It is exactly two years since 19 September 2013 when I published my first post here at downwithit. How time flies. This is post number 123 by the way. I hope that I’ve been useful, informative and, on occasion, entertaining. Despite time pressures, I have no plans to stop.
No prizes for guessing that my first post here at downwithit.info in September 2013 took a look at the Blue Mitchell set entitled… …Down With It! You can read what I thought about this fine set here.
Shortly after writing the post I bought what at the time I thought was an original first stereo pressing of the LP. It didn’t break the bank and I was a little dissatisfied with the sound quality. It was good but I was expecting a lot more. Then a little research confirmed that what I had was indeed an early issue- but not a first pressing. There was no Plastylite ‘ear’ for a start. I was disappointed but determined to obtain a good quality mono first pressing without paying silly money.
Over the last year or so I’ve bid for a number of copies on eBay, without success. I took another look on New Year’s Day, not particularly expecting to find what I wanted.
Oh me of little faith! I was wrong. An American dealer was auctioning a copy which he advertised as a conservatively graded VG+/Ex stereo copy, but which clearly had the mono serial number (BLP 4214, not the BST 84214 that a stereo copy would have on the label) in the accompanying photo. Everything else indicted that this was the first pressing that I was after.
The entry price was moderate and the cover was fully intact but a bit discoloured (I’d grade it as VG).
I was successful and paid well under the not over-large sum that I had set my snipe at. It arrived today and I’m delighted. It has all of the presence and clarity that I’d hoped for first time round and an independent listener confirmed in a blind test that it sounded better than my stereo copy. Indeed, things may get even better as it is off to the vinyl shop for a spin on their high-quality disc washing machine tomorrow.
So there’s much rejoicing tonight in the land of downwithit.info and as there’s currently a version of the excellent Hi-Heel Sneakers from the set on youtube (courtesy of Antonio Jiminez) you can have a listen (until it gets removed from youtube again):
To listen, touch or click on the arrow.
I really should add that March On Selma and Alone, Alone and Alone are superb tracks which you really should make time to listen to.
In 2014 I took a look at 26 classic Jazz albums. There’s a shortcut to a summary page here.
This website is now one year old.
The first posting on downwithit.info was published on 19 September 2014.
In the last year the site has been visited 4097 times by visitors from 67 countries. 1867 visits have been from UK web addresses, followed by 1070 hits from US visitors. 99 visits have been made from Brazil, while there has only been 1 visit from each of New Zealand, South Africa and Pakistan and nobody has looked in from Jamaica or Iceland yet!
39 albums have been reviewed and these have included 6 newly released sets by artists who are currently active.
15 live gigs have been reported on (with a couple of Pharoah Sanders US gigs that I couldn’t get to also being mentioned).
The most rewarding strands involved finding out more about Freddie Roach and starting to write about current live and recorded music. I’ve particularly enjoyed gigs at East Side Jazz Club, where I’ve seen some superb musicianship from world-class performers and it has been great that Steve Williamson has made a very welcome re-appearance on live stages.
Bringing things right up to date, last week the first meeting of Macc Record Club took place and you can read about this excellent fresh initiative here.
Over the next year I intend to continue as before and I hope you all continue to visit.
Comments are very welcome and the one surprise is that there have been very few- so dont’t be shy. I’m sure some of what I write about provokes a reaction- so please feel free to react.
Onward to the autumn and winter of 2014.
To date, downwithit.info has featured posts on fifteen albums and you can access them from the links below. The oldest recording was made by Horace Silver in 1956 with the most recent being by Pharoah Sanders in 1987. In total there have been 3 sessions from the 1950’s, 9 from the 1960’s, 2 from the 70’s and one from the 80’s.
If you want to take a look at one of the items, touch or click on the album title to go to that page. The most recent posts are at the bottom of the list:-
Blue Mitchell Down With It (July 1965)
Don Wilkerson Preach Brother (June 1962)
Joe Henderson Mode for Joe (January 1966)
Incredible Jimmy Smith Home Cookin’ (July 1958)
Crusaders Hollywood (1972)
Horace Silver Six Pieces of Silver (November 1956)
Freddie Roach The Soul Book (June 1966)
Kenny Burrell Out of This World (1962)
Kenny Dorham Una Mas (April 1963)
Freddie Roach Mo’ Greens Please (January & March 1963)
Freddie Roach Brown Sugar (March 1964)
Pharoah Sanders Africa (March 1987)
John Coltrane Blue Train (September 1957)
Lee Morgan The Sidewinder (December 1963)
Grover Washington, Jr All the King’s Horses (1972)
Ten sessions were recorded on the Blue Note label and the best represented session leaders instrument is saxophone(5) followed by organ (4) and trumpet (3).
When I started out downwithit.info in September 2013 I explained that I had been inspired to get going by Nile Rodgers. Here, courtesy of jon cat on YouTube is a celebratory clip to enliven this post:-
Touch or click the arrow to play
I hope you have enjoyed reading and listening to what I have dredged up so far. If you have acquired any of the listed albums for yourself after reading about them here (or if you already have a copy, if a review has caused you to revisit it) please leave a comment and let us know.
As you would expect, I’ve not given up on the mission to try to find out what happened to Freddie Roach and as I find out more you can expect to read about it here.
The next post will appear very soon and will concern a session led by a drummer which was recorded in the late1980’s. If you are really quick you might like to leave a guess below.
As 2013 comes to a close, a quick review of progress so far seems appropriate.
downwithit.info went live on 19th September 2013- just over 3 months ago.
Since then I’ve posted 25 items. Of these, 12 have looked at specific albums, evenly split 6 + 6 between vinyl and CD.
My attempt to uncover some new information on Freddie Roach has resulted in FR being the only artist, so far, to have more than one album discussed here (I’ve looked at 3 by FR so far). Sadly, no new information has emerged yet.
Lead instruments on the 12 albums are tenor saxophone (4) and Hammond organ (4, although there are those within earshot of my hi fi who would claim that I play ‘that b*^*d* harpsichord thing’ to the exclusion of all else. Not true!). Trumpet (2), guitar (1) and piano (1) make up the remainder, although there was left field action from jazz tambourine when I paid a visit to The Texas Twister, Don Wilkerson.
I’ve offered up two quizzes, looked at one book (by Phyl Garland) and commented on 5 live performances.
As of this morning I’ve had 706 visits from all over the world. On one red letter day I received 28 visits. Most visitors are obviously either shy, in awe of the power of my prose, think that I have contributed nothing new or just can’t be bothered. So there are not many comments here yet.
I had been intending to look at Yusef Lateef’s excellent and interesting The Blue Yusef Lateef next, but sadly, he passed away just before Christmas. Here’s the set opener anyway courtesy Kanemusi1 on YouTube:-
To hear the clip, click on or touch the arrow. Try and check out Othelia from the same album too, especially if you like seriously gritty Barrelhouse blues (I think I’ll dedicate it to you Meirion).
Remember, all comments are very welcome.
Onwards to 2014!
It’s a special day for downwithit.info. The blog has had 500 visits. Not that many, but it’s a start and twice as good as 250!
I’m having a virtual party (followed by a visit to a real pub).
I’ve booked a very special band. Not Jazz, but the performer who first led me to love the tenor saxophone and who I was lucky to see live a couple of times before he went to the great gig in the sky.
Without further ado and courtesy of northernsoultrain on YouTube, It’s Junior Walker and his Allstars.
This one is for each and every visitor, but especially for John from Sheffield. John and I saw Junior and other Motown artists in Manchester and he had a copy of Junior’s Rainbow Funk (got my own now). Happy days!
Onwards to 1000 visits and beyond!