Erich Kleinschuster Vol.1: Clifford Jordan, Charles Tolliver (1968-9) Wallen Bink (2022)

Selection (vinyl rip) 1:  Clifford JordanVienna (5:46)

.  .  .

Selection (vinyl rip) 2: Charles Tolliver – Paper Man (6:29)

.  .  .

Artists

Erich Kleinschuster, trombone; Clifford Jordan, tenor saxophone; Charles Tolliver, Trumpet; Robert Politzer, trumpet; Hans Salomon, tenor saxophone; Fritz Pauer, piano; Rudi Wilfer, piano; Jimmy Woode, bass; Rudolf Hansen, bass; Erich Bachträgl, drums/percussion; recorded at ORF Studio Wien, Austria, July1, 1968; January 25, and February 1, 1969.

Tracklist

6tet with Clifford Jordan (1968-9)
1.1 Leavin’ Train 9:48
1.2 Impressions Of Scandinavia 5:52
1.3 Vienna 5:46

2.1 Looking Across 6:09
2.2 Sandra 3:42
2.3. 872 9:49

6tet with Charles Tolliver (1969)
3.1 On The Nile 10:12
3.2 Lil’s Paradise 8:46

4.1 Paper Man 6:29
4.2 Right Now 4:26
4.3 Household Of Saud 4:58

The Wallen Bink ORF (1968-71) Collection

Volume 1, – Jordan/Tolliver, is the first bite of three cherries, but I included here some general observations on the whole package. More on Volumes 2 and 3 in future posts.

Wallen Bink is a fairly new small UK independent jazz reissue specialist based in Berkshire. Started in 2018, initially specialising in 7″ singles, now a couple of more substantial LPs under its belt, all legitimate and AAA production.

The source of these recordings is Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF) Austrian national public service broadcaster. The Vienna ORF late ’60s sessions brought together the best of America’s “travelling salesmen” for ’60’s jazz, with a European sextet perfectly schooled in the genre. No karaoke jazz here, the Austrian musicians hold their own in the harmonies and solo department, have done their homework, and Kleinschuster is a strong solid performer on trombone, expanding the richness of the tonal palette and counter melodies. 

The studio recordings are simply gorgeous, no half-measures “it’s only for radio” found in British BBC transcription disc recordings a decade previously. These are perfectly textured, dynamic, full frequency audio, no monkeying with rolled off upper frequencies, and no mock- jazz club studio audience. The Jordan and Henderson takes are particularly splendid, and the Goykovich material was particularly interesting and entirely new to me, some East European folk legacy in among the Americana.

The engineering has done justice to these very high-quality original recordings, mastered from original 15ips tapes. Superb stereo presentation, fresh lively, and authentic to the late 60s. Not yet the panoramic sound-surround multitrack effects a few years later, but right for the music of its time, musicians spaced in the room, breath of life, given a silky polish.

Each LP gives you a spread of tracks for each of these visiting jazz men.  Inevitably, many tracks are from the guest’s current playbook, but sound even better with a slightly larger ensemble. A luxurious audiophile vinyl stereo presentation, happy to keep my original Mono Blue Note vinyl as complementary.

Wallen Bink reissue producer Frank Parry was involved in the preparation for release of Andrew Hill’s Passing Ships, until our friends Tone Poet pulled the rug and decided to run with it themselves. Parry understands the interdependencies of AAA production, and has put together a terrific supply chain, topflight engineering and manufacture. No “audiophile bs”, proper AAA, a commitment to quality that deserves success. 

Geography Class: “Europe”- where is it? 

For the benefit of some of my American readers, “Europe” is a small mixed-nationality continent off the southern coast of the British Isles. Some American visitors pronounce the name “Yrup”. The residents of Yrup all speak foreign languages fluently, though mostly not English. In the Sixties, many jazz musicians moved to Yrup in order to continue to play proper music. 

Clifford Jordan – in Europe

Clifford Jordan toured Europe with the Charles Mingus Sextet with Eric Dolphy, during its 1964 European tour.  By the end of the decade, Europe had become a hotbed for American jazz, which led Clifford Jordan to move with his family briefly from Brooklyn to Belgium, a country which was then half French, half Dutch and half German, math not being their strong point. Jordan returned to the US in1970, but Europe remained a big draw and he toured often. 

Charles Tolliver – in Europe

Tolliver’s MUSIC INC.  performed his large ensemble compositions and arrangements as soloist with practically every European Radio/TV Jazz orchestra.

Music: Kleinschuster Vol1. Jordan/Tolliver highlights

Clifford Jordan is in fabulous form. The six-minute stand out track Vienna was recorded January 21st, 1969, in Vienna. A dark processional composition led by Jordan’s tremulous horn, laced with Kleinschuster’s pungent harmonies. The melody briefly drifts in and out of a city portrait, background bluesy piano, urban fragments, and returns to the darkness. Jordan’s vibrato increases in intensity: he briefly catches fire with emotion. 

Jordan’s first Strata East album In The World, features musical portraits from Jordan’s travels, including Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso, west Africa) and a seventeen-minute extended version of Vienna, recorded at Town Sound Studios, Englewood, NJ in “Spring 1969”. That date would make the Vienna Vienna with Kleinschuster the original form, which makes sense, as a visitor’s dedication to the city.

I was reminded that I already have a seventeen-minute extended version of Vienna, cut direct to disk in 1978 for East World Soundphile Series (EMI-Toshiba Direct Disk EWLF-98003) Hello Hank Jones. Great though that is, the tune is diluted, and missing the richness and texture of multiple horns. The original ORF session is the emotionally definitive version, the melody is still fresh, in its original conception.

Charles Tolliver is his usual brilliant forceful tone, surefooted in solo floating over the Kleinschuster horn’s modal vamp. Tolliver’s playing is something of a rare bridge between hard bop and the avant garde, standing apart from the Freddie/Lee/Miles axis. Though I have several original Tolliver Strata East, the ORF recording, with its Abbey Road mastering, is very seductive.

I suspect Tolliver is thinking: only a sextet?  Erich, I need more power. Could you get me an orchestra?” 

 

Four of the five Tolliver tracks featured on the Kleinschuster session originate from Tolliver’s 1968 album Paper Man (Freedom Records)

Kleinschuster (“little cobbler”) is one of a select band of European jazz trombonists, which include Albert Mangelsdorff (Germany, multiphonics), Christian Muthspiel (also Austrian), Ake Persson (Sweden, Clarke Boland B B), Walter Baumgartner (Switzerland), maybe others I’m not aware of. A challenging instrument to adopt as a leader, the trombone is father to a famous jazz joke: “What do you call a trombonist without a girlfriend?” “Homeless”.

Kleinschuster passed away in 2018 according to reliable sources. A couple of years later, according to my elderly relatives, Austria all but passed away due to one of Europe’s most extreme lockdown restrictions. No Sound of Music.

Vinyl: Wallen Bink WB014 (Volume 1 of 3) 2x33rpm LP

All analogue production chain, mastered from the ORF original 15ips tapes and lacquer cut at Abbey Road Studios by Sean Magee, pictured, not a guy to argue with. W B follow my evidence-of-source gold standard: if you say mastered from the original tapes, then show us the tapes. Perfect.

The pressing is by The Vinyl Press – a legacy of the original EMI Hayes Middlesex plant – very quiet vinyl, but not totally silent – a fairly low noise floor, as seems usual when the lacquer is cut on the quiet side. Boosting playback volume raises the noise floor with it.

No defects on eleven of the twelve sides in the set, that is unusual and very good. The twelfth side, fresh out of the sleeve, unexpectedly, played with a dozen loud random clicks, first two tracks on one side. Under an LED spotlight I found tiny “specks” could be vinyl fragments, detritus, who knows, lodged in the grooves. They had survived my ultrasonic cleaning cycle and required manual intervention – fingertip and nail pressure – to shift them.  Hello, Quality Control? My office, now. And bring a duster with you. 

Oh, did I mention dust? Fresh out of the sleeve, all sides had quite a lot of dust in the grooves. I assume it’s dust, or a manufacturing process by-product. I had the same experience with some new Mathew Halsall albums: dust-choked grooves. Dust is easily dealt with; it’s what record cleaners are for. Even new records should be run through cleaning before play, you want those grooves absolutely clean.

Gatefold

Watch out Tone Poet, there’s a new kid in town. All good ideas can be copied and improved on, W B make room for a half-sleeve of liner notes, neat.

Harry’s Place

Once again, our time-travelling jazz paparazzi Harry M was there at Montreux and captured the Kleinschuster boys in action: Erich Kleinschuster, trombone (1971), Hans Salomon, tenor sax (1970), and Jimmy Woode, bass, (1970). Great photos, Harry, Francis Wolff sends his compliments.

 

 

Collector’s Corner

The search for vintage jazz recordings offers only a limited number of options:

  1. Original 50-60’s vintage vinyl, first edition, or subsequent pressing with same metal 
  2. Modern vinyl reissues mastered from original tapes (original, or back-up/ safety copy tapes)
  3. Recordings taped for radio broadcast at the time – live or studio sessions
  4. Club sessions with host recording facilities – via stage mics, mixing desk, or mobile studio 
  5. “Bootleg” audience PoV (raincoat, mic-up-sleeve, personal tape recorder) 

Distribution by copy tape: overseas reissues were usually mastered locally from copy tape – few exceptions from original stampers – variable transfer and pressing quality, usually lesser. Same applies to some US recordings which were mastered at various plants around the US from copy tapes, no quality consistency.

Digital era mid-late 80s onwards, recordings digitally remastered for vinyl, digital preview delay lines between tape head and cutting lathe, transistors and solid-state circuitry replaced valves. Filters, compression, boosting, interference with sound.

Everything else modern is likely digital file of unknown origin remastered on vinyl. 

Triple double threat – six LP’s all-analogue manufacture

I splurged on the whole three double LP set, a little over £100 plus not inconsiderable postage, 6×180-gram plus LPs, but on a total cost per LP still great value. 

Of all the modern reissue titles currently on offer, I strongly recommend you listen in to the Wallen Bink set, it takes a lot of beating. An unusually sourced mix of mid-60s modern jazz ambassadors and modern true-audiophile vinyl production values, and a very satisfying listen. These have been on my turntable now a couple of weeks, and still more to discover.  Each volume is available as a standalone issue, the Jordan/Tolliver is the volume of choice, in my opinion, though I recommend the full set.

The Wallen Bink online shop has samples of all the tracks on this double LP.

Declaration of interest: none, full personal retail purchase.

Calling everyone interested in clean records

Anyone with an interest in cleaning vinyl records including water/washing might want to go here: from The Vinyl Press (an independent blogger) “Aqueous Cleaning of Vinyl” (Third Edition) A definitive scientific and authoritative book, 190-page pdf, free to download at no cost, no strings attached. Download link  

The LondonJazzCollector formula for vacuum-cleaning machines gets a mention on page 95-6

On the Horizon – Freddy on Mosaic CD “close to audiophile vinyl

Not close to original vinyl, close only to audiophile vinyl (whatever that means), superior to any previous CD (low bar) only on CD, no vinyl format option, mastered from digital copies. Oh dear, Mosaic. . . oblivious to the last two to three years all-analogue vinyl revival altogether.

Sadly, in recent years Mosaic seems to have fallen for the industry myth “digital = progress” hype. I suspect the disastrous Blue Note 75 series used the same Blue Note digital archive files.  Perhaps someone should ask why so many of Mosaic OOP vinyl box sets fetch such stratospheric prices, and why MMJ, TP and BN Vinyl Classics are actually audiophile quality. CD is not progress, it is history.

LJC

 

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12 thoughts on “Erich Kleinschuster Vol.1: Clifford Jordan, Charles Tolliver (1968-9) Wallen Bink (2022)

  1. I got all three of these sets upon release. Is it just me or are these super hot cuts? I can’t get them to track properly–what I’ve noticed is a distortion that hangs onto the lead soloist (Jordan, Tolliver, Joe Henderson, Dusko) and gets progressively more noticeable as the side plays out. The distortion is a smear from the lead soloist near center into the far left channel. I thought that my Denon 103 cartridge with conical stylus (on Audiomods tonearm) might not be up to the task… but I got an identical (unsolicited) report from another user on instagram–they have a higher end turntable system than I do and could not get the records to track properly…ultimately they requested to return the records (or so they told me). I can hear the same roughness/distortion on your vinyl rips even through my iMac computer speakers.

    My hope is that a future, better cartridge can play these without any noticeable distortion. Until then I have 3 pretty sets for the shelf and am down about $200!

    Granted, the music is absolutely wonderful but the distortion is too annoying to me.

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    • Thanks for your comments. You hear what you hear, I can’t argue with that, but I have noticed from many comments over the years, people have different sensitivities to what they hear. Groove-wear sends some crazy. We had a lot of comment here on distortion on Andrew Hill’s Passing Ships. It’s on the original recording. Personally, I thought nothing of it, but some listeners were distraught, kept sending copies back.

      There can be an issue with tracking, especially approaching the LP centre if the setting of the anti-skate and Vertical Tracking Force is not optimal. My anti-skate was way off, horrified, discovered only through using the test LP, (written up end of a recent post: https://londonjazzcollector.wordpress.com/2022/02/04/pyramid-pieces-1-australia-1969-79-compilation-the-roundtable-2020/ ) It’s not just the kit, it’s the set up.

      If the stylus tip is not riding dead centre in the groove, the left and right channel balance is compromised, and distortion on the channel where the stylus has insufficient contact. Tonearm anti-skate adjustment applies an opposite force, to pull the tonearm and stylus back into the correct position in the centre of the groove and read both groove walls equally. Especially evident approaching the centre.

      Making several rips and I noticed that the gain on the ORF LPs varies from one session to another. Different engineers, different set-ups, different volume and mix, several years apart. I expect Sean Magee encountered a lot of this in mastering. The gain was overall lower than “normal”. i.e., on the quiet side compared with vintage, but characteristic of a lot of modern remastering. I pushed the volume up, to the stretch the histograms, may be this was not the best thing to have done, with hindsight. Some of the distortion you hear maybe down to me pushing the dials, may be exaggerates what’s on the original vinyl and/or original recording.

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      • Thanks for the reply! It’s funny you mention distortion on Passing Ships— I know exactly what you are referring to.

        I agree that these types of distortion (even when totally inherent to the recording) can be exacerbated by a multitude of things in the chain from end to end. My experience is that certain cartridges “render” these types of non-musical noises in a lot of different ways whether forward or recessed, and in the listeners ear will register this across the spectrum from “a pleasing little sizzle on the top” to a “rough, scratchy treble, obvious distortion”.

        I admit my tolerance for it is very low. In fact on Passing Ships I too suspected defective copies or set-up woes.

        Fortunately I can remain logical, and learning about what is and what isn’t “on the recording” gives me a lot of peace of mind and keeps me from jumping out of my chair at every wisp of distortion. So I really appreciate the info and your experience!

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  2. Thanks for your very informing article, as always.. While Clifford Jordan moved to Yrup to record in the BIM house (Amsterdam in 1975, with The Magic Triangle), a lot of British also moved (and move) to Yrup. I know, I lived in the Red Light District for decades. Which is not far away from the BIM house; you can easily walk. But for me it wasn’t always clear what language they spoke.

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  3. Oh no – anyone notice the cover image is reversed. All that effort in production to be let down by a simple oversight. Art director! My office NOW!

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  4. And Jimmy Woode, ex classic Ellington era bassist, then resident in Europe, and he also contributed liner notes to the Swiss TCoB label. I was present when a royalty cheque arrived at Local 802 New York, destined for Gus Johnson, by that time “no longer knows who he is” in his wife’s words, but I am sure it came from that Swiss label, who were reissuing Mulligan group recordings and ensuring that the musicians benefitted.

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