Tuesday, 16 February 2010



On my way to the train station yesterday I passed a charity shop that I’d been in a few weeks past. Then they had a jazz CD that I had looked at and didn’t bother getting at the time…

Popped in again last night - and it was still there so I decided that an investment of £1.99 was in order.

Jimmy Hamilton Quartet - “As Time Goes By”.

A reeds player, though mainly clarinet, Jimmy was a member of Duke Ellington’s band from 43 till  the late 60’s. Then he spent the 70’s and 80’s in the Virgin Islands teaching music. As I’ve got more than a few Ellington albums I’ve obviously got a few that Jimmy is on, but I didn’t have any of his own stuff (though to be honest he’s not exactly got a massive back catalogue).

This is a nice set of covers of mainly Ellington standards though there is a version of a number many in Britain will be familiar with… “Stranger On The Shore”. It’s a nice underplayed “live” recording of the quartet from a small jazz club in the Virgin Islands in the mid 80’s. You can hear some of the banter between Jimmy and the crowd – he announces one number as having “more and more meaning as the years go by” before leading the band into “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”.

All very nice stuff and I enjoyed listening to it last night while doing some club paper work – nothing taxing. It’s nice to hear tunes most often associated with big bands played by a small combo.

But here’s the thing… I collect jazz CDs. I specifically collect cheap ones, where I can, and charity shops are a great place to find these (though you do have to trawl through a load of crap in the hope of finding something).

Also, what’s £1.99 in this day and age? It’s great to take a chance on something or someone you’ve never heard of at that price. If it’s complete rubbish what have you lost? Less than the price of a fancy coffee.

And occasionally you hit gold.. I’ve got cheap second hand CDs before that have completely got me hooked on some artists. But what of hitting gold in a more literal sense? I’ve had a wee look at this CD on Amazon Market Place – it’s selling for £26!!

I don’t do it for the money though. I’m keeping this.

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