Joe Harriott/ Amancio D’Silva: Hum Dono (1969) Vocalion 2015

Selection 1: (previously posted from British Jazz Explosion compilation) : Hum Dono (D’Silva)

.  .  .

Selection 2: N.N.N.T (D’Silva)

.  .  .

Internet search for the initials “N.N.N.T.” draws a complete blank. What could they signify? “Hum Dono” translates as “just us two”.

Tracklist

A1 Stephano’s Dance (D’Silva) 8:12
A2 Spring Low, Sweet Harriott (Harrriott/Spring) 1:55
A3 Ballad For Goa (D’Silva) 7:41
B1 N.N.N.T. (D’Silva) 3:39
B2 Hum Dono (D’Silva 6:52
B3 Jaipur (D’Silva) 8:07

Artists

Joe Harriott, alto saxophone; Dave Green, bass (omit A2); Bryan Spring, drums; Ian Car, flugelhorn (A1, B3); Amancio D’Silva, guitar (omit A2), Norma Winstone, scat vocals (A1, A3, B3); engineers: Adrian Kerridge (A3 to B2), Mike Weighell (A1, A2, B3); recorded at Lansdowne Studios, London, February & March 1969, Supervision, Denis Preston.

Norma-alert! Whilst I generally avoid albums with vocals, in particular Norma Winstone , her wordless scat contributions here are acceptable in the context of a cultural fusion canvas. She still has me slightly on edge, for fear she might suddenly go off-piste with literary nonsense lyrics, or go the full Cleo Lane Laine – Mrs Dankworth scat doop-a-dadeep-dudoo-dldo-ded-ada, but thankfully she stays steady on course. A pleasant bonus is Ian Carr’s flugelhorn on Stephano’s Dance and Ballad for Goa, which ensures a more varied soundscape 

Music

Reviews (abridged) of the 2015  Vocalion reissue

“Steeped in mythical status due to the limited run of the original vinyl pressing, and the high esteem in which it is held by any musicians and listeners lucky enough to have heard it, Hum Dono does not disappoint, and is unquestionably one of the greatest of British jazz albums.

Kevin Le Gendre, Jazzwise magazine, March 2015

“ It’s something of a perplexing mystery as to why the album Hum Dono, deemed a lost classic by this country’s jazz cognoscenti, has never been reissued before; original vinyl copies only 2,000 were pressed  by Columbia. (sic – EMI)

This stunning gem of a collaboration represents the last recording by the great alto-saxophonist and freeform jazz pioneer Harriott.  Undoubtedly a masterpiece of cross-cultural fusion…. Harriott’s contribution, with his darting, arabesque-like sax lines, is an important component in helping to weave disparate musical elements together. Ethereal vocals by Norma Winstone add to the album’s sonic allure”
Charles Waring, Record Collector magazine, March 2015

Hum Dono is the killer title track which monstered the Jazz DJ dancefloor. An  insistent rhythmic guitar beat and spare key changes, supporting a quirky loose tune, punctuated by delicious Harriott alto runs. It fills nearly seven minutes quite comfortably,
 
D’Silva is an inventive hybrid of a Wes Montgomery/ Grant Green style linear play and an eclectic Indian vocabulary. Joe Harriott was born in the West Indies but there is nothing roots-reggae in his voice. One critic described Hum Dono as ” UK post-colonial fusion”, which may be historically accurate but doesn’t add much to understanding of the music (dons pith helmet, colonises and then oppresses nations for hundreds of years).  This is Anglo-Indian British jazz, peculiar to the British jazz scene in the crossover from the 1960’s to the 1970’s. It is more “Anglo” than Indian in the John Mayer Indian classical collaborations around the same time.
 

Vinyl: Vocalion VOCLP 3303 (Mfg. 2015)

180 gram reissue cut from the original  analogue tapes by Noel Summerville at 3345 Mastering, London. Pressed by MPO, France ( Moulages et Plastiques de l’Ouest)  located in the Loire, North West France, nice place to press records!

The MPO logo ® is followed by a laser etched stamper number in the format ## #####, the first two digits indicating the pressing year. This copy was pressed in 2020.

 

 

Stephano’s Dance

Youtube – note first comment is from D’Silva’s son, Stephano, reference Stephano’s Dance.

Harry’s Place

Your intrepid time-travelling jazz paparrazi, Harry M., has shot me this picture of Ian Carr, from Montreux, 1970.

Collector’s Corner

Discogs tells the story of the original Lansdowne release : 74 Have; 1,230 Want:; two for sale from £3,000 ($4,000) 

This princely sum you get this Lansdowne Series original on EMI/  Columbia Magic Notes. The “Magic Notes” today are of course pound notes, 3,000 of them. Like some other Lansdowne Series there is a laminated and unlaminated version of the sleeve. One is worth much more than the other (but I can’t remember which) 

 

You could do worse and invest a pauper’s sum in the Vocalion vinyl edition:, at around only £15/$20 plus postage. (British collectors – if you have any money left after paying your gas and electricity bills this month) Humo Dono on vinyl is a one-off, Vocalian  issue primarily on The Evil Silver Disk., adverts on the back cover include  three LJC vinyl posts: D’Silva’s Konkan Dance,  Alan Skidmore’s TCB, and Harold McNair 

The vinyl audio quality is what I would call “solid analogue” wide tonal range and fast timing. Since I don’t have an original for comparison, I can’t say more. Lansdowne original Magic Notes are some of the best recordings I have ever heard on vinyl.  This doesn’t quite have the magic of the best, but it is not far off, and it is way above a lot of indifferent modern vinyl knocking about. 

Industry Insider Chatter: the uphill struggle to reissue classic British jazz

The more I looked into rare and cripplingly expensive British Jazz titles from the late 60s and early 70s, the more I discovered of the insider’s battle against the record companies to get this music out. . 

Though we now have a few quality modern reissues from original tapes – the Rendell-Carr Lansdowne box set, and the Tubby Hayes box set, and a couple of records from Decca/Verve, these are only the result of sheer tenacity of a handful of entrepreneurs, a two-decade uphill march against the indifference of the men and increasingly women in corporate suites that hold legal title. Bang goes my chance of a hospitality ticket to next year’s Grammys, perk of the industry job: 

 

Some snippets from the “Very Good Plus Forum“, one which I wasn’t familiar with, posts dating from 2015. 

14-10-2014, 03:26 PM
“Universal don’t care about their back catalogue unless it will make them a ton of money – unfortunately they don’t put UK jazz in this category. So Vocalion did a deal for Hum Dono with D’Silva’s son instead, and it will be out on CD soon.”
 

“Here’s the sorry saga as I experienced it, and as best I remember. In 2007 I released Pendulum by the Mike Taylor Quartet on Sunbeam, licensed direct from Lansdowne, from whom I was also in the process of licensing numerous other titles”

(LJC adds: Sunbeam Records, a UK label specialising in reissues of overlooked rock, folk and jazz albums, co-founded by music journalists Richard Morton Jack and Steven Carr in 2005)

“Shortly after Pendulum appeared, Universal demanded that we cease to sell it. It emerged that Denis Preston had sold the rights to his Record Supervision business to Polydor in 1978, supposedly including the Lansdowne masters. The extremely nice Adrian Kerridge, who’d bought the studio itself from Preston at much the same time, was under the impression that he owned the rights to the catalogue (though no one had ever approached him for any British jazz licenses until I came along).

Matters were complicated by the fact that all the copy masters Preston had originally supplied to EMI were / are now in the hands of Universal (stored in Germany, I think), though Adrian still held the original tapes in the library at Lansdowne. He and I weren’t about to go to battle, so I simply pulled the album.

I then asked Universal if we could license the titles from them, and was fobbed off for years, until I gave up in 2011 or so. I cannot emphasise enough how incompetent and unprofessional the various people I dealt with at Universal were. I dreamed of putting out these titles with real love and respect, including thorough liner notes and rare images, but they just couldn’t be bothered to communicate. No one I ever encountered there had a clue about the musical or cultural significance of these jazz titles.

To cap things, it later emerged that they were declining to pay Amancio D’Silva’s widow the paltry royalties she was due on the basis that they ‘weren’t sure if they owned the albums’ – though they expressed no such doubt to me. “

LJC says:

I have no inside knowledge of the music business, but it must be unusual for a recording studio to own the legal rights to publish music, simply because they recorded it, or because their library holds the tapes. I am not a lawyer, but the studio is paid for the session. It doesn’t own the rights, otherwise the Van Gelder Estate would own the Blue Note catalogue, not UMG. 

Here’s the dilemma. Record companies own the legal rights to these recordings. Executives have a day-job, a duty to shareholders in the company that employs them. Big names, contemporary artists, Grammy Award-winners, TV talent show winners, influencers of social media with millions of followers,  all pull the purse strings, generate many millions in revenue. UMG had a market valuation of $54 billion when it became publicly traded last year. This is their business:

“UMG’s established and emerging global superstars were top-sellers in the UK, where we had 7 of the top 10 according to the Official Charts Company: Taylor Swift, Drake, ABBA, Olivia Rodrigo, Eminem, The Weeknd and The Beatles” (extract from UMG Chair/CEO Sir Lucian Grainge’s Xmas message) .This is their world: 

Record companies are not paid to be custodians of our cultural history, but they are sitting on it. Vintage British Jazz is something of a niche, but many niches are viable through specialist niche providers, Music Matters Jazz, Tone Poet, Blue Note US prove that. Tone Poets and Vinyl Classics sell out rapidly. ERC sell out their miniscule numbers instantly on pre-order. There are niche producers who would do all the heavy lifting and it doesn’t cost Decca/UMG anything to license these recordings out. Why not? The missing ingredient is someone who cares enough about this music to make it happen, and it seems there isn’t one.

Decca’s latest vinyl “jazz” release ( pre-order May 2022)

“Melody Gardot and Philippe Powell breathe a new life into the classic voice and piano format with their new Jazz record, ‘Entre eux deux’.  Here’s a peek into the world of two artists who just really dig each other. We hope you really dig it too.” 

Do you “Dig it”?  

Consolation Prize: the  latest Tone Poet releases, which I definitely “dig”, two more to add to the shopping list.  

 

Horizon Scanning

This one I don’t know what to make of. The New Jazz Orchestra’ (Neil Ardley et al)  only other album, Western Reunion London 1965, has bobbed up at Juno, released by “Mad About Records“, which claims to be licensed from UMG Portugal, . Never heard of the label, its other titles on the obi are inconsequential to say the least, and what’s it got to do with Portugal?

Released by Decca in 1965 in mono, it’s only reissue was in 2006, remastered for stereo CD for our friends Vocalion. Reads to me like a repeat performance of the Ian Carr Belladona reissue. Take a digital file from a master prepared for CD. Whack it to GZ Media for a few thousand 180gm vinyl copies and lay a false trail about sources and legals. Just guesswork but an example of how entrepreneurs work their way around  the arrogance and indifference of record companies sitting on our cultural heritage. Make a small amount of money for themselves, and make a few people happy in the process.

 

26 thoughts on “Joe Harriott/ Amancio D’Silva: Hum Dono (1969) Vocalion 2015

  1. I misread your opening, LJC. I thought it said:

    “Internet search for the initials N.N.N.T. draws a complete blank. What could they signify? Hum Dono…”

    And I laughed quietly and thought, very clever. But you missed the opportunity!

    Like

  2. This installment has left me more angry than any other.
    I will implore all music lover’s, especially jazz, to read about the Universal Fire that happened in the US a dozen years ago. The details of it all will describe their tragic, disgusting, vile indifference to music history, & American cultural history, in general. These whores of the dollar would incinerate every original recording they could if it would mean earning vast profits. Go read what was lost forever in the UMG Fire.

    Thank You for profiling this fantastic & incredibly rare Joe Harriot album. Love it.

    Word of advice to anyone that may care: Avoid the Jackie McLean ‘Tippin’ The Scales’ Blue Note Tone Poet reissue…..I purchased it & RETURNED IT for a full refund.
    Is every Blue Note deserving of a reissue?…….NO.
    Other Jackie McLean Blue Note albums, the really good ones that were reissued, you cant get them or youre paying alot more. ‘Tippin’ The Scales’ is plentiful & everywhere because it stinks. Jackie McLean was imitating Maynard Ferguson on this album. Blue Note should provide ear plugs or aspirin with every purchase.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, Victor and all. I could feel my blood pressure rise as I read the poor attitude from “Universal”. The idiocy of storing most all their masters in the middle of a theme park where they should have never been located in the first place. Destroying the only priceless one of a kind originals that had real value and what made the company. And then covering it up for twelve years!!! I loathe these cretins and their pompous ways. Please read, if you haven’t already, the sober findings in the NYT magazine June 16, 2019. The truth came out. Thank you.

      Like

      • Behind paywall, unhelpfully, but you may get a one-off free read

        But also copied in other sites free to read
        https://ontherecord.co/2019/07/18/the-day-the-music-burned/

        Some key take aways:

        ” Most of John Coltrane’s Impulse masters were lost, as were masters for treasured Impulse releases by Ellington, Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Art Blakey, Sonny Rollins, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, Alice Coltrane, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, Pharoah Sanders and other jazz greats.”

        “For decades, the music industry was exclusively a business of now, of today’s hot release, of this week’s charts — of hits, not history. “Nobody cared about catalog,” says an industry veteran. “Stuff that was five years old might as well have been 1,000 years old.” One insider said, “Most senior executives in the record business have no understanding of what masters are, why you need to store them, what the point of them is.” Crucially, masters were not seen as capable of generating revenue. On the contrary: They were expensive to warehouse and therefore a drain on resources. To record-company accountants, a tape vault was inherently a cost center, not a profit center.”

        “It is a paradox of the record business: Labels have often been cavalier about physically safeguarding masters, but they are zealous guardians of their ownership and intellectual-property rights.”

        Like

      • Gary, I actually saved the print copy of that NYT’s Magazine. I still have it. It upset the hell out of me, maybe I was being ridiculous but I dont care.
        Ive commented in other LJC installments about this. To describe what happened is a bit complicated to those that arent familiar with the specifics of recorded music predating the digital era.
        After that article, there was a flurry of lawsuits & the evil corporate media gave it zero coverage, (yes, they are all evil). They ruled that Universal owned these irreplaceable originals & it was within that right of ownership to let them burn. Their right to stupidly neglect the storage & safekeeping of them.
        This was a loss of Western civilization. The actual master tapes that were created when these musicians originally recorded them, burned….gone forever….The world ends up with a recording of a recording, a copy of a copy…The Originals dont exist anymore.
        Honestly, because of their age, some extremely good copies had to be made of the masters & they were. Gratitude to all involved in this.
        Many though, the ones which didnt have big commercial value to be reissued, copies of those were not made.
        Be careful in tossing out mint condition, not very popular, record albums. They might be the best recording left in existence.

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  3. Your next two Tone Poet are really splendid, and by the way, “Out of Blue” has risen in value since the announcement of its Tone Poet reissue (which is usual). Without a doubt, Universal is doing a great job with its Classic Vinyl and Tone Poet collections, although the reissue of authentic jewels that sleep in its extensive catalog is missing. How long will these collections last? Well, money is the key, as long as they sell well they will continue to reissue, because they are not interested in our love for Blue Note and its jewels. So we must cross our fingers so that the dollars flow through their hands… and their happiness will also be ours. It’s sad but that’s how it is.
    Carlos J Martin

    Like

    • Now that is a low ball, Jan.

      1599 is one of my most favourite often played Blue Notes. The title track and Lullaby of the Doomed are electrifying. There is a smidgin of Babs Gonzalez on one track,: zoo bazoobadooda hardly noticed among that smouldering brass ensemble. Doesn’t qualify as a “vocal album”, not conceded.

      1561 Palo Conga you got me, but it’s just a flesh-wound. Cuban group call-and-answer chanting over percussion? You are stretching the boundary of “singing” but I can’t deny, most tracks have some sort of “vocals”.

      Settle for a draw?

      Like

  4. I’ve got that New Jazz Orchestra ‘Western Reunion’ reissue on order. The same company also did a reissue of Arman Ratip ‘The Spy From Istanbul’ several years ago. They did a nice job of that one so hoping for more of the same. Suspect that it would be the next millennium before Decca ever get round to this one on vinyl.

    Like

  5. I have this reissue, but have never seen the original.

    D’ Silvas guitar licks sound strange ,a kind of hybrid ofCharley Christian and Ravi Shankar ideas , but is works.Unlike the Mike Taylor stuff, I don’t play this album so often , given it’s apparent status as a corner stone of modern British Jazz .I will dig it out and give it a
    re listen.

    You make some interesting comments on large record companies first priority being their current top selling and highly rewarded superstars …….I read somewhere that D’Silva supported himself by working in a pub down the East End!

    Like

  6. I’ve heard similar stories of Universal specifically being near impossible to deal with for releases that aren’t familiar to big box retail shoppers. Right down to the not being sure if they own the rights, but not being arsed to check either. It’s also odd the kind of stuff that they seemingly turn a blind eye to (I can think of some unlicensed prog/psych reissues that seem like they’d be under the Uni ownership) and what they don’t.
    It also kind of surprises me the Tone Poet series rolls on. I’m pleased, but it always amuses me a bit seeing these titles proudly displayed in my local shop knowing I couldn’t have found them there when they were on CD in the 90s and 00s. Being in the US, I’d really rather they dig out some of the European gems I’d never had any exposure to (like the title featured in this post), but I’m just impressed it’s not the usual annual upgrade of Soul Station or Blue Trane.

    Like

  7. I am sad to see that you are not just a Norma hater, but a proudly public Norma hater. She is the quintessential voice of British jazz during the golden period.
    Repent!

    Like

    • I am not against Norma personally, I’m sure she’s a lovely person, I am against singing on jazz records. Of my 2,500 records, only two have vocals on them, which I never play. On Blues Rock, Pop and Soul, it is perfectly proper, part of the genre, but not jazz. Possibly I’m the only one who thinks that way, but I nail my colours to the mast. Blue Note catalogue, 350 titles, number with singers? I think none, but may be I missed one.

      Like

      • Two that I can think of: Sheila Jordan and Dodo Greene.

        By the way, you didn’t comment on the pressing or sound quality of this reissue, how did you find it?

        Regards

        Anthony

        Like

        • Yes, 2 titles in 350, well done, Dodo Greene and Sheila Jordan, both I think 1962, and one-offs. The Jordan was strange, issued with a very unusual catalogue number BLP 9002. Was this intended to be a harbinger of a new series, not continued because basically they didn’t sell? I have seen both in the wild just once.

          Like

          • Interesting. I have both of these and they seem totally out of sync with the rest of the label’s output. I like the Sheila Jordan but Dodo Greene….I have tried and failed to appreciate. Anyone want the Connoisseur cd reissue, contact me!

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      • Since when does Blue Note’s releases constitute the authority of the ‘jazz police’ and what is or is not allowed in jazz??
        🙂
        Jazz and other ‘unpopular music’ labels represent the main interests of the people who are running them; maybe Alfred Lion was scared as a child as a vocalist, and never recovered!

        Like

    • I really like Jazz vocals, but can’t stand Norma, though I do tolerate her when she appears on classic British jazz recordings, other less classic titles with too much Norma are long gone.

      Like

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