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ghost of miles

Tom Wilson and the Transition Records Story

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An early chapter in music biz D.I.Y.: Tom Wilson, a young African-American Harvard graduate who'd go on to produce some of the 1960s' most landmark albums, working with Bob Dylan, the Velvet Underground, and Frank Zappa, started out in the 1950s by running his own label, Transition Records.

Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Herb Pomeroy, Donald Byrd, Paul Chambers/John Coltrane, Louis Smith and Herb Pomeroy were some the jazz artists who recorded for Transition--some of them making their debut on wax. The music of all of these artists, plus more of the backstory on Wilson, this week on Night Lights:

 

Tom Wilson and the Transition Story

 

Broadcast times around the U.S.

 

Next week: "Sweet Smell of Success."

Edited by ghost of miles

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Are there any Transition label collectors out there? If so, please contact me at hershia@cfl.rr.com.

Still looking.

Edited by Stonewall15
additional information.

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has much of this been issued on CD?

I have the Cecil Taylor -

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has much of this been issued on CD?

I have the Cecil Taylor -

Click on the various titles on the playlist in the right-hand column of this page; all albums mentioned there have been issued on CD.

Edited by J.A.W.

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thanks, guess I have more of that stuff than I know.

There's more on Wilson in Greil Marcus' book about the song Like a Rolling Stone -

also there's something somewhere of Eric Burdon talking about him -

Edited by AllenLowe

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has much of this been issued on CD?

All the Transition Jazz LPs have been issued on CD except for:

TRLPJ-2 Jazz At Columbia Avenue by John Windhurst; TRLP-23 Chiefly Jazz by The Dartmouth Indian Chiefs and TRLP-27 Piano Reflections by Fran Thorne. Additionally most of the LPs did not have notes on the back of the LP covers- instead the LPs came with a booklet enclosed in the cover. Most of the CDs do not include a copy of the booklet. These booklets are very rare, even more than the LPs.

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The Windhurst was reissued on lp by Jazzology. No cd to date.

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I assume the non-jazz titles , the Sam Gary , the Russell Woollen and the Eleanor "Lovey" Powell have not been on CD either . The masters for these are listed as being held by Phoenix . However , according to an interview with Tom Wilson that appeared in the August 1956 issue of Metronome , Phoenix was to be a subsidiary label focusing largely on earlier jazz styles as opposed to folk or classical . The first issue was to be a recording by Wallerite trumpeter Herman Autrey .

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Update to my post of 21 October 2009: The John Windhurst "Jazz At Columbus Ave" Transition LP was reissued on a mini-LP CD by the Japanese (THCD-127).

If you are interested in collecting Transition Label CDs or LPs please contact me.

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On 2/20/2011 at 8:37 AM, Stonewall15 said:

The John Windhurst "Jazz At Columbus Ave" Transition LP was reissued on a mini-LP CD by the Japanese (THCD-127).

It's a good sounding disc, too. The music speaks for itself.

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Picked up four of these Transition titles last week at a Half Price Books:

  • Donald Byrd - Byrd Blows on Beacon Hill
  • Lucky Thompson - Lucky Strikes
  • Sun Ra - Jazz By Sun Ra, Vol. 1
  • Doug Watkins - Watkins at Large

They all have the booklets. Records look NM, though the Watkins has a split spine and the Sun Ra has some spine and seam splitting.

The Sun Ra booklet is a TRIP

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Tom Wilson was the producer on the first Soft Machine record. Kevin Ayers said he just sat around phoning his girl-friends while the band played a standard set. In which case, he did a hell of a job and one would like to know what he'd be like when he was really concentrating.

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Producers are at their best when they know to step back.

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4 hours ago, WD45 said:

Picked up four of these Transition titles last week at a Half Price Books:

  • Donald Byrd - Byrd Blows on Beacon Hill
  • Lucky Thompson - Lucky Strikes
  • Sun Ra - Jazz By Sun Ra, Vol. 1
  • Doug Watkins - Watkins at Large

They all have the booklets. Records look NM, though the Watkins has a split spine and the Sun Ra has some spine and seam splitting.

The Sun Ra booklet is a TRIP

Original Transition LPs??? If true, just that Watkins LP with inserts alone is worth about $1,000, especially if the labels are somehow still attached to the plastic record.

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They were brittle styrene pressings. Had a few.

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22 minutes ago, Chuck Nessa said:

Producers are at their best when they know to step back.

Makes a lot of sense.

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I have the two Byrd albums and the Watkins album on cd, all re-issued in Japan.  Just played the Beacon Hill one the other day. 

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8 hours ago, Chuck Nessa said:

They were brittle styrene pressings. Had a few.

The only original ones I ever saw looked pretty well unplayable.

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11 hours ago, Chuck Nessa said:

Producers are at their best when they know to step back.

That reaffirms my experience that I seem like the records best where the producers seemed to interfere the least.

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On 8/3/2018 at 11:01 AM, WD45 said:

Picked up four of these Transition titles last week at a Half Price Books:

  • Donald Byrd - Byrd Blows on Beacon Hill
  • Lucky Thompson - Lucky Strikes
  • Sun Ra - Jazz By Sun Ra, Vol. 1
  • Doug Watkins - Watkins at Large    

They all have the booklets. Records look NM, though the Watkins has a split spine and the Sun Ra has some spine and seam splitting.

The Sun Ra booklet is a TRIP

GET OUTTA HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  YOU DID NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:o:o:o:o

Image result for cry emoji

you know i am noticing Byrds eye view was recorded at Harvard Square-- does that make that a live recording, i dont seem to recall it being live.  cause lee konitz at harvard squares a live recording, no?

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