As a hobby, record collecting can be a relatively tame endeavor. Yes, there’s the excitement of finally finding an album that you’ve always wanted, or finding something rare in the wild, and it’s always interesting to see what’s new in the stores. These are relatively isolated and spread out events, though, and aren’t the norm. One way I make things more thrilling is purchasing albums by artists that I’ve never heard of. This isn’t a revolutionary thing nor something I’ve just begun doing. Regular readers know I’ve been grabbing albums by artists that are new to me, but lately I’ve been doing it more frequently and with more openness. I’ve also been trying to grab albums by artists that I genuinely enjoy and not artists that are jazz mainstays. I mention this not because I want some award for being different but because it’s made collecting records a lot more fun for me. Enter the records I bought this past Friday. I made a trip to my favorite record store, the great Huntsvillian record store Vertical House Records, and the few records I grabbed are listed below. This is a no-judgment zone!
The Record Store
- Vertical House Records
- Huntsville, AL
Swingin’ Down The Road From Paris To Rome // Page Cavanaugh
Like I said, no judging. I first heard about Page Cavanaugh from an old movie from the 40’s ( ‘A Song Is Born’, starring Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo, and slew of jazz greats, including Louis Armstrong!). His piano playing and whisper singing in the movie was really hip to me, and I was a fan ever since. This particular album intrigued me because it was all instrumental, featuring none of the dated schmaltzy singing he began doing in the 1950’s. It also had Barney Kessel on guitar, and with a whopping 9 tracks on one side, I knew the music would be short but tasty. Also, the album cover is so mid-century kitsch that I love it. Lastly, exposing the nerd in me, it’s catalog number is T-1001, meaning this is the first album in Capitol’s long T series, which I thought was pretty cool.
An Evening At The Embers // Alex Kallao
(RCA Victor LJM-1011)
This is an example of an album by an artist I was completely unfamiliar with but grabbed anyhow. A quick google search on my phone showed that he was blind pianist, hailed as the next Art Tatum, and has wowed the New York jazz crowd in the early 1950’s, only to fade away by the end of the decade. This album and a more obscure second album was all the jazz he recorded for decades. The album cover drew me in immediately, as did the presence of Milt Hinton on bass. RCA’s gatefold albums from the early 50’s are some of the earliest examples of that design, which are neat relics. Playing the album through last night, the music was surprisingly well-recorded and my foot was tapping the entire time. I can’t wait to profile this album in a future post.
For Now At Least // Laurie Altman
(Progressive Records 7066)
I really stepped out of my comfort zone with this purchase. I had no idea at all who this artist was, but was interested because it looked like an album by a female jazz instrumentalist. Nope. Turning the album over, I was greeted by five pictures of five very hairy dudes. My disappointment turned to horror as I saw the album was from jazz’s dark days, aka the 1980’s. The album art and the rather comical liner notes (“I bet you thought this album was fronted by a female vocalist”) drew me in, and after finding a rather jamming sound sample on YouTube, decided to grab it after all. Putting it on once I got home, I was happy to discover it wasn’t as horrible as I thought.
Eddie Harris Bossa Nova // Eddie Harris
(Vee-Jay LP 3034)
I don’t know I stumbled upon them, but I found quite a few Eddie Harris albums at the record store this trip, and while I wasn’t familiar with him or his work, the fact that these were original Vee-Jay albums (I don’t see Vee-Jay albums often in the wild for some reason) and the music material was interesting warranted further investigation. This bossa nova album was particularly intriguing due to its cheery cover art, copious playing time (three tunes to a side is almost always a good sign), and personnel. Jimmy Rainey on guitar and Lalo Schifrin on piano in particular. The music was mostly composed by Schrifin, and it’s some fantastic bossa nova. Lalo nearly outshines Eddie Harris on one of the tunes with some absolutely searing piano that surely caused the keyboard to go up in flames after the song was over. Look for a post about this one, too.
1965 // Al Jarreau
(Bainbridge Records BT 6237)
With the acquisition of this record, so ended my search for Jarreau’s version of “One Note Samba” on vinyl. Admittedly, I wasn’t looking THAT hard, as I’m sure I could’ve tracked it down quickly had I searched online. I heard it on YouTube and couldn’t find it listed on any of his albums. Then I saw this album at the store, with its very plain and somewhat bootleg-ish album cover, and it all made sense. This wasn’t an “album” in the conventional sense, in that it was taped for fun back in 1965 when Al Jarreau was just a college student and released decades later when Jarreau was a star. In other words, it was a bootleg. At any rate, the music is good, and I have “One Note Samba”. That’s an incredibly lucky find in my book!
Million Sellers // Rick Nelson
(Imperial LP 12232)
I am fully prepared for the judgment and snobby looks that this record will garner. And it’s ok. I am an unabashed fan of Rick Nelson. I like his parent’s show ‘Ozzie and Harriet’, and while I concede that his brand of rock n roll was rather lightweight and fluffy (my uncle, who was a teen in the 1950’s, called Ricky Nelson “bubblegum music”), it makes me happy and I find it kinda cool in a lame way. Like, it’s so square and kitsch that it’s a little hip. This album is a ‘greatest hits’ type of thing, with many of his best-sellers from the early days all compiled on one disc. I figured it was an easy way to get both vintage Rick Nelson and a vintage Rick Nelson record (it was pressed in the early 1960’s). This makes the second Rick Nelson album I now own. Again, feel free to judge.
Roger Kellaway Cello Quartet // Roger Kellaway
(A&M Records SP 3034)
I first discovered Roger Kellaway through his appearance on a Russian Jazz Quartet album for Impulse!. Being a fan of classical music, jazz music, and the cello, I was extremely fascinated by this album and the music on it. Listening to it once I got home, I was not disappointed. It’s a relaxing yet complex album and a great example of a jazz/classical mix.
These are some of my most recent acquisitions. We’ll see what the next record store has buried in its shelves! Also, time for some honesty (it’s my blog, so I feel like I can be open. Nobody reads this anyways!). I started this blog as a broke college student, and part of the fun of record collecting was finding affordable albums within my college student budget. In the time since beginning this website, I have both graduated and found a job, exponentially increasing my income. Initially, I stayed true to my college budget, but recently I splurged and spent shameful (for me) amounts of money on records. I’m not proud of it, so in the spirit of what this blog was originally about, I’m trying to again to be more judicial and restrained in my vinyl-buying habits. What does this all mean? I’m going to include the total amount of money spent on each outing of record storing, partly because that’s part of record storing, mostly as a means of publicly shaming myself to be more wise with my spending habits. So, without further ado, the total amount spent on this latest record store trip: $65.