Wednesday, 14 April 2010


I do like a bargain you know. It’s even nicer when it’s a sort of “double” bargain – and that’s just what I got yesterday.
“Missing”, the second hand CD shop – possibly the only good thing about the *ahem* Dear Green Place. Even here though you have to watch what you wade through and pick up. A lot of the “offers” look surprisingly new and bear a striking similarity to what’s on offer at the Fopp record shop round the corner (the one with the bad security that always seems to attract a lot of Neds) – not that I’m insinuating anything.
Actually you have to watch as quite often what they have for sale “second hand” can be bought cheaper, new, in Fopp. But I digress.
Yesterday I came across a CD by Benny Golson. One of those “2LPs on 1CD” thingies. Now I have not seen this one before and thought it would be worth a punt.
Golson is one of those people who have always been on the periphery of my “jazz radar”. Been aware of him as a composer, arranger and sideman. But for some strange reason I didn’t have any of his own stuff.
At two for the price of one I thought this was an opportunity too good to miss. One of the “problems” with second hand shops is that if you do see something you pretty much have to get it there and then – you can’t guarantee it’ll be there next time.
Anyway. The first LP is one from 1958. “The Philadelphians” and features a quintet with Golson and four of his friends and compatriots from, you guessed it, Philadelphia. Lee Morgan on trumpet, Ray Bryant on piano, Percy Heath Bass and “Philly” Joe Jones on drums. Six pretty fast paced bop numbers make up a nice but not spectacular album. I don’t rightly know why, but this album was originally released by United Artists (this one) but was later released by Blue Note (with a much better sleeve). Sadly, the sleeve notes don’t mention producer etc. But if it’s now on Blue Note I suspect that Rudy Van Gelder would have been involved in the original recording. Certainly most of the other musicians are Blue Note regulars.
Anyway. It’s the second of the two albums packaged onto this CD that, to me, is the interesting one. “Take A Number From 1 to 10”. A “concept” album no less.
However, the “concept” does not refer to some recurring theme or topic in the tune titles or overall subject matter but rather a “concept of form”.
Ten tracks on the album. For the first (“You’re My Thrill”) Golson plays solo tenor sax, on the next (“My Heart Belongs To Daddy”), he’s joined by Tommy Williams on bass, then joined by drums on the next etc. etc etc.. Until the whole thing ends in a ten piece band playing an original piece called “Time”.
A strange wee album this. First off it reads like a who’s who of late 50’s early 60’s bop (Freddie Hubbard, Cedar Walton, Art Farmer to name three), but on listening it’s best listened to as a whole (not one for the “shuffle button”).
Obviously the difference between solo, duo and trio were obvious and striking, but I found myself getting to a point (I think after about 5) where the addition of another player didn’t make an obvious difference between each track, but I was still aware of an overall sort of “growth” as the thing progressed.
Strange that this “album” was presented as the second part of the CD as the listener is now presented with 6 songs by the quintet before being suddenly presented with a solo, duo, trio etc.. Sort of detracts in a way. To overcome this I’ve “ripped” the original albums separately to my music library.
A nice wee find.

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