16 November, 2017

Vinyl Jazz and Pop

Vinyl Talk: Scouring the Dollar Bin
Jazz and Pop Recommendation
Letter from NYC (73) 2017 (12)

Article finished in HK

By Dollar Bin, I mean the bargain bins in used vinyl, which usually require you to get on your knees. And they are not always a dollar, sometimes 2-5. But I buy mostly One Dollar stuff. Sometimes one can spend a whole day and not get anything. Occasionally, one gets lucky, and find interesting stuff. Some people scour the bins for records they can resell for profit, but I mostly just pick up things I'd like to try. I can listen once, or even sample a track, and get on with it if it is no good. Recently, on one dreary day I visited a few stores I have never been to, and got some items that I enjoyed.

Although most people, including myself, think of myself as a classical listener, there are days I actually spend quite a lot of time with jazz and pop.

The most astonishing find here is Carla Bley's A Genuine Tong Funeral, performed by Gary Burton Quintet and friends (my copy is an old French RCA re-issue). The music is ultra sophisticated and reminds me of the death and ascension aspects in Strauss' tone poems, from Till Eulenspiegel to Metamorphosen. One can also connect it with St James Infirmary from the audiophile fav Satchmo plays King Oliver (my copy is $5, pristine UK mono). But the truly amazing Armstrong was the mono Louis Armstrong and his Hot Seven, Vol 2 (Columbia Mono), recordings made in 1927 and sounding thoroughly present and engaging through my horns (I took it to Andy and he too shook his head in disbelief at the realism). The Jazz Giants '56 pitched Lester Young against Roy Eldridge, with a star-studded back up, including pianist Teddy Wilson. Noisy copy, as was Ellington Indigos (I particularly like Ray Nance's violin) but great stuff. This late Blue Note LP found Charles Lloyd in Copenhagen utterly relaxed and playing several instruments, in a lighter vein that I prefer to his current more somber ECM stuff. But to me the find is the neglected Buck Hill (Scope. Steeplechase), a postman who plays after work. The one that left me non-plussed was Art Tatum/Ben Webster, the two seemingly playing in different universes. A curiosity is the forgotten Jean Durand Baby, did you hear?, folk songs in Creole, French and Spanish, no less ably sung than Belafonte.

Some Pop
I won't write more on these pop stuff, but suffice to say I enjoyed them, especially the Soul stuff. I just love the covers!

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