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ghost of miles

Art Blakey 1959 Blue Note date w/Lee Morgan and Hank Mobley “Just Coolin’”

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Posted (edited)

Previously-unreleased Blue Note session from 1959 coming out in April. Has this date been discussed or speculated about on the board before?

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers “Just Coolin’”

 

Longer description from the email:

 

On April 24, Blue Note Records will release Just Coolin’, a never-before-released studio album by Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers that was recorded on March 8, 1959 in Rudy Van Gelder's living room studio in Hackensack, New Jersey. The session featured a short-lived line-up of The Jazz Messengers with drummer Art Blakey, trumpeter Lee Morgan, tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, pianist Bobby Timmons, and bassist Jymie Merritt. The album features two previously unissued compositions including Timmons’ tune “Quick Trick,” which is available today to stream or download. Just Coolin’ can be pre-ordered now in several formats: CD, digital download, and an all-analog 180g vinyl pressing that was mastered by Kevin Gray.

 

The session for Just Coolin’ finds The Jazz Messengers’ saxophone chair in transition. The band had last recorded in October 1958 when they cemented their place in jazz history with the classic album Moanin’ featuring Benny Golson on tenor saxophone. By July 1959, Blakey had recruited tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter who would remain a fixture of the band until 1964.

 

The interim saw the return of Mobley, who was a charter member of The Jazz Messengers when the band first formed in 1954 and appeared on their debut recording The Jazz Messengers At The Café Bohemia in 1955. Mobley also filled an important role as the band’s resident composer. In fact, three of the six tracks on Just Coolin’ were written by Mobley: “Hipsippy Blues,” “M&M,” and “Just Coolin’.”

 

However, five weeks after the studio session Blue Note founder and producer Alfred Lion decided to record the band again at the legendary club Birdland in New York City on April 15, 1959, capturing an assured live recording that included four of the six titles that had been recorded in March. The Birdland sessions ended up superseding the studio date when Lion instead released the two-volume live album Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers At The Jazz Corner Of The World later that year.

 

“In 2020, it’s great to find more Morgan, Mobley and Timmons in their prime,” writes Bob Blumenthal in the liner notes for Just Coolin’. “The music had clearly settled in during the month that separated studio and live versions, but the fire of these six tracks has an appeal of its own.”

 

Now, 61 years later jazz fans all over the world will have the chance to listen for themselves.

 

The credits for Just Coolin’ are as follows:

 

SIDE 1

1. Hipsippy Blues (Hank Mobley)

2. Close Your Eyes (Bernice Petkere)

3. Jimerick (unknown)

 

SIDE 2

1. Quick Trick (Bobby Timmons)

2. M&M (Hank Mobley)

3. Just Coolin’ (Hank Mobley)

 

Lee Morgan: trumpet

Hank Mobley: tenor saxophone

Bobby Timmons: piano

Jymie Merritt: bass

Art Blakey: drums

 

Original session produced by Alfred Lion

Recorded on March 8, 1959, Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ

Recording by Rudy Van Gelder

Photography by Francis Wolff

Cover design by Todd Gallopo at Meat and Potatoes

Produced for release by Zev Feldman

Mastered for vinyl by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio

Edited by ghost of miles

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Interested for sure . Is this one of those sessions that Cuscuna marked up as a reject or is this a ‘new’ discovery?

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am I correct in thinking this is the first CD issue of 50s/60s music from Blue Note in at least a decade?

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24 minutes ago, Clunky said:

Interested for sure . Is this one of those sessions that Cuscuna marked up as a reject or is this a ‘new’ discovery?

I wondered that as well. Haven’t searched for it yet, but don’t we have a thread here devoted to unreleased Blue Note sessions? Guessing there might be mention of it there, if it’s a previously-known recording date.  Leonard Feather’s original liner notes for Jazz Corner Of The World make no mention of this band having been in the studio, and the CD reissue includes no new latter-day notes.

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Posted (edited)

As I recall, Cuscuna rejected it previously, and I agree with him. I've heard it and I don't think it's that good -- definitely below average for a Blakey Blue Note, lacking the band's typical fire, energy, and cohesion. Other than Lee on some tracks, the soloists don't show their best selves. Everybody sounds sluggish, like they were out too late the night before. I can understand why it was shelved at the time in favor of the far-superior Jazz Corner of the World dates with much of the same material. Yes, folks here on the board will want to hear it at least once because of the cats and the era, but don't get sucked in by the hype. 

Edited by Mark Stryker

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26 minutes ago, colinmce said:

am I correct in thinking this is the first CD issue of 50s/60s music from Blue Note in at least a decade?

Seems right? What was the last one... Andrew Hill’s Passing Ships, or were there ones after that?

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Several discussions about this session over the years, but in this "new" context, refer back to here and go forward:

It should be fine enough as a single album. The session as a whole is pretty hilarious, but if it's been culled and crafted with care, it will be a decent (enough) release. Not essential, by any means, but not nearly the comedy of the unfiltered source material.

39 minutes ago, Mark Stryker said:

 Yes, folks here on the board will want to hear it at least once because of the cats and the era, but don't get sucked in by the hype. 

Exactly. It's a fun casual listen, but...

 

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The session is listed in the Cuscuna/Ruppli Blue Note Discography book, which was published in1988, and the session shows as unissued rather than as rejected (and there are other sessions in the book that show as rejected).

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, ghost of miles said:

Seems right? What was the last one... Andrew Hill’s Passing Ships, or were there ones after that?

the final batch of RVGs came out in 2009, as did the archival Freddie Hubbard live date (the last Conn CDs were in 2008). I don't believe there has been anything but new material and LP reissues since then.

Edited by colinmce

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32 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Several discussions about this session over the years, but in this "new" context, refer back to here and go forward:

It should be fine enough as a single album. The session as a whole is pretty hilarious, but if it's been culled and crafted with care, it will be a decent (enough) release. Not essential, by any means, but not nearly the comedy of the unfiltered source material.

Exactly. It's a fun casual listen, but...

 

Thanks much, thought this session sounded familiar... too many previous Organissimo discussions washing around in my brain! The discovery of a truly “lost” Blue Note recording date would rate an astonishment exclamation point these days.

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Geez...I'd buy a recording of these guys running scales in the dressing room.  Bring it on.  

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The album is up in Apple Music, with one tune available for listening (“Quick Trip”).  Nice tune, nice Lee solo.

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I can't wait to hear the comparisons of sources of this one.  With this one, the comparisons will be extremely important.  The virus is the most important thing right now, but I also am interested in this too.  I also got to hand it to the new guy don was brought on, i salute him following through with something unreleased.  

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10 hours ago, Eric said:

The album is up in Apple Music, with one tune available for listening (“Quick Trip”).  Nice tune, nice Lee solo.

And a couple of Mobley clinkers. Even Morgan seems to miss a few notes but he covers it nicely enough.

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What's the significance of having the test pressing? And the CD comes in a Softpak? Never heard of that; sounds like something that will get crushed/creased in the mail.

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Amazon has it as a cd as well.

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On 3/21/2020 at 4:10 PM, gmonahan said:

Amazon lists it as an LP: Just Coolin'

 

blakey.jpg

Another shitty piece of cover art by the chronically-lazy BN art department. 

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31 minutes ago, Dmitry said:

Another shitty piece of cover art by the chronically-lazy BN art department. 

They actually farmed this out to a graphics design company. I've seen better and I've seen much worse.

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Is Patrick Roques still alive and active?  Loved his BN reissue work, even more than the iconic Reid Miles work that inspired it.

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Yeah, I was wondering about Patrick Roques recently too, and I love his work for Blue Note too.

Would be nice to get him word about how much a bunch of us appreciate his design work for BN.

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7 hours ago, Dmitry said:

Another shitty piece of cover art by the chronically-lazy BN art department. 

It's just fine, what's your problem?

 

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Wasn't there a member at the BNBB who did one or two BN reissue covers? Can't remember the handle but remember him as a Booby H fan. :)

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26 minutes ago, Daniel A said:

Wasn't there a member at the BNBB who did one or two BN reissue covers? Can't remember the handle but remember him as a Booby H fan. :)

I believe you're thinking of couw?

I think this current Blakey cover is fine, but the use of red (if I'm being picky) somehow feels wrong. Reid Miles seemed to favor pinks and purples (and oranges) — pastels, generally speaking — over red. Yellow on red also seems a combination that he (generally) would have avoided. When Miles used red, it often appeared over white. (Leeway is an exception that comes to mind.)

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