Hunting vintage jazz vinyl records in the Nutmeg State
Mono deep groove yellow labels, D2 matrix, first pressing?
Andre Previn and His Pals – Bewitched (side 1 track 3) (through the headphone jack on my receiver, probably a little too quiet)
(a little noisy unfortunately…and the unsteadiness of pitch my Technics SL-1700 suffers from seems to be a little more obvious with slow piano stuff. I happened to use Y cables this time around to condense and then spilt the two channels, trying to make the play back a bit cleaner and take some bite off that high end…LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW AND LET ME KNOW WHICH VERSION SOUNDS BETTER)
On a dull snowy day here in the Nutmeg state, I found myself home early from work trying to photograph the label of one of my first three original Contemporary Records LPs. As you can tell, the weather made it difficult to get that trademark shade of yellow. I picked them up – two monos and a stereo – somewhat recently at Replay Records in Hamden, CT. They’re a little noisy and unfortunately they’re not the big blockbuster titles that would be put out on this label. I had been itching to get my hands a Contemporary LP, and this time of year, the breezy West Cost vibe is most welcome in my apartment.
Rather than pulling in Sonny Rollins’ Way Out West or Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section, I found three LPs of “modern jazz performances” from musicals. Apparently the Shelly Manne/Andre Previn/Leroy Vinegar take on My Fair Lady actually ended up being a bit of a hit record, with My Pal Joey and countless others following shortly afterward. The opening “I Could Write a Book” became one of Richard Rogers’ most well known jazz standards, but if you go into an “interpretations” LP like this expecting a lot of blockbusters, you’re likely to get burned.
I try to put myself in the shoes of the musicians when I hear music like this – they’ve got a handful of tunes from one musical and they have to make them sound somewhat less anonymous than they probably would be if handled by a typical jazz combo – head, solos, head. That being said, these arrangements aren’t ground breaking, but they make for exciting piano trio music that is several notches above cocktail hour fare. Previn in particular probably doesn’t excite most listeners, but there’s something about his crystal clear technique I gravitate towards. He manages to sound particularly spontaneous without sounding like he’s mindlessly rattling off lines. If nothing else, this LP expands the breadth of my jazz collection while making that itch for more Contemporary LPs a little more persistent.