Selection: New Delhi (Feldman)
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My DJ informant on what’s hip and what’s not tells me the killer track is Pavanne, . which is a processional dance. That’s as may be, but I’m running with the Victor Feldman composition New Delhi. What its got to do with the capital of India, search me, but it has a good vibe.
Nat Adderley, cornet; James Clay, flute, tenor sax; Victor Feldman, vibes; Gene Harris, piano; Sam Jones, bass; Louis Hayes, drums, recorded at United Recording, Los Angeles, CA, October 11, 1960
Line up looks like The Loan Arranger comes to town. James Clay on loan from The Lawrence Marable Quartet, Gene Harris on loan from The Three Sounds, rest of the rhythm section and brother Nat on loan from the Cannonball Adderley Quintet, and Victor Feldman on loan from England.
After making a sparkling contribution on one of jazz’s holy grail titles Lawrence Marable Quartet Featuring James Clay – Tenorman. Jazz West JWLP8 (1956) James Clay finally made his debut as leader on this Riverside title, A Double Dose of Soul (RLP 9349). The Riverside connection also found him work on a handful of other Riverside sessions, including James Clay & David “Fathead” Newman – The Sound Of The Wide Open Spaces!!!! (RLP 12-327 ) and Wes Montgomery – Movin’ Along.( RLP 342 )
However it seems no further dates were forthcoming. In Sixties New York, I guess, tenors were ten-a-penny. Clay returned to Texas where he languished in relative obscurity over the following three decades, returning to the studio in 1989 to record a couple of titles as the James Clay Quartet. Clay died on New Year’s day, January 1, 1994; Dallas, TX, aged 58.
Victor Feldman settled in Los Angeles, and enjoyed a quirky musical career, pictured bottom left The Arrival of Victor Feldman…with much-missed Scott La Faro; Mallets A Forethought as Nominee for worst Vibraphone record cover ever, and recording such promising titles as The World’s First Album of Soviet Jazz Themes, an album I am confident you all have on your shelves, featuring great songs like “Moscow After Dark“, and “‘Round About Midnight (knock on the door)”.
Feldman is probably best known for turning down an offer to join the Miles Davis Quintet in 1963, settling instead for less artistically demanding but more lucrative session work for the US film and recording industry. He also dabbled in 70s pop scene – who can forget his riveting opening conga beat on Steely Dan’s Do It Again? Well, I’m trying. (Cue Victor Feldman conga intro, electric piano, Steely Dan…)
Half the tracks feature Clay on tenor, the other half feature the flute, to which instrument Clay brings a forward and assertive style that lifts it above the watery chirruping of some flautists. The “Double Dose” in the album title is like “Triple Threat”, a reference to instrumental versatility, two instruments. Or something you go discretely to the doctors for treatment. All in all I think this is a great and undervalued album, full of promise, destiny not fulfilled.
Vinyl: RLP 9349 US Riverside stereo
Like many US Riverside pressings, little or no visible etchings in the runout, usually a sign of someone not proud of their own work.
Collectors, can we talk?
Are you a disciplined, well-organised collector who maintains meticulous military-precision filing order in their shelves? Or are you basically a collector slut: albums scattered over the floor in random piles, relying on memory where any record you want to play may be? For the last couple of years, I confess I have been the latter.
Records pulled for playing were not returned to their proper place. Records were miss-filed simply under approximate artist position, in an ultimately inadequate attempt to restore order. Newly purchased records were never added to the master database, and technically “did not exist”. Duplicates were hidden following upgrades, and the expensive upgrade was not recorded. Whole artist sections had disappeared into random piles. Something had to be done, but the prospect was daunting.
There would be little point in “filing” those records out on the floor into a system that was itself in disorder. It had to be a fundamental re-ordering of every record in the collection, all two and a half thousand of them. A plan was hatched.
First step was to update the database, with every record acquired in the last two or more years that was out on the floor. Many more would be discovered in the course of the refilling process. Many more.
The updated database listing was sorted alphabetically by Artist Last_name and Album title. A few decisions were required as to under whose name an album should be classified. James Clay or Lawrence Marable was one that topically comes to mind. And all the variably titled Francy Bolland Kenny Clarke Big Band albums. The database list would be the arbiter of which record belonged where, the master filing list was then printed to paper – amounting to 36 pages.
The next task was to put in alphabetical order the three to four hundred records out on the floor. Some old IKEA boxes and a clever vinyl separating 12×12 index card set (on-line from VinylGuru) provided the temporary structure. From there on each main filing system cabinet shelf was emptied in turn, correctly put in alphabetical order as per the master filing list, and any albums from the floor added to their proper place.
Many omissions were found and corrected in the painstaking process. I found many records I had forgotten I had. Some records I can’t remember buying or even playing. Three records I found I had mistakenly bought twice.
Towards the very the end of the alphabet, somewhere around Phil Woods, I ran out of filing cabinet space. It was wishful thinking that everything out on the floor would fit into already full existing shelves. Larry Young and a section of compilations (“Various Artists”) had to be found another home.
The whole process, from start to finish, took four and a half days, by the end of which, to be honest, I never wanted to see another record again.
(Photo-simulation, but to scale)
But it was done, order forged out of chaos, and I had found a whole list of “new records” I wanted to become re-acquainted with. All I have to do now is…keep it in order.
That could prove an even bigger challenge.