New Jazz and Esquire: back-to-back

The back-to-back complete Esquire Prestige series continues with the incredibly rare titles of Donald Byrd on the short-lived Transition label, then we pick up with the complete New Jazz Esquires, and tie up some loose ends – at the very end – where else?





The last Prestige/ Esquire pair above stands out, with an air of resignation.

Bossa Nova, that’s the next big thing. No more swinging, now everybody’s swaying. Samba meets Jazz. We gotta have some, Carlo. Get me on the next flight to Rio!

Tall and tan and young and lovely
The girl from Ipanema goes walking…

 salemlp2johnnie-pate-at-the-blue-noteAnd still a number of intriguing possibilities Esquire were experimenting with, including this title, recorded July 1956, originally released on Salem Records (right) reissued on Stepheny Records, a recording of Johnny Pate at the Blue Note, Chicago,, Esquire 32-169.


All the things that could have been but sadly the cash registers fail to ring, and Esquire was no more.  

But what a legacy.




6 thoughts on “New Jazz and Esquire: back-to-back

  1. I love the New Jazz label. Prefer it to standard Prestige. I have the Screaming the Blues and Straight Ahead Nelson/Dolphy’s on Esquire and they are excellent.


  2. Great stuff. It is so nice to compare the sleeves album by album. As a rule the original US versions are (much) better. An absolute low is Mal Waldron’s Impressions. The photo sleeve with Mal’s picture is captivating. A sky photo fits almost everything and is banal. I prefer Tommy Flanagan’s portrait study to the feline exposition, however the New Jazz cover is more fitting to the title of the album. Ray Bryan’s “Alone with the Blues” shows a pensive Ray behind the piano on the NJ sleeve. Great! Esquire shows some round stones, unrelated to the title/theme. Du n’importe quoi!


  3. Very instructive, LJC, and nicely done. The sleeve of the Wallington Quintet’s New York Scene is much improved in the Esquire variant, I think.


  4. Another labour of love. Well done!
    I like ‘The Cats’. An album ‘to admire without extravagance’ or hyperbole as an editor once wrote of the ‘Silver’, or lesser known English poets of the Sixteenth Century. I certainly enjoy listening to it and it was a pleasure to write about it.
    As regards the covers, most of the Esquires tend to appeal to me over the Prestige New Jazz cousins but I’m sure others will take the contrary view.


    • I agree – a lot of the Esquires have covers that show strong graphics and photo combinations. Downloaded “The Cats” last month as part of an aim to complete my collection of Kenny Burrell recordings. Great album.


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