Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
jazzbo

Jamal: One Crying Shame

38 posts in this topic

I know there are hundreds of "crying shames" in the world of jazz and jazz collecting. . . .

One recent one I am coming up against is the fact that legal matters or something is keeping Ahmad Jamal Argo and Cadet recordings from being reissued in toto. (Do I have that right?)

What vinyl I have been able to find of these is just exhiliratingly beautiful. Jamal at this time had a rare version of virtuosity. He had technique spilling all out of him, but he had an editing mode on 100% and I guess I might be bold enough to say he had a genius for structure, conception, and swing. . . .

I'm even afraid to find out what I don't yet have the way the reissues just aren't coming. Here's hoping one day, in the next decade or so, they'll see the light. . . .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Had't been aware of this. But I do know that Jamal was so successful that there is a constant flow of his Argos on ebay and I doubt that they fetch very high prices. I also see them all over in local stores.

So, a dedicated vinyl junkie could make up for the legal wranglings pretty easy ... ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, the Jamal trios with Israel Crosy and either Ray Crawford or Vernell Fournier (New Orleans Drummer Alert! :D ) pretty special.

Funny thing - in the 70s, a lot of those albums were available in the cutout and used bins with great regularity. I nabbed a few, and have heard most of the rest. Other than a few overtly "commercial" things, it's good, often enough great, stuff, and it's current unavailability is indeed a Crying Shame.

What about the earlier Okeh material - what's its status? I bought an old used Epic album way back when that contained some (all?) of that stuff, and find it every bit as good as the best Argo/Cadet material.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that all that material is on the Mosaic Columbia Piano Moods set Jim. A good chunk, if not all, is there. Great stuff!

Yeah, I'm sure that the vinyl is out there. I do also find though that his work really benefits from very quiet pressings/very clean copies, and all the ones that I've found have been pretty PLAYED. That is why a digital batch from the masters would really be something I'd jump on!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, here's another one:

No previously unreleased Stan Getz material may be released at the moment. Som legal conflict stopped the new reissue of 'Sweet Rain' a few months ago. There is apparently an unreleased extra session featuring Roy Haynes and Steve Swallow along with Getz and Corea, one excellent track of which has been released in a Corea retrospective box.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know much about Jamal's music. Would you all recommend what's in Jim's post?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brad, the music is remarkably consistently good. Any of the Argo/Cadets should give you an idea. He is also playing brilliantly today and his new material is worth hearing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps a warning, though, that a few of the very last Cadets, one or two of them are also featuring a chorus I think, are more "commercial" than the earlier. Not a bad thing in itself, they're just stylistically a bit different.

Re: My off-topic notion about unissued Getz. Sorry, I though for a moment that this thread was dedicated to everything it appears we're not allowed to hear. Such a thread would perhaps be unnecessarily sad, so we'd perhaps better stick just to Jamal...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jamal's Argo Lps are quite plentiful and if one applies oneself one can find many pristine ones for ones pleasure.

Edited by Dmitry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A great way to enter into Jamal's work is with this 2-disc set:

B000006EJ4.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

Sound samples here.

An album that not's part of the above compilation and that I'd really like to see reissued is Jamal's Chamber Music of the New Jazz. The music cut for this LP became the direct inspiration for Miles' & Gil's Miles Ahead. Playing them back to back makes for some interesting comparisons. My vinyl copy is heavily played, and a digital transfer, I agree, would definitely bring out the quieter passages. Also, everyone should have a chance to read the original liner notes — by Herbert C. Lust! :excited:

Edited by Late

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay Dmitry, that depends where you live, and I'd really rather have a digital collection of these chronologically, with notes, etc. I'd also rather see Jamal get new fans and new monies from a new program of releases. I don't quite get the "army of one" referrence, but that's okay.

Yeah, that two cd set is very nice, though I'd rather see complete reissues than excerpted bits on compilations.

Edited by jazzbo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One recent one I am coming up against is the fact that legal matters or something is keeping Ahmad Jamal Argo and Cadet recordings from being reissued in toto. (Do I have that right?)

I remember writing Michael Cuscuna about a Jamal Mosaic and he said basically the same thing - legal problems prevent these from being released.

Of course there's also Verve's reluctance to let Mosaic license their holdings, although I know that this appears to be changing what with the Mulligan CJB and all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These must be some very curious legal issues, because the aforementioned Cross Country Tour set and the classic But Not For Me *are* available on CD from Universal/Chess as are other various compilations. I understand about the Mosaic situation, but I'm not sure why Universal could issue some but not all of the Argo material.

Interestingly, the discography at the official http://www.ahmadjamal.info/ site lists NONE of the Argo/Cadet issues/reissues.

Chamber Music of the New Jazz, recorded 1955 - that's T minus 2 in European terms. I would hope the legal isues would be sorted out before then.

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

T minus 2? OK, somebody help me out. :blink:

Chamber Music of the New Jazz is really a fine LP. Whenever I play it, however, bacon suddenly gets grilled in the kitchen ... and the sound comes out of my speakers! Strange things afoot — especially as a vegetarian.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

T minus 2? OK, somebody help me out.  :blink:

I think Mike is referring to the fact that in two years, that recording will become public domain in Europe under their 50-year copyright law, and any company will be able to issue it.

Edited by Big Wheel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aha! Thanks Wheel.

I can see Jazz Factory (Spain), or Definitive (Spain), or ______ (country of choice) greedily rubbing their hands.

:party:

Wouldn't it behoove Jamal's estate and Verve to work something out prior to this? I guess that's a rhetorical question. :bwallace:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just listened to the Lp ALL OF YOU last night, for the first time in a while. Just a great tight-sounding trio, but with a style and sound that's all its own. You're right Lon, Jamal is a MF. Here's hoping this does somehow come out as a Mosaic or some other box collection.

By the way, here's the liners of the aforementioned album, penned by Jamal himself:

The Ahmad Jamal Trio was formed in May - 1951.  At that time we were using Guitar - Ray Crawford and Bass - Tommy Sowell.

We started recording in 1952.  I had been trying to sell the idea spasmodically since 1949, when I made certain efforts in this direction toward some of the most likely recording companies at that time........ unsuccessfully.

I will always remember my very dear and long time acquaintance Chris Powell (whose group most of you "informed afficienados" wouldn't remember the late Clifford Brown being a part of).  Chris' group made the first demonstration pressings with me in Toronto........ where he was working at the time and I was accompanying a group of singers called "The Caldwells".

Since then much has taken place...... recording and otherwise, including some "5" Star record ratings (whatever that means.... Ahmad's Blues, etc.,... Down Beat Magazine) as early as 1952 when the group was virtually unheard of.

I was fortunate to grow up with and around such musicians as Thomas Turrentine, Joe Harris, Harold Holt, Joe Kennedy, Sam Johnson, Edgar Willis, and also share the rich heritage that Pittsburgh has.... Roy Eldridge, Erroll Garner, Dodo Marmarosa, Ray Brown, Art Blakely [sic], Earl Hines, Billy Eckstein, Billy Strayhorn and many many others, including some personalities that are synonymous with Pittsburgh.... LeRoy Brown, Honey Boy Minor, William Hitchcock, Joe Westray, etc.

Pittsburgh was and still is a formidable territory for transient musicians, with sessions going on into the early hours of the morning.  Such musicians as Jerry Elliott, Billy Lewis, Bass McMahon and the musicians who hadn't started playing then and are doing so well now (Stanley Turrentine and others) playing Host.

This present L.P. was recorded in one of the most enjoyable and most compatible atmospheres that I have ever known, as far as clubs go......... The AlHambra..... not saying this because we own same, but because so many club owners and promoters could take a lesson from the Artist's approach toward working facilities for the musicians and singers. 

The acoustics, the piano, the lighting, the atmosphere, could only be conductive to one thing........... a happy result and here it is.

                                                    AHMAD JAMAL

Edited by pryan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BTW, doncha love how Jamal pokes fun at jazz fans, publications, and club owners, while giving props to his fellow Pitt. musicians and plugging his own club, all on the same album jacket? B)

Edited by pryan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, very slick!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And on the Stan Getz question: this one's coming out soon with bonus tracks, so maybe that estate issue is more resolved?

Stan Getz - Captain Marvel (Columbia/Legacy) Aug 5

-- with Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Tony Williams

-- with two unissued altnernates and one unissued tune ("Crystal Silence");

liner notes by Chick Corea

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had the same problem as Lon with the vinyl route - Jamal was really pretty popular and so most of the vinyl out there that is available at reasonable price is played out. To pay top dollar for all his many Argos on pristine vinyl is not something I care to do, personally. Plus, as Lon points out, in addition to his music really benefitting from a good digital remastering (Malcom Addy, anyone?), there has to be some unissued stuff. So I too am bummed to learn that there are legal tie-ups preventing a boxed set a la Mosaic or Universal...I've been asking for one from Mosaic for years, so I guess this helps to explain why they haven't appeared to have been listening!

Come on you lawyers, plaintiffs, and defendants...SETTLE! SETTLE! SETTLE! :rmad:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know much about Jamal's music.  Would you all recommend what's in Jim's post?

Brad, if you could buy only one album by Ahmad I would highly recommend "Ahmad Jamal at the Pershing - But Not For Me". It's the album that made him famous. :)

Edited by Cali

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And on the Stan Getz question: this one's coming out soon with bonus tracks, so maybe that estate issue is more resolved?

Stan Getz  - Captain Marvel (Columbia/Legacy) Aug 5

--  with Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Tony Williams

-- with two unissued altnernates and one unissued tune ("Crystal Silence");

liner notes by Chick Corea

Not necessarily. I could have to do with how Getz’s Verve contract was constructed, as opposed to his Columbia contract. Or it could be that Verve's lawyers are more cautios. (Actually I vaguely remember Mark@Verve saying something to the effect that Verve probably had the right to reissue the material, but because the estate was protesting, the Verve lawyers blocked the reissues just for safety's sake.)

The Verve problem seems to continue. Verve just reissued Getz’s Reflections as a straight reissue of the original LP. But there are four unissued tracks from the same sessions, which now remain unissued. Reflections was planned as a reissue already some years ago, but never materialized then, in all probability because of the problem with previously unissued material.

It’s the same with Sweet Rain. There are three unissued tracks from the same sessions. Sweet Rain was even listed in other reissues as an upcoming release in 1999. What may have happened now is that Verve has resigned and just decided to reissue the Getz albums as straight LP reissues, just to get any Getz out. Expect Sweet Rain without the bonus material soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.