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Shrdlu

A Three Sounds 1958-1962 Mosaic?

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The Three Sounds, Gene Harris (piano), Andy Simpkins (bass) and Bill Dowdy (drums), recorded a superb set of sessions for Blue Note between September 16, 1958 and June 28, 1962, after which they left the label.

A large amount of these recordings were issued on LP in the late 50s and 60s - as much as could be expected at the time. I did not get to hear any of their records until the late 90s, the CD boom. I saw them listed in a Blue Note catalog in the 60s, but I never heard them on the radio and had too much else to collect back then. Somehow, a CD of them came to my attention, and I was very impressed. I quickly discovered that very few CDs were issued in the U.S. (a situation which persists until the present day). But, the Blue Note Works series is exhaustive and all of their LPs came out in that series - with the usual excellent sound. There were several Japanese Rudy van Gelder CDs as well, two having (rarity of rarities) two bonus tracks each, one of which, "I'll Be Around (long version)", has never been issued anywhere else. That one, a very tasty track, is a real needle in a haystack.

Then, starting in about 2015, during Michael Cuscuna's swan song at Japanese Blue Note, when he issued a large amount of new material from Blue Note, a large number of new tracks by the Sounds came out. The CDs bore LP titles and naturally had the LP tracks at the start, with the previously unissued items at the end. This, and the fact that the recordings were scattered over the various LPs back in the day, led me to assemble everything of theirs that has been issued in the order in which the tracks were recorded, to tidy up the "mess".

It has been a ball doing it. It came to 11 CDs.

NOW!

Because of this, and the fact that there are many tracks that have never been issued, may I suggest a Mosaic set of all the 58-62 material? This music is of a consistently high standard and is never boring. Such a set would come to about 13 CDs. I can, upfront, suggest a reason not to do this: Their sets are $17 per CD, so the set would cost about $221. But that aside, it's a great idea.

I very strongly doubt that the unissued tracks are bad.

Edited by Shrdlu

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I had a discussion with Michael Cuscuna at Mosaic’s offices and he politely threw cold water on the topic. As I recall he didn’t think a Mosaic would do well. His parting point was that he’d like to find a way to get some Three Sounds re-issues but it never happened. 

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Paging Dan Gould (aka Gene Harris Fanatic--old school here!), who I believe has posted about something along these lines several times and also had discussions with MC about it over the years.  

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Well y'all know how I feel about the group and the potential for a Mosaic. Years ago I suggested a Mosaic/Mosaic Select of the unissued/unrejected tracks listed in the BN Discography. I understand Michael's reasons for not doing a Mosaic - for whatever reason the group sells far less well in the CD era than they did when they were a band whose consistent sales kept BN going (among other popular acts).

What I don't understand is Michael's statement that he wanted to get more reissues out or shrdlu's about US reissues and the timing.  Both of these seem a little misplaced.  For the time frame under discussion, Michael got reissued in the US:

The complete "Introducing" set with many unissued tracks that had been issued in Japan as "volume 2";

Standards, consisting entirely of unissued tracks (1998);

Babe's Blues (1986), also all unissued tracks;

Black Orchid (1998) which had almost double the amount of music as the original LP

The Complete Blue Hour which had a second CD worth of material (2000);

All of these came out prior to the 2015 date Shrdlu mentions.  As to Three Sounds recordings outside this time frame, Michael got the two It Club volumes issued - which were supposedly meant to be issued at the time but weren't, plus an expanded Live at the Lighthouse which is an even better CD than the LP was.

So Michael has really done a lot in the CD era, outside of Japan, to get Three Sounds music out there. I for one am grateful.

Edit to add: What I would love is to hear is this 1965 Mercury session that was never issued. 

three sounds mercury.JPG

Edited by Dan Gould

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I should clarify that by reissues he was — I think — referring to a box set. I can’t recall if we had the conversation during or before the Mosaic Selects era.  

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The PD Dark Overlords are at your service, at 1/10th of the price.  Prepared for incoming artillary....  ;)

Image result for three sounds classic albums"

Image result for three sounds classic albums"

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Thanks for the comments. It does sound like it comes down to there not being sufficient demand for such a set. The expense is a bit daunting.

It is frustrating, knowing that there are still about 4 CDs' worth of unissued tracks. They were so well drilled that they went through session after session making most items in one take. There are no blemishes. That is why I am confident that all the unissued material will be good. Plus, the bonus material from the two 1958 sessions exists (on CD) only on an old 1987 version - though I don't recall it sounding bad. It could do with an update.

My source material for this 11-CD set was Blue Note Works, where possible, that series covering all of the released LPs. I already mentioned "I'll Be Around (long version). The new tracks came from the mid-2010s (Japanese) reissues. An American CD called "Standards" contains tracks that are nowhere else. Finally, the American CD of "Black Orchid" has two tracks that are nowhere else, and are not on the Japanese CD with the same name. The best I can say about the American CD entitled "Babe's Blues" is that it is an irrelevant nuisance.

Having been thoroughly immersed in all this music, I was in a position to, and decided to make up a CD of favorites. I slung it together kinda haphazardly, but it came out real good and is highly recommended. There are tense vamps and pedal points, lots of superb solos, two brisk quicksteps, and we fade out at the end, to the sound of Gene on the velocopede.

 1. I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good

 2. Sandu

 3. Sometimes I'm Happy

 4. Out Of This World

 5. For Dancers Only

 6. I'll Be Around (long version)

 7. My Secret Love

 8. Black Orchid

 9. A Foggy Day

10. Saucer Eyes

11. At Last

12. Witchcraft

13. Shiny Silk Stockings

14. Goin' Home (take 18, as issued)

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2 hours ago, felser said:

The PD Dark Overlords are at your service, at 1/10th of the price.  Prepared for incoming artillary....  ;)

Image result for three sounds classic albums"

Image result for three sounds classic albums"

Over the years I’ve been able to acquire 11 of their BN studio albums, all but one Japanese reissues. I also have Live at the It Club, the Resonance release, a Mercury cd (Some Like it Modern), and a twofer on Solar (one of those PD labels) containing two Mercury and Verve dates, Play Jazz on Broadway and Blue Genes. 

Edited by Brad

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Resonance put out a Three Sounds live album a couple of years ago. I wonder how well that sold. Now that they are doing box sets (with the Nat Cole set, which I am listening to as  I type this), perhaps they would be the best hope for a Three Sounds box set.

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That's a great idea. Either that or a "Mosaic Select" set, though I imagine the unissued tracks would take up 4 CDs.

In my analysis above, I was not aware of those "Classic Albums" CD sets. I wonder where they got the material. Stolen Blue Note Works masterings?

Edited by Shrdlu

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3 hours ago, Shrdlu said:

They were so well drilled that they went through session after session making most items in one take. There are no blemishes. That is why I am confident that all the unissued material will be good.

And yet you say this:

The best I can say about the American CD entitled "Babe's Blues" is that it is an irrelevant nuisance.

So you really feel that the very first time Michael went into the archives and put together an unissued session he found all duds, couldn't recognize them as such, which you feel shouldn't exist in the archives anyway.  :wacko: 

And you included Shiny Stockings, so Babe's Blues can't be that irrelevant can it?

 

 

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I do not mean that that old CD contains bad music. Far from it. At the time (1987), it was useful, and it was, then, the only way to get its tracks on a CD. But the track selection was a bad idea: the title track is from one session and everything elss is from another session. Why not issue "Moods", which is arguably their best album and has never appeared on a CD outside Japan (apart from on one of those multi-album sets that appeared much later)? In any case, that CD is no longer needed, because everything on it has been issued, in an orderly manner, on Japanese CDs with much better sound. The old CD was a constant nuisance when I was making up the 11 CDs.

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41 minutes ago, Shrdlu said:

I do not mean that that old CD contains bad music. Far from it. At the time (1987), it was useful, and it was, then, the only way to get its tracks on a CD. But the track selection was a bad idea: the title track is from one session and everything elss is from another session. Why not issue "Moods", which is arguably their best album and has never appeared on a CD outside Japan (apart from on one of those multi-album sets that appeared much later)? In any case, that CD is no longer needed, because everything on it has been issued, in an orderly manner, on Japanese CDs with much better sound. The old CD was a constant nuisance when I was making up the 11 CDs.

Gotcha. 

Agreed on Moods but I would have selected that super slow take of "Things Ain't" on a best-of comp.

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12 hours ago, Shrdlu said:

In my analysis above, I was not aware of those "Classic Albums" CD sets. I wonder where they got the material. Stolen Blue Note Works masterings?

Probably needle drops. 

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Well maybe but the CDs would probably cost less than the LPs they would need!

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Glad we cleared that up, Dan. I love that incredibly slow "Things Ain't What They Used To Be" (and "Lil' Darlin'", both originally on "Moods"). They would HAVE to be in any "best of" compilation. My CD came about because I was unable to get the whole June 28, 1960 session onto one CD, and the CD I listed started with the last two tracks from the session - which are great anyway. Then, I added tracks that were not on the June 28 CD.

"Things Ain't What They Used To Be" is an utterly amazing performance. I enjoyed Leonard Feather's comments about it, in the notes to the "Moods" album. Back in the day, I was always glad to see notes by Leonard. He was my favorite liner notes writer.

Yes, those pirate people might have used needle drops, but it would be very hard to find LPs that are not Rice Krispie ones (usually described inaccurately as VG+). If I were pirating, I would go for the Blue Note Works versions.

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1 hour ago, Brad said:

Probably needle drops. 

No, they sound better than that.

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On 20/11/2019 at 7:08 PM, Dan Gould said:

The Complete Blue Hour which had a second CD worth of material (2000)

I have that one and am listening to it now. This thread made me search for it and pick it up.

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19 minutes ago, Bluesnik said:

I have that one and am listening to it now. This thread made me search for it and pick it up.

Always good listening but I have to say as nice as it is to hear the band cooking on the unissued tunes, Alfred created a stone cold classic when he selected the original tracks for Blue Hour

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"Blue Hour" certainly is a wonderful album. Shortly after The Three Sounds joined Blue Note, they did an album with Lou Donaldson. It is very enjoyable, but it removes the very premise of the trio and becomes Lou backed by a rhythm section. The album with Turrentine manages to combine the horn with The Three Sounds. It being a tenor helps, the alto being rather strident. The LP came from a second attempt, and that had something to do with it.

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Yes, I think Stanley Turrentine was the ideal partner for the Three Sounds in this venture.

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My box set idea, however, is trio only, and they are so together that I think that that is a good plan.

The Turrentine dates are easily available, and to add them to the set would bloat it (no disrespect the the music intended).

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