Mingus: The Lost Album at Ronnie Scotts (1972) Resonance, 2022

 

Selection: Orange Was The Colour Of Her Dress, Then Silk Blues Pt 2

.  .  .

A short snippet of 5 minutes, as all the other tracks are around 20 minutes which is too long for a “taster” rip

Artists

Charles McPherson, alto saxophone; Bobby Jones, tenor saxophone, clarinet; John Foster, piano; Charles Mingus, bass; Roy Brooks, drums, saw; recorded live by mobile recording studio on August 14 -15, 1972 at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, London, England.

Resonance 2022 issue Executive-ProducerGeorge Klabin; produced for release by  David Weiss and Zev Feldman.

Music:

 Music doesn’t get more exciting than this. Heard here at the last leg of their 1972 European tour, each of the players confident and seasoned in the Mingus playbook and each other. The  Sextet performance is astonishing “organised chaos”,  Mingus at the helm at his very best. Though some of the compositions are familiar, the live setting and audience enthusiasm energises the pieces. I can only regret not to have been there in person, but the the musical taste of this writer in the early 70’s still had a long way to be formed.

Man-in-the-Shed , who queued two hours to secure this copy for me, was so struck by the music and the audio quality that he has since tracked down a copy for himself. Could have been the end of a long friendship were it otherwise.

Vinyl: Resonance HLP 9063

Full-length 3xLP 33 1/3 rpm, 180gm vinyl, original 8-track tapes baked, transferred and remixed by Bill Smith at United Recordings Silver Lake California, mastered by Bernie Grundman, pressed by RTI, Camarillo California. Initially limited to 5,000 copies distributed through RSD April 2022. 

Superb live club ambiance of the Mingus sextet, astonishing sound recording quality, beautifully mixed stereo balance, stupendous playing captured on vinyl quite literally thrilling, engaging, flawless pressing by RTI. Grundman can be rightly proud to put his signature “BG” etching in the runout, unquestionably among the best if not the best sounding record in my entire collection, in large measure down to the original CBS engineers  in the recording truck (not mentioned anywhere that I could find) and the remixing craft assembling the soundstage from an eight-track recording.

. The 25-odd minutes a side goes flying by, judiciously squeezed on one of the sides  to within just a few millimetres of the label. No distortion  to my ear, but in the raucous organised cacophony of Mingus at full tilt, who would notice. This album is just fabulous, it would be criminal not to press more than the initial 5,000 batch. 

Tri-fold

One interesting feature of the photo’s of the performance, which pass without comment, is the microphones that made this magnificent recording possible. Those microphones are the heroes of the night, and the site recording engineers. I can’t identify the make of mic. Roy Du Nann’s fabulous Contemporary albums of the ’50’s used to list the make and model of each mic as part of the sleeve notes, what made the music and vinyl great. Twenty years later, taken for granted, or cropped out as obscuring the artist. 

Nice to see Alan Skidmore on the bill. Yours truly did a midweek gig Upstairs at Ronnies , circa 1970, R&B /blues band “Stuff”

Where’s Francis Wolff when you need him? And our own jazz paparazzi, Harry M? It was a superb ensemble performance, the very essence of jazz, musicians playing together, but no picture as a group or sense of place of Ronnie Scotts. I have seen passport photos that look more exciting, but I guess this was the best they had. 

16 Page Booklet (Extract)

It’s the seven tape boxes, fifty years old, that is the icing on the cake. Every time I read somewhere that  a record is “from the original tapes” – I want to demand “right, if you have them, then show me them”. 

Mingus The Lost Album Booklet  – the original  8-track tapes

Booklet (Extract) The Story of The Tapes

Album Production Credits

Crestfallen, just short of number 4,000 out of 5,000. How long was stamper life? One stamper or two?  I was told the story of another friend of a friend who recorded and sold vinyl as limited edition. I guess they are all limited editions nowadays, that is the vinyl business model. 

Will you be numbering each record, he was asked. No he replied. Just the covers are numbered. The record that goes in that cover is taken at random from the boxes of vinyl delivered by the pressing plant. It bears no relation to the pressing sequence. To do that, you would have to put the number sequentially on each record after pressing, or number its inner sleeve.  No plant is  going to do that for you. Just number the cover, everyone’s happy.

So I have cover number 3943.  I may have a first or last off the stamper record, or somewhere in the middle, depending on how many copies RTI pressed with a stamper.

That is the thing with knowledge. One minute you think you know something, the next, you realise you know not very much at all. Bummer, or good news, hope springs eternal.

Harry’s Place

Sadly, Harry M, our jazz paparazzi and Time Lord, wasn’t able to attend the 1972 Ronnie Scotts gig,  but he grabbed Mingus at Montreux 1975, which is close enough.

Photo-credit © Harry M

Collector’s Corner

2022 Record Store Day announcement

Let battle commence.  .  .

Personally, I think  music of this quality and audio is worth it at more or less any price, never mind the opportunist mark-up, that is the fault of restricted supply, like Mobley 1568 and a few hundred collectors world wide. 

You may not like it but the market is never wrong: supply and demand meet through price. Some of the people queueing at dawn on RSD, while you slept,  were arbitrageurs. That is why you may still be able to get a copy, but for two to three times more than £69.99 I paid. Look it’s only money, no amount of which gets you music this good.

Anyone else have any feedback on this issue, the floor is yours. I should add, I have no opinion about the CD set. Often it seems to me with some releases the vinyl edition is just an add-on to the CD and digital download.  Not here. The vinyl is the primary focus, top notch mastering and engineering, absolutely right, reaches the heights of genuine audiophile editions. 

LJC

 

12 thoughts on “Mingus: The Lost Album at Ronnie Scotts (1972) Resonance, 2022

  1. I played my copy today and I wholeheartedly agree with you….this is an exceptionally fine release! One of the best Mingus I own and I own them all. Regarding your “number” I really would not lose any sleep over it for several reasons. As you rightfully suspect, the number on the jacket has no relationship whatsoever to the number that came off the stamper. In addition, you have no way of knowing when the stamper was switched. Stampers do break….happens all the time. Yours is the first off a brand new stamper for all you know. Better yet, yours would be around the 20th or so off a new stamper since stampers do “break in” a bit. (Not a rabbit hole I want to go down, but it’s true.) Enjoy! I know I am!

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  2. love Mingus, love Evans but love Ayler a bit more, so my choice went to his last issue for RSD.
    Rob G: Evans is certainly inflated as live recordings. when I was much younger, say 40 yrs ago, I used to buy any Evans’ issue but stopped at some point because I realized many were just repetitions of what I already had in multiple choices.so I sold tens of Evans and never regretted.Mingus: I think that his European 1964 tour is maybe the most represented on records. actually I have all of this music but the reason is a cat named Eric. same with Trane, from anywhere and anytime.

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  3. Hi LJC, just a personal addendum. I was there the night of the 15th when they were recording. I had the personal pleasure of having ‘Happy Birthday’ played for me by the Master himself. H apologized for not having the band do it as they were recording the show. He then said he would play ‘Orange Blossom’ for me instead. I was over come but plucked up the courage to join him for a beer at the bar during the interval. A pleasant man to talk to even though I was obviously from a different world. We shook hands and the show continued with me in a total daze. I have been wondering where the tapes went for years. The same thing happened with Dizzy Gillespie recordings in 1971 which they eventually found in the storage at the club who had done the recording themselves.Needless to say I did not wash my right hand for days thereafter. I have ordered the silver disc box as vinyl is too heavy for posting halfway across the world. Charles Mingus was a great musician and I still enjoy listening to my collection. Cheers and enjoy your purchase! Anthony.

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      • These numbered editions are not what they might seem. There is little to no chance that the numbers refer to the actual pressing, just a hand written number on a cardboard sleeve printed at a different facility. In theory your’s could have been pressed before his. The same goes for Mofi, Analogue Productions etc, it would be massively time consuming. Mine turned up today and I noticed it said limited first pressing, that’ll be code for a general release in a few months just like a Neil Young RSD so called limited release, meaning limited to 5000 on the first run sold via RSD and nothing else, ie marketing.

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  4. Seeing some of the prices asked in RSD participating stores up to over £80 I decided to go with the CD for less than £15. Well, having read this review especially claiming this is the best sounding record in your entire collection, I thought sod it. Found one for sale midnight 29th for £64! I also got lucky with the other Bernie jazz cut for RSD, Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section mono @ £35; all that without queuing over night!

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  5. Andrew, Wouldn’t ya know it, miss RSD and the prices Skyrocket. I have epilepsy, and it’s been active lately, so a trot to my local record shop has been out of the question. I’m a Mingus kind of guy, been bugging bn for years to master Cornell ‘64. No luck yet. Prices for Ronnie Scott’s got ridiculous. I think I paid( low end) $130 w shipping from Amsterdam. Here’s looking forward.

    Hope you’re well.

    Daniel

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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  6. I agree with your words friend Rob G, particularly in your theory about Bill Evans. There is an excess of releases about this great musician. In June Craft will release “You must believe in spring”, Elemental Music is about to release “At the Montreux Jazz Festival” (another remaster) initially scheduled for early April and in between the many vinyl reissues from digital sources for the unwary. Honestly, Bill is one of the greats but please…let us enjoy the music we already have, we don’t want more (for now).
    As for the triple album of Mr. Mingus that LJC has detailed above, I will try to get it, without going through speculators and other unmerciful beings…

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  7. I hate that they sell this stuff like Beenie Babies with the limited edition record store day pressing. But I have a hunch that may be the only financially viable way to do it at all. If this was just a regular release, I wonder how long it would take to move 5000 copies? Of course, there’s an irony. If this wasn’t a RSD special, how many would want it?

    Ugh the mind reels.

    Anyway, Reaonance do good work. I have a bunch of other releases and they’ve all been quality both music and pressing. I wasn’t able to participate in the madness this year, so I’ve missed out on this one. (I refuse to pay the scalpers.) No biggie. I have more than enough to listen to.

    It is interesting that yesterday I went to a local shop and they had both of their Bill Evans titles still for sale. Multiples too! I have to wonder if the RSD audience is tiring of live sessions of poor Bill. I know I have. (Don’t get me wrong, I do love his work but it seems people are determined to release every show he ever played that someone happens to tape as some “lost classic” or whatnot. Bill seemed to be a perfectionist and I feel he’d be mortified by all these albums. Just my two cents.)

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