First release 1999 on The Evil Silver Disc, first time on vinyl, Tone Poet 2020. Where I have an original Blue Note, I generally would not add a TP duplicate to my shelf, but the provenance of this recording is remarkable, and irresistable. First time on vinyl, indeed. They know how to get to me.
- “Mirrors” (Joe Chambers) – 6:52
- “For Duke P.” (Hutcherson) – 7:54
- “The Kicker” (Henderson) – 6:07
- “Step Lightly” (Henderson) – 14:18
- “Bedouin” (Pearson) – 8:11
Selection: Mirrors (Chambers)
. . .
Tough choice, so many great sounding tracks.
Note this copy has a repeating click for some minutes . Supplied sealed as from RTI. Likely result of a piece of sharp grit as the LP slides into the inner sleeve during packing. Should have sent it back.
Joe Henderson, tenor sax; Bobby Hutcherson, vibes; Duke Pearson, piano; Grant Green, guitar; Bob Cranshaw, bass; Al Harewood, drums; recorded Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, December 29, 1963
Same personel, Grant Green’s iconic Blue Note Idle Moments was recorded just six weeks earlier, on 4 &15 Nov 1963,
Idle Moments II? The tunes may differ, but the same luminous quality of sound, recorded only six weeeks apart. Reviewers make a big deal of the recording being the same musicians, but they are missing the most important commonality: Van Gelder. Six weeks apart, Rudy would no doubt use the same microphone makes and models for each instrument, and the same positioning/ placement, why would he not? And mix it similarly, as the same studio configuration would generate simlar levels.
Mirrors: Henderson’s deep breathy tenor, caressing the notes as he makes his solo entrance, from one speaker, has you jumping out of your skin simulaneously sending shivers down where your spine previously was, moments ago. The similarity demonstrates how critically the engineer shapes the sound.
The CD first edition of The Kicker was not the only Cuscuna-produced Blue Note in 1999, Joe Chambers got to lead his own session as leader, in 1998, for a Blue Note CD titled Mirrors. Needs vinyl, chaps.
The title track The Kicker, a jaunty upbeat romp with a trolley-car klaxon “hook”, is a Henderson tune that has more lives than a cat. It appears also on Horace Silver’s Song for My Father, and Henderson’s own album same title The Kicker for Milestone (neither link includes a rip of that actual tune)
Strongest tracks are Mirrors, The Kicker, and Step Lightly, though they all have merit. If there is one weak spot for me it is Bedouin. Duke Pearson’s haunting version on Wahoo! is the definitive reading to my mind. It is Pearson’s composition, and it is him here playing it, he’s entitled to play it how he likes. If you are used to the slower pace on Wahoo!, the presentation here sounds like you have accidentally set your turntable speed to 45rpm, or they were rushing to get the session over with. I must go check my copy of Grant Green’s Matador for another reading of “Bedouin”.
Despite being Bobby’s debut Blue Note recording as leader, the session is generously more ensemble-spirited, walk-in guest Grant Green on a couple of tracks, Henderson’s presence ensures the album is more rounded, not overwhelmed by vibraphone, with lots of solo space for everyone. Terrific session, terrific recording, some of that Idle Moments magic in the air.
Vinyl: Blue Note Tone Poet BST 21437
This Hutcherson’s “debut” as leader recording was shelved. Instead Blue Note show-cased Hutcherson’s prodogious talent with the album Dialogue (4198), Freddie Hubbard, Andrew Hill and Sam Rivers, released 18 months later in August 1965. That album included another momentous “Stopped Time™ ” track “Idle While”.
Kevin Gray’s AAA mastering breathes new life into the recording, sonically superb, with a rich theatrical soundstage. I consider this an absolutely must have TP for its 1963 provenance, and probably more so than the other Hutcherson recently reissued Oblique (future post)
Harry M’s Update: Bobby Hutcherson and Grant Green, 1969
Reader Mike has sent me a picture of a mystery edition of Albert Ayler’s Love Cry – a title released by Impulse in 1968, on the black/red rim label current at the time. I’ll put you in the picture, with Mike’s mystery release ASR 9165, left, with the US original for comparison, right.
I love a good mystery. A quick check on Discogs brings up no similar entry, that would be too easy, nor is there a trace of the ASR catalogue number – Audio Science Review, and Automated Speech Recognition are the closest search results. So, on with the deerstalker and out with the Meerschaum pipe.
It took me a few minutes to crack it, but I’ll hold back to start, I thought it would be fun to give you home-sleuths a chance to pitch their ideas. Why should I have all the fun? The first reader to come up with a convincing solution gets, well, the satisfaction of being LJC’s Smartarse Of The Week. Judges decision is final, only one winner, however, it is a coveted award, I’m open to offers…