Welcome 2018: 1959 never sounded better!

Last post of the year, and some year it has been, so much discovery in modern jazz 1956-66 (give or take a few years) 2017 has really been a landmark. Not a lot of new acquisitions, the collector world seems increasingly in a hurry to buy up the past, at ever eye-watering prices, and that has never been my thing, more a snout, hunting truffles.

The siren-song of the “new addition” is still strong, but what I have enjoyed most this year is rediscovering the great music I already had, especially as it sounds better than ever with more investment in hi-fi voodoo, RFI-rejecting earthing of component-casing, fresh turntable belts, regular cartridge demagnetising,  and ultrasonic vinyl cleaning, if you want to know, bringing  “musicians in the room” ever closer.  2018 promises ever more opportunities to listen “old music”: the past has never sounded better.

It has been a pleasure having so many jazz lovers in my virtual listening room, and  my mailbox and the comment column  is always a surprise and delight each morning. This is stuff people want to share. We are not many in number, to scale, a thousand email subscribers, two thousand visitors a day, three million page views since 2011, about a day’s worth for some “celebrities”. It’s  been great fun and there will be more to come, we have hardly scratched the surface.  I’m looking forward to it, hope you are too.

I’m rapidly becoming allergic to the word “New!” Everything was new once, so what? I sat with a friend recently and listened through Mingus “Pithycanthropus Erectus” on the original black label Atlantic (1956). What an incredible, powerful piece of music that is, and towards close, that repeated unison “slam”  is still electrifying!

To play the year out and the new in, I had in mind a long list of favourite rediscoveries, but against the clock I settled for just one, the tune Park Avenue  Petite written by Bennie Golson and recorded for Bethlehem by Howard McGhee in 1960, on one of his brief non-custodial  sojourns. It sums up the beauty and sense of time of those most fertile of years, 1959 , Kind of Blue and its musical neighbours. Big city melancholy in the small hours, lovely arrangements and harmonies, and surefooted poignant melody.

From here on music moved onto  modal soundscapes, latin and bossa, boogaloo, the exquisite counterpoint of rhythm section entering the front line, soul jazz, and post bop, and everything else. As someone wrote, the most fun you can have with your clothes on. It’s called music, and we speak that here.

Dusty Blue – Park Avenue Petite

Howard McGhee (trumpet) Bennie Green (trombone) Roland Alexander (tenor sax) Pepper Adams (baritone sax) Tommy Flanagan (piano) Ron Carter (bass) Walter Bolden (drums) recorded NYC, June 13, 1960 (This edition, ridiculously desirable PMC1181 UK Parlophone)

.  .  .

Enjoy, open a single malt or whatever your poison, sink back into the sofa, and dip your toes into a time past. Yes, it had its troubles, all times have, but  what I like about that time is the optimism about the future, things becoming better, which they did, don’t let anyone tell you different. The glass is not half empty, it is half full – or  if not, top it up some more!

Any rediscoveries you have made this year, happy to hear what they are, the floor is yours, more adventures to come…Happy New Year!











29 thoughts on “Welcome 2018: 1959 never sounded better!

  1. Happy New Year! I’m in to jazz and collect it on CD (i know, i know). Although i don’t collect vinyl i still love it as part of the whole shebang in terms of The Music (artifacts, history, general music fan enthusiasm etc). Your blog is amazing, absolutely top notch. Aside from the general factual quality, your ‘voice’ just makes it so readable and enjoyable (might seem odd but it pleasantly reminds me of the English videogame magazines i used to read as a kid which were brimming with humour and personality). A true pleasure to check in and see what the latest post is, but i also love to do searches for older posts to see what your musings are/were. Also, love the pics. Please never stop! My only request would be for more Ellington if possible! Cheers and best wishes.

  2. London Jazz Collector is a marvelous source of record and music analysis, coverage of albums unfamiliar to me, informed opinion, humor, and much more! As a label, Bethlehem had a number of interesting 10- and 12-inch LPs, but, with the exception of some of the albums by Mel Torme and Frances Faye, too many vocalists for my taste. I purchased most of my Bethlehem LPs in later years (not when it was extant). The Ruby Braff albums are among my favorites, plus Stan Levey and other West Coast players, many of whom I heard live during the 1950s.

  3. Slightly belatedly, Andy, I’d like to wish you and all the other regulars here a very happy New Year! I’d also like to thank you for all the postings over the last 12 months – a truly exceptional level of output that I admire and wish I had the time to emulate. Ditto to everybody else for all the comments both here on the LJC blog and over on the discussion forum. All your willingness to share and compare notes in a genuinely friendly spirit is terrific and I especially appreciated the input from those of you who helped me finalise the selection of 40 LPs that went into my article for Long Live Vinyl magazine in 2017. I’m due to write some more for that magazine (and hopefully another publication) in 2018 so I may come back to pick your collection of jazz brains again!

  4. Happy New Year everyone!
    Thank you Andrew for all your hard work helping us focus our shared “Obsessive Compulsiveness” into an actual community!!!

  5. ‘Park Avenue Petite’ is a nice choice from a very good McGhee album. Call me pedantic (and people do) but unless I’m mistaken (and I often am) I believe this is the correct title of the Bennie Golson tune – not ‘Petite Park Avenue’ as you have it here.

    By the way, several other Howard McGhee albums are well worth looking out for: my favourite is probably ‘Maggie’s Back in Town’, on Contemporary, a 1961 quartet outing with Phineas Newborn, Leroy Vinnegar and Shelly Manne.

    While I’m on, congratulations on a fabulous site that I check out regularly and never cease to be impressed and amazed by.

    • I suffer Transpositional Dyslexia – a rare and poorly understood condition in which the sufferer selects or recalls items correctly but then places them in the wrong order. Thank you correction for the, amended duly .

  6. All the best for 2018 . Keep up the good work !
    Thanks for all the great music and the record information.

  7. Happy New Year and thank you for the opportunity to share my re-discovery of 2017. When I want to listen to one of the great Hank Mobley Blue Notes, the usual titles end up on the turntable. But recently, I’ve been playing Dizzy Reece’s Starbright (BN4023). I find it every bit as rewarding as Roll Call, maybe more so with with Blakey and Hubbard replaced by the more subtle players Taylor and Reece. The date misses the input of Mobley’s songs, but his playing on this set, as with all of his recordings from this period, is first-rate. Great date.

  8. Happy New Year, LJC, and all readers and participants. I enjoyed the distinctly noirish undertones in Petite Park Avenue — many thanks.

    In a year of fairly modest listening I think what I have gone to most — in no particular order — have been:

    Monk trio recordings
    Paul Bley solo recordings
    Von Schlippenbach Trio
    Stan Tracey
    Evan Parker
    Andrew Hill

  9. Happy New Year to all fellow collectors active on this, “our” site.
    No day passes without having a look of what’s going on in London. It is always rewarding.
    Many thanks Andrew for the great job you are so succesfully performing.
    Still I have not yet come up with a contribution in telling you which composition has struck me most in 2017. Going through my collection each day gives me the obvious nice (re)discoveries and the inevitable deceptions, names, which don’t give me what I expected.
    To name just one of the very nice discoveries is “Ghost Story” by Teo Macero and the Prestige Quartet, Prestige 7104.

    • before becoming world famous for his long work with Miles, Teo Macero recorded a few sessions on tenor saxophone. all have something different and are worth a listening. Rudolf cited What’s New in the recent past (Columbia CL 842). there’s a 10″ on Debut DLP 6 (with Mingus on bass), Explorations and what’s for me the best, Teo on Prestige 7104. the first pressing of this has an oddity on label: Ted Macero…
      astonished as my musical tastes are identical to Rudolf’s as emerged in years of comments.

      • Dottore: after you many years, you are learning me something, which I had not yet noticed. A misprint “TED” on the labels of 7104. I checked, indeed, my copy has TED too. My only excuse, for some unknown reason, I always play my Esquire copy, which, by the way, has TEO on the labels.
        You mention Debut DLP 6, which is one of my most precious albums, offering very exciting music. The music is virtually unknown to most, since, for copyright reasons, Fantasy could not include the album in their 12 CD box “Charles Mingus – the Complete Debut recordings”.
        Astonishing indeed how musical tastes can develop in parallel, either side of the Mont Blanc.

  10. Happy New Year to all. Thank you, LJC, for all the great writing over the past year.

    Bethlehem – what a fantastic label. I hope we see more of Belthelem in the new year. Dusty Blue was a nice listen. Sounds like you were bitten by the flute bug recently. Flute credit on the cut goes to Roland Alexander (per Discogs).

  11. Happy new year full of good jazz for everyone. I always learn something when I look at this blog. Thank you.

  12. Happy hunting in the New Year ! May your ears be filled with pops,clicks and hisses ! May your crate digging bring a million smiles and most of alll may everyone get out of the rut and in the groove !

  13. Happy New Year to you as well! Thank you for all the wonderfully informative LJC posts and your responses to some of my own questions. I do appreciate it.

    Sent from my iPhone


  14. Happy New Year from the USA.

    On behalf of all thinking Americans, please accept my apologies for the embarrassment that is Donald Trump.

    • I bless your ignorance if this is your only source of embarrassment. Wouldn’t it be wiser to exclude all political comments from this site, dedicated to collecting jazz records from the fifties/sixties?

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