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Waltz for Debby by the Bill Evans Trio on Riverside 399

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Waltz for Debby by the Bill Evans Trio on Riverside 399

In my humble opinion this is the best jazz piano trio album of all time, together with RLP 376.

It's been a while since the last post. Sorry about that. A summer vacation and life in general got in the way. But now I'm back after a long hot summer. Sitting here at home with a sore throat and aching muscles; the first cold of the season. But I'm keeping my spirits up with the album on display here. This has got to be the greatest piano trio album of all time, together with Sunday at the Village Vanguard on Riverside 376, which I've also acquired recently. There are really no other piano trio albums that can match these live sessions from 1961, recorded superbly by Riverside. They are in a league of their own. It feels like you are there in that club, relaxing at a table with a drink, when you listen to these albums. They really captured the live feeling amazingly well.

Much of the magic bassist Scott LaFaro brings to the table. His playing on these albums is truly one of a kind. Probably the best double bass I've ever heard. So what does that make him, the best jazz double bassist of all time? Despite his very short career? For me, the answer is yes. This trio had such an amazing feeling and flow. LaFaro was given a lot of space and could really express himself. I believe LaFaro made this trio so magical. Bill Evans is superb and Paul Motian plays great and has a sweet touch. But the star is LaFaro. Without him it wouldn't be the same. The concept of this trio though, where the double bass gets so much room and where the interplay between all three members is so profound, is pure genius.

My copy of this masterpiece on RLP 399 is in wonderful shape and sounds excellent. One of my absolute favorite albums for sure. Like I mentioned, I've acquired Sunday at the Village Vanguard on RLP 376 as well. Recorded live the same day as RLP 399. A white label promo copy which should have been in better condition than it was when I received it. I can listen to it, but it has far too much pops and tics for my taste. I couldn't return it, which was a bummer. But my mission now is to not buy another album until I find another copy of RLP 376 in much better, satisfactory condition. I think that's a healthy approach. Very cool though to have a promo copy of that title.

I thought it would be interesting what you guys think of these Vanguard recordings and if you, like me, think they are the best piano trio recordings ever made. Also, in your opinion, is Scott LaFaro one of the best if not THE best jazz double bassists of all time? If not, do you have another favorite? Love to hear what you guys think regarding these matters.

Autumn will soon be here for real and the time for candles, stouts and jazz piano trios that comes with it. And what better jazz piano trio to put on the turntable than the Bill Evans Trio live from the Village Vanguard. Stay tuned for more jazz vinyl from the collection and have a great weekend. Cheers...!

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Tommy Flanagan Trio Overseas on PRLP 7134

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Tommy Flanagan Trio Overseas on PRLP 7134

I'm still struggling to believe that I own this album...

When I started collecting 1st pressings of vintage jazz albums on vinyl little did I know I was going to be able to get my hands on a crown jewel like this. Considered one of the true holy grails among vintage jazz vinyl collectors. Very rare, very desirable and very good music wise. I've been very fortunate to be able to collect all the great pieces I have in my collection. Extremely fortunate. I've been able to save up cash and buy these records. I've been able to create a superb network of sources where I can find quality stuff. But to be able to purchase a copy of this album, it's just amazing... an amazing feeling. When I see it there on the shelf it's like a dream really.

It's of course a great album, with superb jazz piano trio music led by the great Tommy Flanagan. The other two cats are Wilbur Little on double bass and the great Elvin Jones on drums. This album is recorded in Sweden. It was recorded by the Swedish Metronome label originally and released as three EP's. I have the EP's as well in my collection. They should be considered the first pressings of course. But I like the 12" format put together here by Prestige and van Gelder more than the three small 7" 45rpm EP's which you need to change sides on so many times to hear all the tunes. And I'm not a fan of the EP format as much as I used to be. I have a lot of great EP's which are just put aside at the moment, cause I don't listen to them. But the music on them is absolutely fantastic. All the great Gullin tunes, and Rolf Ericson and Freddie Redd...and so on.

The sound is superb on this album and I just love all the tunes. It's really special music this. It's so nice executed from all three musicians. So playful, such soulful jazz piano trio music. I'm a big fan of the drumming of Elvin Jones on this album. He has such a nice touch and feel. Tommy Flanagan is the main man here of course and he plays beautifully. I also very much dig the bass work of the, perhaps largely unknown, Wilbur Little. It's jazz music at the highest level. This is certainly one of the greatest trio albums in jazz for me.

All in all I'm so happy to have this in my collection. Perhaps earlier than expected. The condition of the LP is great and a joy to put on the turntable. I will enjoy it for many, many years to come. I must say I'm so proud of my collection up to this point. If I stopped collecting right now, I would be more than satisfied with what I have. But I'm not going to stop. There are many more titles I really want which are so great. So I will continue to collect these amazing, historical artifacts for many years to come. Or at least as long as the budget allows me to.

Like I think I've mentioned before, this year has been very good for me in terms of acquiring wonderful jazz collectibles. I've puchased more albums than any other year. And the titles I've managed to find are truly great. Stay tuned for those in the coming months.

I'd like to know your thoughts on this album guys. Please, write away, the floor is yours...

Hard to believe it's only a month until Christmas. I bought some U.S. Christmas ale and some Ballast Point porter yesterday and I'm quite looking forward to trying the Ballast Point Mocha Marlin Winter Release. A glass of that and some Tommy Flanagan on vintage vinyl in the cold, dark Autumn evening should be a real treat.

I wish you a nice rest of the weekend folks. Cheers...!

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"Portrait in Jazz" by the Bill Evans Trio on Riverside 315

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"Portrait in Jazz" by the Bill Evans Trio on Riverside 315

A top jazz piano trio album, perhaps my favorite to date.

I started this morning with a dose of Art Pepper. Side 2 of Modern Art on Intro. A nice way to get this beautiful Saturday afternoon on track. A bit of interesting information; the alto intro on the tune "Stompin' at the Savoy" is a bit longer on this original 1st pressing than on other issues or formats I believe. Don't know about the Score issue. On other issues, it seems that the unaccompanied alto solo in the beginning of "Stompin'..." has been cut shorter. That's pretty cool, to think that you actually need the original pressing to get to hear that, as it was supposed to be. Just another reason to stick to 1st pressings.

It's been a while since I posted last. I've been on vacation to California with the family. But let's get things going here again...

My relation to piano trios in jazz has grown very strong in the last couple of years. I truly dig that format, even though if I would choose one record to take with me to a desert island, it would probably have a horn or two on it. One of the best jazz piano trio albums I've heard to date is the one on display, Bill Evan's "Portrait in Jazz" on Riverside 315. It's a 1st pressing in nice shape. The cover is a bit worn but the vinyl is in M- condition. Sounds phenomenal. The drum sound for example is some of the best I've heard. Every detail is clear. You really need these kind of delicate, quieter albums to have the vinyl in top condition, so nothing distracts from the smooth tones of, in this case, the piano master Bill Evans. To be honest I haven't dug deep into his catalogue as of yet, but this album is a perfect way to start. I've listened to some other early stuff as well, and it's very good indeed.

This is just the first of many Bill Evans records to find their way into my collection I would think. The rhythm section is one of the best I've heard with Scott LaFaro on double bass and Paul Motian on drums. They gel unbelievably well together and also gel and compliments Bill Evans with 100% feeling and accuracy. I would say, if you're just starting to appreciate jazz piano in trio form, then this is the album to pick up. It's so smooth and flowing, and with a superb sound mix. Jack Higgins was the engineer on this. What a great job he did, flawless. Right now, as I write this, I've just put on Side 2, and what a smokin' tune, it's "What is This Thing Called Love?". I really feel that I want to invest in some other piano trio albums. This LP just makes you forget about horns of all kinds. It's that good. I have a few on the list that comes to mind, for example Tommy Flanagan's "Overseas" on Prestige and the Sonny Clark Trio on Blue Note. Also, some more early Bill Evans on Riverside is really appealing.

I'll look forward to the autumn with great joy, cause I have some real gems waiting for me. I will soon be able to purchase the first one. It's a wonderful, rare album. Tune in for that. But I will put up some other stuff from the collection in the mean time. Stay cool in the shade, sip on a cold one and listen to some jazz. Enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

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