Monday, August 3, 2009

Recent Acquisitions: Jazz Records Plus (8-3-09)

Now that the pop/rock albums are cataloged (see below), it's time to list the rest of the tremendous July haul.

Sonny Rollins, Saxophone Colossus (Prestige/Analogue Productions, reissue on 180-gm vinyl, $8). I hadn’t listened to this album in years, which I have on CD. I used to think it was a very good album, not a great one—maybe because I had never listened to it on vinyl. It’s a great album. Rollins’ playing is out of this world.
Bill Evans, Waltz for Debby (Riverside/Analogue Productions, reissue on 180-gm vinyl, $15). This has got to be one of the most frequently misspelled album titles in jazz history. It’s Debby with a “y”. It’s amazing how different old Bill Evans records can sound depending on the mixing and mastering. This version is mastered by Doug Sax. You feel like you’re at the Village Vanguard, with people chattering during the performance and dishes clattering on the tables. It makes you want to say “please shut the fuck up” out loud. (If you’re wondering why there’s been so much profanity lately on the TOGblog, I just want to remind the gentle reader that it’s Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month.)
Horace Silver, Silver’s Serenade (Blue Note, New York address on label, mono pressing, $5). I have no idea why this original pressing of an early 60s Blue Note record was priced so cheaply. Sure, there’s a small seam split on the spine, but the front cover is in excellent shape. The record has some scuffs, but plays beautifully. Horace Silver albums are like potato chips. . . .
Herbie Hancock, Empyrean Isles (Blue Note, Division of Liberty Records, 2nd pressing, $15). The album has “Cantaloupe Island”, which has one of the most famous grooves in all of jazz. This very clean second pressing will be replacing a later pressing that will be going on the sell pile.
Jackie McLean, Jackie’s Bag (Blue Note/King reissue, Japanese pressing, $13). Bought mainly because it’s the first King reissue of a jazz record I like that I’ve come across. Some folks think the King Blue Notes sound great. Others think they’re just alright. Now I can find out the truth for myself.
Wayne Shorter, Etcetera (Blue Note, 90s reissue, Wally in the dead wax, $10). Capitol Records reissued several Blue Note titles in the 90s on 180-gram vinyl. I bought a few when they came out. They sound great and are a relative bargain. The hand-written “Wally” in the dead wax refers to Wally Traugot, an excellent mastering engineer. This BN album was shelved for decades. I'm not sure what to expect, except I know the music will be challenging considering it's Wayne Shorter.
Dexter Gordon, A Swingin' Affair (Blue Note/Classic Records reissue, stereo pressing, $13). This leaves one more album to complete my Dexter Gordon on Blue Note collection. Only one of his BN albums has been a disappointment, Dexter Calling, which should have been titled Dexter Calling It In.
Ben Webster, Ben Webster Encounters Coleman Hawkins (Verve/Classic Records reissue, 180-gm vinyl, $10). This album is like Superman meets Batman, Babe Ruth meets Hank Aaron, Godzilla meets King Kong, Albert Einstein meets Isaac Newton!
Ike Quebec, Blue & Sentimental (Blue Note/Pathe Marconi reissue, French pressing, still sealed with OBI, $8). Ike Quebec was a lesser known saxophonist on Blue Note. I'm always curious to hear Blue Note artists for the first time. I just have to get over my phobia of opening sealed old stock records. The French Pathe Marconi pressings of Blue Note albums are supposed to be decent, although they don't have the same reputation as the Japanese King pressings.
Modern Jazz Quartet, Django (Prestige/Analogue Productions, 45-rpm 2-LP reissue, $25). The MJQ are out of favor now, which sometimes makes one hesitant to buy their records. Django is my first MJQ album and I found it to be quite good.
Vince Guaraldi Trio, Cast Your Fate to the Wind (Fantasy/Analogue Productions, 45-rpm 2-LP reissue, $20). I picked up an original pressing of this popular jazz album earlier this year. To be honest, I bought this reissue just for collecting purposes. All the Analogue Productions 45-rpm reissues are limited to 1,000 copies and you can be sure they'll be worth more than a bag of peanuts as long as vinyl LPs and jazz are around.
Duke Ellington and Ray Brown, This One's for Blanton! (Pablo/Analogue Productions, 45-rpm 2-LP reissue, $20). This is a rare duo recording for the Duke, just him on piano and Ray Brown on bass, playing songs associated with Jimmy Blanton, the late bassist for Duke's orchestra during its heyday.
Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass, Take Love Easy (Pablo/Analogue Productions, 45-rpm 2-LP reissue, $20). Ella in her 50s still sounds great although not as impeccable as she did during her prime. Unfortunately Joe Pass provides pedestrian backing on guitar.
Ella Fitzgerald, Sings the Rodgers and Hart Song Book (Verve/Speakers Corner reissue, German pressing, 2-LP, $25). This is Ella in her prime.
Holly Cole, Don't Smoke in Bed (Blue Note/Classic Records, $13). Cautionary jazz for careless smoking hipsters.
Peggy Lee, Basin Street East (Capitol, black label with color band, $1). I never understood why Sarah Vaughan was called Sassy. It's a more fitting nickname for Peggy Lee.
Bing Crosby, Bing Sings Whilst Bregman Swings (Verve, original pressing, $3). The Bregman in the title refers to the band leader Bunny Bregman, which begs the question, what kind of name is that for a guy? Then you start questioning the title, what's meant by "swings"? Is it a double entendre? Did Bing know what was going on? Or was he just glad to be with someone other than the very unfunny Bob Hope?
Frank Sinatra, Songs for Swingin' Lovers! (Capitol, grey label, original pressing, $2). Judging by the title, I don't think this album was meant for me. Maybe it was meant for Bunny Bregman. It's still one of my favorite Sinatra albums. Now unwittingly I have two copies.
Frank Sinatra, Sings for Only the Lonely (Capitol, black label with color band, $4). OK, this one might've been meant for me.

Looking back on the July haul, I think I could be quite content if these were the only albums I had on a desert island.

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