Wednesday, 26 October 2011


I have no idea what possessed me on Monday. But I made the rather foolish mistake of going into my local *cough* "music" shop in the vain hope that they would have at least one copy of the new Stan Tracey offering "A Child's Christmas In Wales".
When will I ever learn? What used to be places where young and ...."not so young" mix and buy music of all genre's and all styles are now little more than slightly more tacky versions of "Toys 'R' Us", where in among the brightly coloured "headcandy" headphones and cute animal shaped "docking stations", tucked away in a corner - just behind the collection of fatties drooling and playing demo versions of "Fat-Arse-For-Play-Station", there dwells their meagre collection of music. Well, I say "music", but this Monday all that seemed to be on offer was the latest arse-trumpetings of Mr Chris Martin and his beat combo "Cold. Play".
Tried two other shops yesterday through in the Third World....same story.

Buying jazz in shops is almost impossible these days.

I have always considered myself a "collector" of CDs. The monetary value of CDs, rare or otherwise, has never really been important to me, but I do like to own a physical CD. I like to have a tangible presence to signify my acquisition of an album - you don't get that with a download.

Sadly I'm now having to reconsider that and redefine what I do as a collector of "music". The vast bulk is still on CD but I'm getting more and more downloads - legal and ....."other".

Sadly jazz fans are being hit on two sides right now. The shops are not stocking what we want when it IS released on CD and even worse a lot of great stuff out there is not seeing public distribution on CD anyway.
Then, just to add to our woes the 50 year copyright laws that should have seen a lot of great stuff from the late 50s and early 60s come into the public domain and become readily available have been changed to 70 years to suit the greedy machinations of leathery-necked-scrotum-faced-god-botherer Cliff "bloody" Richard.
Luckily some dedicated fans are using t'internet to fill the gaps.
Acquired two albums that have never seen the light of day on CD. Both these albums are good quality "rips" from vinyl copies. There's one or two wee "snap, crackle and pops" but nothing that detracts from the music.

Stan Tracey "The Latin American Caper". A big band recording from 1968 that sees Stan in a joyful Latin/Bossa Nova groove. Big band arrangements very similar to Duke Ellingtons Latin American Suite. Duke Ellington a constant influence on Stan. Though to be fair to Stan, his recording pre dates Dukes by 2 years (so did Stan influence Duke?). It also has some really fast and furious piano work from the great man with his trademark clunky thunking chords.
Not his best, but a really nice part of his output. Someone somewhere must own the master tapes! Why hasn't this seen the light of day on CD?

Another one is Tubby Hayes "Tubbs in N.Y." This is a 1962 recording from one of the the British jazz men of all time, that saw him visit NY and play with some of the big name hardbop artists of the day. 49 years old and this has never been put on CD?? Or, at least, not in it's original format. I believe it made a brief appearance on CD in the early 90s as a mish-mashed "New York Sessions" album - before being withdrawn. Vinyl copies are changing hands on Amazon for £227!! Now I would never pay that (don't have a turntable anyway). Again, someone could bring it out on CD. Yes it's not going to shift a huge number of copies, but those who do want it would pay a bit more for it.

If the record companies don't want to bring this type of stuff out on CD then why don't they at least make it available as a download?

So. Until then I'm just going to have to rummage around in the murky depths of the inter web for bootlegs.
I don't want to go underground, and it's hardly a defense, but I feel that it's a "choice" I'm being forced into.

As for Stan's new one? I'll buy that directly from Stan's website. Cut out the middle man and Stan gets more of the money (and I salve my conscience about getting "The Latin American Caper" for nowt).

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