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”.
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
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
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
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.
Youtube – note first comment is from D’Silva’s son, Stephano, reference Stephano’s Dance.
Your intrepid time-travelling jazz paparrazi, Harry M., has shot me this picture of Ian Carr, from Montreux, 1970.
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.
“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”
“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. “
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.
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.