What is On Your Turntable? Here’s What’s on Mine

Jazz copyI’m back from a brief respite. Went to an old mining town in southwestern Colorado called Creede, where my son directed a wonderful production of Our Town. A theater in an old mining town? Indeed. The story is that when the mining business began declining, town leaders put out a call for help asking for ideas on how to keep the town alive and attract residents year-round. A group of theater students from the University of Kansas decided to open a theater there. That was 50 years ago and the theater is still alive and kicking. They had done a production of Our Town back in their first season and had Michael come and do a new production this year.

Anyway, it was quite a trip: In addition to flying back and forth from New York to Denver, I drove more than 1,400 miles in five days. I am now back and in my house up in The Berkshires, hopefully to remain here for the rest of the summer. The Lovely Mrs. JC is spending weekdays in New York with her psychotherapy practice and commuting here on weekends, which gives me a lot of time alone. Which is not necessarily such a bad thing, particularly since I did a major upgrade of my stereo system here last year, updating my Lynn-Sondek turntable with a new tonearm and cartridge and replacing my small B&W speakers with a mighty pair of Wilson Sophia speakers. The sound is quite fantastic and, best of all, I have the lake at the back of the house, an empty forest at the front, and two empty houses on each side. Which means I can play my music as loud as I want any time of the day. Normally, I don’t like to listen to the music at too high a volume, but with the system I have in place the music at higher volumes sounds almost live. So I’ve been doing a lot of that lately, and enjoying it quite a bit, particularly when supplemented with the aid of an occasional beer or glass of wine and/or other substance that is now legal in several states and wherein I have been able to obtain a quantity of high-quality product that would otherwise be used for medical purposes but, for me, is quite recreational.

Last night was a perfect example. After enjoying a sampling of said product and a bottle of beer I sat down to watch a documentary on Netflix called Beware of Mr. Baker, which is a biography of the drummer Ginger Baker. Fantastic movie – I recommend it highly. He’s a great character and a great drummer and a bit of a nut job and the film captures all of those aspects of him. Anyway, there’s a scene in the movie where Baker is playing with Art Blakey and they are a mighty pair, indeed. After the movie was over, I put on a couple of Cream tracks to listen closely to the drumming. I’m not a drummer nor an aficionado of drumming, but it’s not hard to hear that Baker was/is something special. But the rock music was not so interesting to me, so I decided to move over to jazz and, having just seen Blakey in the movie, I had a yen for some Jazz Messengers. I wanted to put on Buhaina’s Delight but, alas, I only have one copy of that record and it is in Manhattan. I looked through the few Blakeys I have here and opted for A Night at Birdland Volume 2, Blue Note 1522. This was not my original pressing, which is also sitting on a shelf in Manhattan; this was a Japanese Toshiba pressing. Still, it was a record I wanted to hear because, frankly, I couldn’t remember the last time I put it on the turntable, even though I’ve always known it to be a great record. I put on Side Two with Now’s the Time and Confirmation. Absolute heaven. The volume was high, the record was recorded live and, in my altered state, it felt like I could feel the musicians in the room with me. All the music is great on the record, but Clifford Brown is outrageous. Listen to both of his solos on this side; I defy you to find any better trumpet solos anywhere – so inventive, swinging and emotional. Confirmation is done at a breakneck pace, the fastest version I can think of offhand.

Anyway, I really enjoyed that side and wanted more, but this time I wanted an original pressing from the era because, as great as the Japanese Toshiba sounded, it also felt like perhaps a little something was missing. So I went to my originals up here, which are all duplicates, and started with the A’s and settled quickly on the Cannonball Adderley Quintet, Them Dirty Blues, Riverside 322. Another record that I’ve always loved but hadn’t listed to in awhile. I started on Side One with Work Song and Dat Dere. Right away, I could tell I liked the sound better on the original pressing than on the Blakey reissue. It was richer and more live sounding, if you know what I mean. And, as with the Blakey record, I was once again in the company of an outstanding and tightly knit group with a singular soloist, in this case Cannonball, who was an absolute master. Again, listen to this record and, outside of Bird, try to find any better alto solos anywhere and anytime.

By the time this side was over it was around midnight and, while I felt like I could stay up all night just listening, I took the practical route and went to bed. I’m still working quite hard these days, and there are always deadlines to face in the mornings. But I gave myself a raincheck for tonight because The Lovely Mrs. JC isn’t coming up until tomorrow and I remain on my own. Who knows what music lies in store for later? In fact, I’m open to recommendations, so please . . .

18 comments

  • Gregory the Fish

    the substance to which you refer has never been my friend. makes my anxiety crazy. but i’m glad it provides enjoyment for some people. i do like my beer and jazz, though.

    i have an original of that adderley and it is one of my prize records. it isn’t particularly rare or valuable but it is in fabulous condition and it is maybe adderley’s best in my opinion.

    my latest listening was this weekend, as now i am stuck teaching and taking summer courses at UD so there will be little weekday listening.

    two big new arrivals: an upgrade to a WLP mono of “A Love Supreme” which is great since my system sums to mono but sounds better with mono to start. also finally got and am enjoying an original of marion brown’s sole impulse outing: “three for shepp”. fairly rare.

    also got some nice originals on Mode, namely the fabulous eddie costa album, and am enjoying some other stuff more related to metal and drone that isn’t really our cup of tea here.

  • Last night was an original of Lee Morgan “Expoobident” on Vee Jay, and an original of “Dexter Calling.” Night before was an original of Roland Kirk “Please Don’t You Cry Beautiful Edith” on Verve, and an original of Dave Bailey, “One Foot in the Gutter” on Epic. That’s a great record!!

  • Curtis Counce “Carls blues”
    One of my fav on Contemporary

  • Hi at Summer house this week. Barry Harris excellent Luminescence on an original stereo review copy from 1967. It rocks with Pepper Adams and Slide Hampton joining in. Not an expensive record but very nice sounding in all respects.

  • Beautiful Linn Sondek LP12, Walnut Plinth, spinning away with Duke Pearson’s Wahoo or Grant Green’s Idle Moments (especially after a toke or 2!) A Large Glass of Malbec…..thats my Heaven.
    I shall be visiting that special place this very evening!

  • Yes Shaft! Luminescence is a great record. His “Magnificent” is another killer

  • Last night’s listening was ‘Big Brass’ by Benny Bailey on Candid, and ‘The Fantastic’ Frank Strozier on VeeJay. Both great records, with or without the aid of substances.

  • Two 2XIPAs and Bill Baron’s Modern Windows. You want to talk about blasted!

  • I have a pretty nice collection of Japanese pressings. They are just better affordable for me. And those presses are not that hard to find.

    On my turntable right now is Jackie Mclean’s “Lights Out!” on Prestige. Great line up with Donald Byrd and Elmo Hope.

  • They don’t call them “jazz cigarettes” for nothing!

  • Terryfromflorida

    Listening to Bud Powell ” Piano Interpretations” on Norgran yellow label. My turntable is a Clearaudio with Odyssey audio monoblock amplifiers and a tube preamp.
    Next up is a WLP of ” Blues and the Abstract Truth” by Oliver Nelson….

  • Christopher Skura

    Bobby Jaspar Quintet Columbia ESDF 1142
    Gene Ammons Funky
    Curtis Amy: Katanga

  • Last record i listened to is my most recent addi(c)tion : 2 horns/ 2 rythms by Ernie Henry and Kenny Dorham. Beautiful orginal Riverside press.

    My turntable is a Rega Planar 3 and the amp is an AR Cambridge A 60. Speakers are Cabasse Antigua 222. A very simple system.

  • Last night I listened to Soultrane, the 2x45rpm edition from Analogue Productions, with a glass of Oban 18 year old single malt(a birthday present from my wife) with one ice cube. The turntable is Linn LP12 with Rogers BBC Monitors (perfect for our small San Francisco apartment). It took me many years to get my rig to sound the way I wanted, and now I’m enjoying it every day.

  • banksofthecreeks

    Altho I love music from the Coltrane/Monk/Mingus era, I’ve been listening to Jack Teagarden’s albums from the 1950s. Last week my wife was kind enough to find a copy of Swing Low Sweet Spiritual at a thrift shop, and even tho it’s battered, it plays well enough. So that one, plus his Mis’ry and the Blues, and Think Well Of Me, and a glass or two of a harmless little Rose made for a mellow evening.

  • Listened to WLP of Warm World of Joao Gilberto (clocked in at only 20 minutes–disappointing) and the Sound of Stan Getz on Blue label DG Roost. Rig is a Rega P5, Dynavector 20X cartridge and an Almarro Integrated Tube Amp. Next up is an Original Mono Ear Idle Moments by Grant Green I have been searching for a while for.

  • …This is definitely the best way to spend a mid-summer nights eve ! (All of the above Al, although it sounds like someone was celebrating “Jerry Bears” birthday a bit early this year ! heh heh)

    These days, I tend to break out the Cohiba Robustos with a dram or two of the Lagavulin or some nice cold pints myself. Especially at this time of year as my listening room is deck adjacent, so when the wife is out I love to sit outdoors, light up and let the music flow a bit louder through the screen door… (Just to contribute to the tec side of this trip: my turntable is a classic Oracle Delphi MKII w/motor upgrade, McIntosh C50 Pre, and MC 275 Tub Amp)
    I especially love putting on those great live Bluenote recordings when volume is not an issue. I am always a sucker for the classics myself, but this weekend was Newport themed since I didn’t trek down for the festival this year, and the weather was hot and muggy…

    My playlist included:
    -George Wein & The Newport All-Stars (Impulse)
    -A Night At The Village Vanguard / Sonny Rollins
    -Midnight Blue / Kenny Burrell
    -Louis Armstrong Hot Fives and Sevens
    -The Oscar Peterson Trio with Sonny Stitt, Roy Eldridge and Jo Jones at Newport
    -Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday at Newport
    -At Newport 1958 / Miles Davis
    -Someday My Prince Will Come / Miles Davis

    …These albums got me there and back this weekend !

  • Jutta Hipp 1530
    Coltrane impressions Impulse mono!

    Dual 1219. Idler arm tables rule.
    Phillips High fidelity Laboratories 785
    Klipsch B-20

    Enjoy with a growler or two from the brewery down the street!

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