Amancio D’Silva: Integration (1969) Columbia/EMI / 2017 Pheon


Selection: A3. Integration (D’Silva, Green, Rendell)

.  .  .

Selection: A1. Ganges (D’Silva, Carr)

.  .  .

Track List

A1. Ganges (D’Silva, Carr) 4:21
A2. Jaipur (D’Silva)
A3. Integration (D’Silva, Green, Rendell) 6:34
B1. Maharani (D’Silva)
B2. We Tell You This (D’Silva, Carr)
B3. Cry Free (Carr)
B4. Joyce Country (D’Silva)

Artists

Dave Green, bass; Trevor Tomkins, drums; Amancio D’Silva, guitar; Don Rendell, tenor and soprano saxophone; Ian Carr, trumpet, Flugelhorn; recorded at Lansdowne Studios London in 1969, engineers, John Macksmith (B1-4), Michael Weighell (A1-3); Producer, Denis Preston.

Pictured on the cover, D’Silva is playing a Gretsch Country Gentleman  guitar, (various Chet Atkins© models). I deduce this from his wearing the same dark paisley shirt as in the picture below (same shoot), which includes the famous guitar make’s name in metal on the headstock, but thoughtfully cropped off the album cover. No free product placement there Mr Gretsch!

Beatle George Harrison had been a Gretsch player for years and when he appeared on the Ed Sullivan show playing a 1963 Gretsch Country Gentleman, this marked the Country Gent’s rapid rise as a cultural icon. It also marked the beginning of a huge increase in sales of the Country Gentleman, based on George Harrison’s “endorsement.” Vintage models like this sell for $2-3,000 today, while Harrison’s actual 1963 model recently fetched $485,000 at auction,  the difference between looking like a Beatles guitar, and actually being one. Vintage guitar collectors are even worse than record collectors. 

Another Vintage Gretsch model, the Tennessean, appeared in the hands of the Monkees’ Michael Nesmith, seen in the original Monkees TV series (1966-8). A copy, signed by all four members of the group, was given an estimated value of just $22,000, the difference between a Beatle and a Monkee. The commercially-savvy Monkees however  did get a sponsorship deal to promote Gretsch instruments.

Music

Integration (1969) was D’Silva’s UK debut collaboration with the Rendell Carr Quartet, followed soon after by Hum Dono.  Anglo-Indian jazz was a brief flirtation in the late 60s and very early ’70s. Integration is probably the least “Indian” of Amancio’s  albums, absent Indian instruments, but the melodic lines, sometimes long and complex solos, make occasional reference to Indian scales.

D’Silva’s electric guitar playing also shows influences of the British blues boom at the time, though without the signature distortion and vibrato: his lines are linear and clean. The Gretsch hollow-body has an all-round sound, famed for Nashville country picking  and pop chord-work, not the hard driving rock guitar of a solid-body Fender or Gibson. The result is a slightly softer mellow sound that arguably integrates better with the acoustic instruments of Rendell Carr quartet.

The main musical bond is between D’Silva and trumpeter Ian Carr, call and answer, and echoes, with Don Rendell contributing long and sympathetic solo pieces in his signature rising and descending multiple triplets (struggling to put Rendell’s solos into words, three notes in the space of two sounds about right)  His serpentine flow reflects his chosen range of instruments, which in addition to the tenor, include soprano saxophone, clarinet and flute, instruments which favour the upper register and which give him his distinctive pied-piper voice. It is the main attraction of many of the tracks, alongside Ian Carr’s fat growling flugelhorn. 

Norma remained quietly waiting in the wings, not to appear until the next album Hum Dono

Dave Gelly in The Observer, August 15th 2004 , on the CD reissue:

“Of all the attempts to bring together jazz and Indian music, this must be one of the most successful. D’Silva was brought up in the Indian classical tradition, but took to jazz early in life and became a first-rate guitarist. In London during the late 1960s, he got together with British musicians to record three albums, of which this was the first.

 

The ease with which they found common ground is clear from the start . The remarkable title piece is a virtually free improvisation by D’Silva, saxophonist Don Rendell and bassist Dave Green. They strike a perfect balance between the two idioms, and there is none of that phoney ‘Eastern’ flavouring, featuring sitars and such like, so fashionable at the time. D’Silva plays electric guitar throughout, and the music swings in a completely natural way”

 

Cited on a new website dedicated to Amancio D’Silva (2022) 

Vinyl: Pheon PHE003 reissue of EMI/Columbia “Magic Notes” ® SCX 6632

 Lacquer cut and vinyl pressed by Optimal Media GmbH – BH74907; “licensed courtesy of the D’Silva estate”.

Harry’s Place

Ian Carr, Don Rendell, Sunbury Middx. England, 1968

Dave Green, Ronnie Scotts, Soho, 1969

Photo Credits © Harry M

Collector’s Corner

Yes, it is a beauty, sir, cream of British jazz 1969, Rendell Carr quartet line up, with guitarist Amancio D’Silva: originally from Goa, I believe, a Portuguese colony for over 400 years (consults Wiki) annexed by India in 1961.

You want a 1969 original? Rare as an honest politician, sir, but I’m afraid it will cost you more than a bent one.

There is an alternative vinyl, sir, in two figures – after the pound sign, sir.

Two British Jazz/DJ entrepreneurs Jonny Trunk, born Jonathan Benton-Hughes  -Trunk Records, OST and retro specialist, and James Pianta – The Roundtable/Votary Records (Australia) made available a “licensed” reissue, through their short-lived Pheon label, in 2017. 

A CD of Integration was issued in 2004 by Universal Classics & Jazz UK, from which I assume the rights are held by Universal. Pheon say their issue is licensed courtesy of  the D’ Silva Estate. Who owns the  rights to Integration, Universal or  the D’Silva Estate? And who holds the original tapes? We have been here before. A workaround, while the industry giants are busy chasing the big money, but … but Taylor Swift!  The  “D’Silva Estate” blessing seems enough to get around the Discogs prohibition on “unofficial” releases. Dispute and only the lawyers win.

Another case of a digital master related to the Universal CD edition, or a copy of original tapes, transferred to Optimal Gmbh, where a lacquer was cut and a small batch of vinyl pressed. The absence of honest information is frustrating, and feigned ignorance of sources even more annoying: original tape, copy tape, or digital forgery, is that important?  When records are re-mastered from original tapes, like the Mingus Lost Album, they shout it from the rooftops, it’s a special thing, it requires skills and equipment. When they are silent about sources, there is usually something to hide.

Pheon released just three titles, 500 copies of each. Integration was sold for £18.99, of course, sold out long ago.

Pheon Records

The fascination with Italian film soundtrack and library music, I really don’t understand, someone enlighten me, please.

Discogs reviewer:

Pheon Records have done an absolutely fantastic job at re-issuing this ‘lost classic’ from Amancio D’Silva. Very clean sounding record pressed on heavy vinyl and faithful reproduction of the original sleeve notes. Plenty of space to the soundstage on this vinyl re-issue; well done to all involved.”

Oh, its on heavy vinyl, it must be good. It is, but not for that reason. Lansdowne recordings are like Van Gelder, very good, and it is difficult to make a bad copy of one. The originals sound superb. The Lansdowne Series is a goldmine of superb recordings of superb musicians, with musical ideas at the crossroads of many genres. There must be a source of all these recordings that keep popping up.

LJC Horizon Scanning

Another D’Silva album is being reissued, Sapana, (samples on Bandcamp) by Pianta/ The Roundtable (Melbourne Australia) – claims to be remastered from the original tapes. This one is more conventionally Indian-influenced, with tablas and  sitar drones.

Out of the blue comes another reissue of early 70’s British jazz, Neil Ardley’s Symphony of Aramanths (Youtube link) from Wah Wah Records, a Spanish record company in Barcelona, who first released it in 2013 – claiming to be remastered from original tapes. 

By 1972 the New Jazz Orchestra was already defunct, but his legacy remained in the works of its members.  Ardley’s ‘A Symphony Of Amaranths’ is a perfect example of what was boiling in the UK jazz scene.

 

It was Ardleys tribute to his idols Duke Ellington and Gil Evans, and featured the skills of some great musicians of the scene including Don Rendell, Stan Tracey, Henry Lowther, Harry Beckett, Jeff Clyne & Jon Hiseman.

 

Side B is inspired by the words of Edward Lear, W. B. Yeats, James Joyce and Lewis Carroll that are musicated by Ardley and feature, among other highlights, Ivor Cutler’s narration of ‘The Dong With A Luminous Nose’ and Norma Winstone’s vocals on ‘Will You Walk A Little Faster’.

Originally released on EMI/Regal Zonophone in 1972. Vinyl copies from Wah Wah Records have been around  shipping from Japan via Amazon. Wah Wah periodically issue  further vinyl copies, currently a further small batch reissue of 500 copies. limited edition, mail order, reasonably priced around £20 plus VAT and postage. The 1972 original sells for around £400. 

Scored for a large jazz orchestra including Don Rendell, Harry Beckett, Barbara Thompson, Jon Hiseman and Dick Hestall-Smith, a fabulous album, I think better than Kaleidoscope of Rainbows.  Of course the big attraction is three tracks of Norma Winstone, singing nonsense verse.

LJC Cracked Record 

All this British Jazz on vinyl hyperactivity by “foreign” record companies, from Australia and Spain, pressed in Germany or Czech Republic, while our record companies, once great record companies who championed British jazz, ignore our musical heritage, which they own, and sit on. Integration was last reissued by Universal in the Gilles Petersen-inspired Impressed Re-pressed series in 2004, but only on the The Evil Silver Disc. In its company, many other classic jazz recordings only on CD. With the resurgence of vinyl, in the absence of a “proper” vinyl reissue, it falls to third parties to supply, for which we can at least be grateful.

LJC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Amancio D’Silva: Integration (1969) Columbia/EMI / 2017 Pheon

  1. at first sight this post looked out of my interests. I don’t like Brazilian music nor samba. but, as I’m still interested in what I do not know yet, I listened and… I liked. I’m convinced that, after 60 years listening (not only Jazz), I can appreciate any music that hits my tastes at first listening. this music and this guy, completely unknown to me, hit the mark, and this is the most important thing in my listening behaviors.

    Like

  2. You’re completely right about the terrific audio engineering quality of Columbia Lansdowne Series dates. Adrian Kerridge and the rest certainly knew what they were doing.

    Integration is one of the great UK jazz records and I was very fortunate to acquire mine at a reasonable price some time ago. Of course, it deserves to be much more widely appreciated and that can only happen with a decent reissue.

    Your observations about record company behaviour w.r.t. licencing are apposite but there may be good news on the horizon. I’ve recently been in touch with Tony O’Higgins and he confirmed that more releases in the Decca British Jazz Explosion series are imminent. He may see this and choose to share details if we’re lucky!

    Liked by 1 person

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