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Author Topic: Our first Blue Note!  (Read 8319 times)

Offline ironbut

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Our first Blue Note!
« on: December 20, 2010, 10:38:57 pm »
I've always loved the 1500 series Blue Notes. I tried to get these sessions on the 10" Toshiba/EMI reissues but never did.
This is real time machine stuff. It's just about impossible not to be transported to that little studio in Hackensack NJ where so much jazz history happened.
And just like all the other TP releases, it's comforting to know that I'm hearing everything that's on that master tape for the first time (even the non-musical noises).

I have to hand it to Doc for the best print of that Alfred Lion photograph I've seen. Really nice work there!
Whenever I see a real closeup of his I remember the stories I've heard of how Alfred would have the run of some of the sessions while these recording were being made. Some funny stuff. But man,.. talk about some great shots.

Another excellent choice! Thanks again.
steve koto
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Offline docb

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Re: Our first Blue Note!
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2010, 11:03:41 am »
Thanks Steve. Just to clarify, that particular photo is credited not to Alfred Lion, but rather to his Blue Note partner Francis Wolff. Not positive about this but I think they used a Leica. I gave Paul a book on the history of Blue Note that discusses the session photography a little and it seems like that was mentioned.

That was one of the more difficult album covers to reproduce right. At the time I bought it there was just one available and I had to pay $50 for a pretty worn cover (last week there were several on ebay for cheap, sigh). The original cover is glossy paper and there was ring wear on my copy that took off the gloss, so the black background came out very uneven in the photo and took a lot of work to even out without losing the subtle detail like the bit of light hitting the wall behind Brownie's head and below the trumpet. Techniques in the original print processing like the dodging on the trumpet are sometimes changed in terms of contrast in the digital capture and it can take some wrestling to get it back where it was on the original.

I also try to capture the subtle tones of the original paper under the original ink, and at the same time get rid of as much uneven age yellowing as possible. I didn't think about it when I started doing this, but the different paper colors used on all of these different album covers is an important part of the original look. Takes a lot of time and paper running test prints and checking them under different lighting. Luckily my printing setup at the new office gets lots of daylight. It's definitely not as easy as clicking "Auto levels" or "Auto color" in Photoshop (though having done this for a while now I can say that a lot of CD reissue covers look to have been done that way compared to the original covers!)
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President for Life, Bottlehead Corp.
Managing Director - retired, The Tape Project

Offline ironbut

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Re: Our first Blue Note!
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2010, 01:48:29 pm »
Oops,.. yes, I shoulda said Francis Wolf!
I saw a discussion of Blue Note at Monterey two years ago with Michael Cuscuna, Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Lovano and hosted by Ashley Kahn. I wish I'd recorded it cuz it was brimming with great stories and insight.
In the gallery, they had lots of larges prints from Blue Note. Man,.. I could've spent a fortune in there!

steve koto
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Offline kipdent

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Re: Our first Blue Note!
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2010, 02:21:52 pm »
Hey guys,

As a photo nut, I'd like to weigh in on something regarding Francis Wolff's images. They are simply stunning, and though I am a huge Leica fan, owning both the newest digital M9 rangefinder and a film M6, I'm pretty sure the Blue Note artist photographs he made were not done with one. I recall reading an interview with Michael Cuscana that Mr. Wolff used a 6X6 medium format camera to take these breathtaking images (a Rolleiflex, I believe) which makes sense due to their wonderful depth of field and sharpness.

I guess that means some of you have received the Clifford Brown tape? I can't wait!

Kip
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Offline docb

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Re: Our first Blue Note!
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2010, 03:56:39 pm »
I think you are right about the camera, Kip. I do recall reading that Francis Wolff used to piss some of the artists off when he would get right in their faces with the camera when they were actually recording.

Here's a link to the original photo that was cropped for use on the album cover, for sale at Mosaic Records-

http://www.mosaicrecords.com/images/W7BROWC02_4.jpg

archival pigment inks on acid free rag paper - I can relate...

Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President for Life, Bottlehead Corp.
Managing Director - retired, The Tape Project

Offline High and Outside

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Re: Our first Blue Note!
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2010, 06:55:41 pm »
I gave Paul a book on the history of Blue Note that discusses the session photography a little and it seems like that was mentioned. 

I just checked the book--it's Blue Note Records, The Biography by Richard Cook. It has no technical details about the photography.

Have ordered the book of photos--The Blue Note Years: The Jazz Photography of Francis Wolff (Wolff, Francis;Cuscuna, Michael;Lourie, Charlie) When it arrives I'll see whether it has any more info.

Kip's suggestion that it was 6X6 makes some sense. Not only are the album covers in square format, but so are all the images up on the Mosaic site.
Paul Stubblebine
Managing Director, The TapeProject

Offline kipdent

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Re: Our first Blue Note!
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2011, 10:15:44 am »
I just received my copy of TP-018.

Wow. Another home run, in my opinion. I love this music and musicianship--and the sound is just jaw-dropping! I just can't believe something that was laid down in August, 1953, can have the sonic purity and dynamics this tape has. Such a pleasure!

Thank you Tape Project!

Kip
Kip Peterson
Vintage-centric system with Apogee Acoustics Scintilla ribbon loudspeakers, Micro Seiki RX-5000 turntable and other odd bits of tube and solid state gear. Now a proud owner of a Studer A80 RC Mk II tape machine!

Offline docb

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Re: Our first Blue Note!
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2011, 11:24:14 am »
I think Paul said that was recorded on Scotch 111 (was there any other formula in 1953?). The big iron particles on the tape that create the tape hiss also hang on to the signal like a homeless guy hangs on to his shopping cart.

Of course I like to give credit for the sound to the tube electronics they used too ;^)>.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President for Life, Bottlehead Corp.
Managing Director - retired, The Tape Project

Offline xcortes

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Re: Our first Blue Note!
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2011, 11:55:04 am »
My copy was shipped on December 16 and just received it today! 1.5 months on the mail. I'll never again have something shipped on December or January!

« Last Edit: February 01, 2011, 12:43:04 pm by xcortes »
Xavier Cortes

Offline ironbut

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Re: Our first Blue Note!
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2011, 12:44:56 pm »
Yeah, the US mail can be incredibly slow around the holidays. It's better to use Priority Mail at that time. I once had a tape sent Media Mail from San Diego to San Jose Ca in December and it took 1.5 months to arrive! Normally, a week is about it when it's sent within the state.
steve koto
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Offline xcortes

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Re: Our first Blue Note!
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2011, 01:16:37 pm »
Hmmm, I was blaming the Mexican mail. Maybe it's both!
Xavier Cortes

Offline c1ferrari

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Re: Our first Blue Note!
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2011, 04:07:53 pm »
I once had a tape sent Media Mail from San Diego to San Jose Ca in December and it took 1.5 months to arrive!

Unbelievable!  It makes me appreciate this is not routine for USPS.

-Sam
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Offline ironbut

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Re: Our first Blue Note!
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2011, 04:59:16 pm »
I'm sure it's just like a lot of other businesses lately. Seasonal hiring is based on last years numbers and of course, that usually isn't really enough. But the Black Friday sales this year were way up especially on the internet so it was kind of a double whammy.
steve koto
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Offline Gkar

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Re: Our first Blue Note!
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2011, 07:38:49 pm »
Steve, what is the 10" toshiba recording you are talking about?
"Music possesses far richer means of expression, and it is a more subtle medium in which to translate the thousand shifting moments in the mood of a soul." - Tchaikovsky

Offline ironbut

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Re: Our first Blue Note!
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2011, 08:39:45 pm »
Hey Randy,

In 1999, Toshiba/EMI released a reissue of 50 of the 1500 series Blue Note records. They were  deep groove, mono, 10" vinyl in exact copies of the original 10" covers. Even though they were limited ed., I bought several at Tower Records in Mtn. View Ca which always have an exceptional selection of jazz records (I never saw any at the other Tower's I went to). I later bought a few from audiophile type stores for way more. They actually listed for $45 each but I don't think I ever paid more than $15 at Tower!

Back when these were new, you could still find the original 10inchers for less than $100 a pop (and many for much less). I'm sure you know, but for those folks who don't, many of the early Blue Note 12" lps were compilations of 2 (sometimes one or two cuts short) of the 10" original lps. And rarely, the 10 inchers had a different take of the same tune.

I only got around to getting 10-15 of these,.. very cool stuff though!
The link below shows the titles of the 50 reissues. (there's very little that I've ever been able to find on these although I have a Japanese Blue Note book that probably has info but even though my last name's Koto, I can't read a bit of it!).

http://www.plosin.com/milesahead/Bluenote10.html
steve koto
 Sony scd 777es(R. Kern mods)> Vpi Aires>Dynavector XX-2mkll>Bent mu>CAT ultimate>CJ premeir 140>Magnepan 1.6qr(Jensen xover)Headphone Eddie Current Zana Deux>AT ad2000,HD800 ,Metric Halo ULN-2 (battery powered),
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