve if present can be helpful in dating manufacture. Vinyl weight and photo of label (colour-balanced) may take us further forward. It is all in the detail.

  3. did you guys actually listen to the track!?? even through my earplugs off my laptop you can hear what a master engineer RVG is: the tenor and the piano are beautifully balanced (just a little fluff near the end.)

  4. The link to the 9M database doesn’t work on my iPhone, so I decided to check my BN copies between 4001 and 4070.
    I found 9M on:
    4001, 4011, 4024, 4025, 4026, 4057, 4058, (I don’t have 4059), 4060, 4061, 4062, 4063, 4064, 4066, 4067, 4068.
    LJC: could you please (re)check the link to the Dbase? Would love to check or fill any gaps in the 1500 series…

      • Thanks, Jim. Your link works perfectly!

        Some additional 9M-info regarding the 1500 series:
        1529: 9M (both sides, except when indicated)
        1533: no
        1535: no
        1536: no
        1543: 9M
        1548: 9M
        1555: 9M
        1560: 9M
        1564: 9M
        1568: 9M
        1575: no
        1579: 9M
        1582: no
        1583: no
        1584: no
        1587: 9M
        1594: no
        1597: 9M

    • Thanks for these Peter. Some of those 4060 – 4068 are new 9M sightings, very helpful.

      What’s slightly worrying is 4026 – Byrd/Fuego. You have 9M, I have both mono and stereo, and neither has 9M on any side, double checked.

      I also have a conflict on 4011 Smith/ The Sermon, no 9M on my copy, but is 9M on yours. I also suspect I have a conflict on 84067, where I have 9M on one side but not the other.

      If it turns out that there are otherwise identical original pressings, ear and RVG etc, but some have 9M and some do not, then the hypothesis that the 9M starts on the master acetate may be holed below the waterline.

      The suspicion moves to intermediate metalware as origin. In the beginning, many Blue Notes were pressed in such small quantities, a couple of thousand all pressed at Plastylite, only one mother required. Later, bigger sales, more pressing runs, represses, more mothers and stampers, possibility of different processes.

      I’ll update the 9M page in due course.

      • Thanks Andrew, on my turn I double checked the 3 titles you mentioned.

        4011 (The Sermon) definitely has 9M on both sides. Although this is not a particularly rare (or sought after) title, it took me quite a while to find a “real” first pressing with all the right details (63rd st address, DG, no “Inc” or (r)).

        My copy of 4026 (Fuego) appears to have 9M on side 1 only (first press, 63rd st address and DG label). It was late yesterday evening, so I probably only just checked one side 😉

        With regard to 4067 (Bluesnik), my copy has the double sided DG, 63rd St address label (and 9M both sides). I have seen many copies of this title with the 63rd st labels, but with one side DG or no DG at all. Not sure if this might be related to the 9M stamps, but just mentioning…

        • Thanks Peter! Your re-review of Fuego confirms the information from my original submission – 9M on one side for Fuego. Also, my Bluesnik has 9M on both sides as well. Amazing collection you have! Well done! It appears that we are very close to having complete information regarding the 9M stamping. Still quite a mystery, but one with more visibility after pursuing this exercise.

          • Well thanks, Jim. It was actually quite fun pulling my Blue Notes out and checking the dead wax…
            Many thanks to LJC and you for raising the “9M” issue. In the past I used to have frequent conversations about all kind of details of BN records with Larry Cohn, the BN connoisseur. He always referred to “the mysterious” 9M stamp…

  5. All this 9M talk had me curious, I only own two 47 W 63rd pressings, New Soil BLP 4013 and Donald Byrd Live at the Half Note, V.1—BLP 84060, the latter of which does contain the 9M. Pretty interesting.

  6. my 9M update:
    1565 cliff jordan: NO
    1576 sonny clark sonny’s crib: 9M
    1580 johnny griffin the congregation: NO
    1590 lee morgan candy: 9M
    4024 jackie McLean swing swang swinging: 9M
    4032 sonny red out of the blue: 9M
    4045 freddie redd shades of redd: NO

    • Thank you as always Dottore, I have updated Jim R’s contribution with yours and my own. Still leaves us around twenty titles short in the 1500 series. Now I know you are all sitting there at home fondling your Jutta Hipp (your peccadillos are safe with me). If you can fill any of the gaps, mail me info, if you’ve got it, flaunt it.

      • Can’t read the table – it asks me to register with WordPress. Can you repost in a more idiot-friendly format? Thanks.

  7. As LJC states, this is great music for the blue hour- or any other time you may want to relax and slow your heart rate down. I obtained the excellent MusicMattersJazz reissue earlier this year and I’m delighted with it. Nothing not to like about this set!

  8. Kees needs to go back and try to listen without preconceptions. LD+3, Bottom’s Up and Blue Hour are all very good LPs. It is luddite (in the conceptual sense) to continue to insist that the 3 Sounds only produced schlock. Beseme Mucho on Bottom’s Up is classic 4000 series Blue Note, for example, and is exemplary of what made the Wolfe/Lion formula during that period so successful. Are all the of the Donaldson LP’s on Blue Note great? No, and the same can be said of several artists on the label. To continue to tease the 3 Sounds as a “nite-club act” is a weak excuse not to reevaluate the label on the whole and actively listen to what was once not praised. I learned this lesson from Wynton Marsalis while setting up his broadcast of Coltrane’s complete “Love Supreme” at the New Orleans’ Jazz Fest years ago. In a pre-Fest interview when I was making related comments about much of Kenton’s music Marsalis chastised me and told me to go back an listen to Kenton’s arrangements. It was a lesson worth hearing, for even if I still choose not to listen to much of Kenton’s music, I can appreciate it on its merits; and that should be the least that is true of the 3 Sounds and Blue Note’s less popular titles, as well.

    • Thank you for mentioning Stan Kenton in this context, who, in Ben Ratliff’s words, “…doesn’t sit comfortably amid the jazz traditions these days. (…) But did Kenton ever try hard. His passion remains impressive and, in a funny-sad way, beautiful.”

      • I hope I didn’t offend anyone.It is all a matter of taste and I can understand that,running a record label,there are also commercial issues involved.As a fanatic collector I have to confess that I still have four “Three Sounds” in my collection.I listened again and stick to my opinion that music-wise they are not interesting. I cherish BN 4120 because of the beautiful Reid Miles cover.

        • I’m afraid I’m with Kees on this one. I have had a copy of Blue Hour in the past — an indifferent Marconi reissue — but I don’t think I ever managed to play it all the way through. Put simply, I found it boring. My loss, I’m sure, but it is a matter of taste…

          I most certainly wouldn’t call it “a disgrace to the label”, however.

          I think Blue Note (in its much later incarnations) has put out titles that are a disgrace to the label’s heritage, but we can probably agree to draw a veil over that here…

  9. In September 1994 Stanley Turrentine and Eddie Harris played in Washington Square Park with the Cedar Walton Trio. At one point Eddie launched into one of his wild “scat” solos to fire up the mostly NYC college crowd. Stanley then stepped front and center and seemed to play note-for-note all of Eddie’s wild excursion. Being a big fan it blew me away. You could actually see a look of amazement on Eddie’s face who was standing off to the side. I was standing next to a group of older jazz heads who were blown away as much as I was. We had never heard Stanley play anything like that before. At that point we realized that he had skill sets we didn’t know existed. Stanley had mad skills that he just chose to never record.

    • I went to a Gene Harris / Stanley Turrentine show in Manchester in 1998. Stanley pulled out late due to ill health. Because we’d gone to hear Stanley, we were disappointed. Gene Harris looked very frail and had to be helped to the stage by his drummer. However, he was an absolute motherfucker that night, the best gig I ever heard. I was very stoned though.

  10. Interesting discussion regarding the appearance of 9M. I’m not so sure that 9M appears in every 1500 series first pressing. For example, I have had multiple flat edge first pressings of 1507 and 1508, none of which have had a 9M in the runoff. All have had hand etched RVG, the Plastylite P, deep groove, frame cover and flat edge vinyl. Also, with respect to 9M appearing after 4001, I have the following first pressings post-4001 with 9M in the trail off: 4004, 4025, 4026, 4057, 4058, 84060, and 4067. Not sure what this means but thought it might be helpful info.

    • Wild conjecture on my part, since I own only a fraction of the 1500 as originals or original metal derivatives. The existence of 9M has never been exhaustively documented, so I am grateful for your input. Let’s redefine: it is present on many but not all 1500 series. This is a good start.

  11. LJC, I’ve just dug out my very knackered original copy of this record – so worn that it sits in a box for records that time has forgotten – and it turned out that it was a mono, and had an RVG stamp and no 9M. This suggests that the stereo the Van Gelder stamped stereo was done even later that 3 years later, so a greater anomaly.

    With regards to these blue label reissues might it be worth drawing up a list of those that use Van Gelder metal work? I noticed last week that Herbie’s Empyrean Isles does.

    • Hei, to add to the confusion, I own what I considered the original mono copy of 4057, with double-sided deep groove and in the run-out stamped RVG, the ear AND 9M on both sides! Though it seems smaller and weaker etched than on some 1500s I compared it, too.

      Happy puzzling,

      • The 9M is definitely a weaker etch here, I only just caught a glimpse of it, it doesn’t shows in the straight labels picture, but it is definitely there and on both sides (another piece of the jigsaw just fell in -two blank acetates, each with 9M)

        • Yes sorry. The problem with a record that has a lot of scuffs. After some bright lights, I’ve spotted the 9M.
          So this means that two different lacquers were cut featuring the 9M some time after any others. Really puzzling and interesting.

    • Good suggestion, Dean – these are undervalued as they are really a repress from the original master and not a re-mastered reissue.

      These are in my collection, all stereo:

      84016 – Blakey At The Jazz Corner Vol2 – Blue/White b – “RVG STEREO”

      84101 – Donald Byrd Royal Flush – Blue/Black b – “VAN GELDER” “STEREO”

      84127 – Kenny Dorham Una Mas – Blue/White b – “VAN GELDER” “STEREO”

      84141 – J Smith Rockin’ the Boat – Blue/White b – “VAN GELDER” “STEREO”

      There may well be more, I got sloppy documenting the old Blue label where I had traded up to an original.

      Anyone else contribute any more info on blue labels with stamp info, fire away and I’ll make up a Guide. The use of original metal seems to me more important than “original label”.

      Of my 85 Liberty pressings of Blue Note records (ie NY or Division of Liberty label but no ear) 77 have VAN GELDER or RVG stamps, only 8 are not RVG’ed..

      • My blue/black b copy of Roll Call has RVG STEREO in the matrix. Sounds fine. Not the ideal pressing, but not half bad as a temporary fill-in until the real thing comes along.

        • I just went through a handful of these on my shelf and my Royal Flush which is Blue / White b no longer uses the Van Gelder stamped metal work.

          I found the following with
          BST 84096 Stanley Turrentine That’s Where It’s At Blue / White b

          BST 84132 Grant Green Feeling The Spirit Blue / black b

          BST 84149 Hank Mobley No Room For Squares blue / white b

          I did also check what I always liked as one of my best sounding Blue Notes and blue / black b copy of Grantstand and it was a newly mastered UA thing. So it just goes to show, something or other.

          • Anyone have thoughts on blue/black b without RVG? I usually pass, but I have recently seen some inexpensive clean copies of desirable 4100 series LPs and wonder if I’m missing the boat.

            • Blue without RVG metal is a lottery, a hostage to whether it has been well re-mastered or the tape has skipped a few generations.

              I was A:B ing yesterday a non-RVG blue against a non-RVG Liberty of the same title. Liberty was a clear winner and quite acceptable, the Blue less so. Possibly a random outcome.

              Though I avoid non-RVG blues, sometimes its all you can get, and an inexpensive punt. Usually turns out disappointing.

              The only blues with a very high success rate are the twofers. The blues I have learned to definitely avoid are the UA overseas pressings – English and French. Fairly horrid.

              • Thanks. That has generally been my experience as well. I suppose it depends on how desirable (and otherwise unattainable) is the LP at issue.

    • There’s no consistency among blue label pressings regarding whether or not they use Van Gelder metal work. I’ve seen the same titles with and without, earlier black “B” without while later white “B” with and vice versa.

      • I am sure you are right, things all over the place, but consistency aside, the presence of an RVG stamp is like a paternity test. It doesn’t lie, it tells who’s the daddy, the bloodline is established. RVG present = good, absence of RVG, who knows…

  12. Gene Harris is acceptable in this quartet setting.His trio Blue Notes are nothing more than an average night-club act.In my opinion they are a disgrace to the label.

    • There are apparently fifteen 3 Sounds albums on Blue Note, including the those into the Liberty years – one reason why I will never have a complete Blue Note collection. The other reasons will be most of the twenty seven titles of JS, not to mention twenty titles of present company Mr Sirley Scott.

      The contrast with Blue Note is how much of the catalogue is timeless and enduring.

      • I once DJed before Stanley Turpentine for a week a London’s Jazz Cafe. I wasn’t especially looking forward to it, thinking of Stanley as a worthy but hardly thrilling saxophonist.
        The first night was pretty good, and by the third night, he was firing on all cylinders. I’m not sure I have ever seen and heard such a masterful live performance on the tenor saxophone. I may not like all of his Blue Note Recordings, but I will always hold a soft spot for this marvellous player.

    • Not a disgrace!
      Every record label needs a pop act to support the serious stuff fans like you cherish. Surely you understand that Andrew Hill in all his brilliance is incapable of generating the funds to keep a record label above water.

      I agree with you the 3 Sounds are light affair. It is the same thing I hear people say about Hollywood studios; why do they keep making monsters and super hero movies? Cause that’s how you fund the artsy movies that only pleases a few intellectuals.

      When you say disgrace, I feel you have not thought things out clearly. Blue Note as it was ran by Lion and Wolffe remains an unattainable model of how to run a record label with integrity.

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