CRATE DIGGING IS PURE RECORD SHOPPING
Having enjoyed, with Mrs Asbo, a 3-course luncheon during a one and a half hour boat ride last Thursday on the Thames, my attention turned to the serious business of spending money at London’s retail record stores, specifically Sounds of the Universe near Soho and Portobello’s Honest Jon’s.
There are, of course, scores of Lps on The List, so I was not bereft of choice; really, it’s more like a case of piscine/cask hunting since many, many records I desire were there for the taking. But without hundreds of pounds (you’d be surprised how little music blogging pays–Jeremy take note), I had to reign in my record buying to a painful degree. And it is this rather unsatisfying process of elimination that characterises “fishing expedition” retail record shopping.
Where’s the sport in that? You may as well go to the zoo with an AK-47.
(It would have been different, I suppose, had I gone for a specific record and in the end, I got the latest two Bossa Nova Soul Jazz re-issues [on CD!] which I had assumed I would end up with, as well as wonderful Lps by Dorothy Ashby and Sahib Shihab.)
For the frisson he needs, the great black vinyl hunter needs to know that there’s a good possibility of coming home empty-handed. It is this elusivity which makes the kill exciting and why chaz/boot fair record buying is the purer experience.
Interestingly, both the retail and charity experiences have been compromised by the internet. As regards the former, I happily buy most of my new vinyl from the online arms of the above two record shops and the vinyl is, in the case of the latter, more often than not, picked over for eBay sale or, worse, marked a book value based on what it’s selling for on eBay.
Anyway, back in the comfortable environs of the British Red Cross store in Tenterden on Saddy morning, I found this excellent compilation by vibe-ist Milt Jackson. Taped in the early 50s, around the same time as his Blue Note recordings, but, happily, with no overlap, the Realm set features the same rounded, mellow vibe (and personnel), spiced with a hint of cayenne for that little edge of piquante. Other interest is to be found in the liner notes where there’s a surprising anti-MJQ feel ill-fitting the blatant graphic suggestion of the band on the cover: our writer suggest that listeners “with a taste for virility in their music may have dismissed [Milt Jackson] on the basis of his present  work with the Modern Jazz Quartet” and that “so many feel cheated by the precious [my italics] music played by the MJQ”. To that end, he urges you to consider “these tracks…without the MJQ of recent years.” Burn.
One of the things I like about re-issues such as these is the various subtitles and designations involved. Apart from the label itself there’s a Realm Jazz Savoy Series logo and the Classics of Modern Jazz appellation on the back (not pictured) as well as the Oriole Records Limited note at the bottom of the back cover.
PS: I’m beginning to think there should be an MJQ-Related category.