Guest Column: Making The Case For CDs

When we started Jazz Collector we invited members of the community to contribute to the site and, if you check out the About page, we apparently still do. To date, no one has really taken us up on the offer and all of the posts have been written by yours truly, which has been fine. The other day, however, we got a note from one of our readers asking if he could post an item and, of course, the answer was yes. So here it is:

“Greetings-my name is Ceedee and I’m a jazz collector. I’ve been using this music and the never-ending search for the next ‘must-have’ as a source of pure pleasure and inspiration for nearly 40 years now. And if the latest list of items I’m watching at eBay is any indication, it’s a search that’s not about to end any time soon. It’s the access to collections and collectors worldwide that eBay has made possible – not to mention great web sites such as Jazz Collector – which go a long way towards enabling this ‘healthy’ habit.

Before the 12-step analogy goes any further, let me assure you that for me, it has been necessary

to draw the line at times. The choice should never be between rent or records, right? If you’re looking lovingly at that mint Blue Note LP from 50-plus years ago that you just scored at a garage sale, knowing full well it will bring you more pleasure than your last relationship, there’s something wrong, isn’t there? If you actually enjoy the fetid air coming from the latest stack of vinyl gems on your shelf – which to you just conveys authenticity – that’s pretty sad, correct? Nah, you’re a collector!

Which brings me to the point. It’s all about the music for this collector, not exclusively the way it’s captured. I don’t treasure rare recordings of crappy sessions. I don’t have to own – to borrow from an old Robert Klein bit – every record ever recorded. By the same token, I don’t think CDs are best used as doorstops since few hold the promise of perfect sound forever.

The recent postings on Stan Getz and Al’s reference to CDs as (to paraphrase) okay to own, but not really seen as collectible (gasp!) made me think that maybe another opinion – along with favorite examples – might be timely. Here are a few of those favorites:

Stan Getz Quartet-AT LARGE, PLUS! (Volumes1+2). These are two discs that I’ve only seen once in the years since their release in 1991 for Jazz Unlimited (Denmark). These are wonderful transfers of Stan’s 1960 date for Verve, then released as At Large (a two-LP set). I owned that version years ago, but I don’t recall it sounding as good as these compact discs do. Maybe my system at the time wasn’t up to the task. Who knows? The Folks Who Live On The Hill, Younger Than Springtime and In Your Own Sweet Way are a few standout ballads, while I Like To Recognize The Tune, with its vocal refrain, always brings a smile to my face. The European quartet with Jon Johansson on piano gives Stan the support that makes these sessions a highlight of his discography. With three unreleased tracks, they deserve to be better known.

Pianist Ray Bryant has recorded many trio records over the years, but none done in recent decades has jelled as well as his 1992 THROUGH THE YEARS release for Emarcy/Japan. It’s also part of a two-volume date. Bryant is supported by Rufus Reid and Grady Tate. Covering standards that he enjoys as well as his own originals, the pianist especially shines on Cubano Chant and Django. This well-engineered disc is one that American companies would do well to license as a vinyl issue – or they could put Kind Of Blue out for the umpteenth time (don’t get me started!).

A date that initially came out in both disc and LP format – and then was poorly promoted – is THE LATIN SIDE OF JOHN COLTRANE by trombonist Conrad Herwig from 1996. With Brian Lynch, Ronnie Cuber, Danilo Perez, Eddie Palmieri and Milton Cardona amongst the gathered ensemble. The selections from Coltrane’s book are very well-served and very well-recorded. The Afro-Cuban versions of  A Love Supreme, Blue Train and Africa sound unlike anything I’ve heard since. Rare and well-done!

Finally,lest you think I’ve given up on the record bug, here, pictured below, is one of my favorite Monk Prestige 1950’s sessions — this issue put out by Barclay (France). This is the flipback Euro cover with the great Herman Leonard photo . There’s something about listening to tunes like Trinkle,Tinkle and Little Rootie Tootie that just . . . well,sound hipper with this photo nearby. Dance on, Monk-dance on.

Well,that’s it. Hope you’ve read something that enlivens your next foray into the racks. Thanks to Al for giving me the time – this site is a daily pleasure. Happy hunting folks!”

2 comments

  • hi ceedee: I enjoyed your contribution.
    Re the acceptability of CD’s, I find them a very handy complement to vinyl. Yesterday I pulled out the Mosaic box of the 50’s sessions on Blue Note by Lee Morgan. This box alone shows in a nutshell the wealth of music recorded by Lee in just 12 months’ time. Nov. 1956 to Dec. 1957. The latter three sessions even on stereo. Rather than brushing the dust off my precious Blue Note vinyls, I enjoy the music, glass in hand.
    The Monk – Barclay is a beauty. Did you know that the only collection of Herman Leonard jazz photographs was published in France only?

  • Rudolf,thanks for the feedback. Writing is a kick and I do it whenever I can-although classical music(on low) is what gets the creative juices flowing. Jazz? Too distracting-can’t write to it! Yeah,I think I saw the Leonard book you mention on a Jazz Record Center list some months back. Can’t recall exactly,but we’re talking real money. That gem,as well as a clean copy of “To Bird With Love” will be two books I pick up…right after I win the lottery.

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