The Ballad Album
ROY HAYNES/BOOKER ERVIN
Bad News Blues
STEVE LACY/DON CHERRY
CHARLES MINGUS AND THAD JONES
Charles Mingus And Thad Jones
THE JOHN COLTRANE - RAY DRAPER QUINTET
The John Coltrane - Ray Draper Quintet
PHIL WOODS/GENE QUILL/SAHIB SHIHAB/HAL STEIN
Jive At Five
Fantasy Records, the Berkeley-based company that can afford to produce the Prestige, Milestone and Galaxy jazz lines on the revenue it receives from the royalties of such artists as Sylvester and Creedence Clearwater Revival, has just re-released nine must-get jazz LP's on Prestige. There's no official name to this series though you can pick each record out by its stark, gray, black and white cover and its super-low $5.98 list price.
Unlike most reissues, these Prestige singles are bereft of extensive historical liner notes. There aren't any recording dates either so it's hard to pinpoint which jazz era each album comes from (I'd guess around 1960, give or take three years). Though many of us are too young to remember the origin of these sides, it is obvious that they are priceless glimpses of the recent past in modern jazz and hard to pass up.
There's a Coltrane album with Ray Draper, a jazz tuba player who isn't afraid to improvise on his imposing instrument. He finds himself in limbo between the Dixieland days when the tuba was jazz's bottom line, and today, when the tuba is enjoying a renaissance from the days when the upright bass almost rendered the horn obsolete.
The collaboration between Don Cherry and Steve Lacy captures these free-jazz gladiators in the days before they abandoned blues structures. The Four Altos date features some amazing ensemble and solo statements by the inheritors of Bird's legacy.
As for Caribe, one can never discover enough Eric Dolphy.
I would recommend that anyone interested in investigating the recent history of jazz or who is an avid jazz collector to· hunt these albums down. Besides, at today's prices for new product, here's an offer you can't refuse.
- Mitchell Feldman