1. This day in history: January 12, 2002. 9:49 AM, California time. The Steve Hoffman Music Forums officially launched with this thread. Thank you for 20 years of music, discussion, and great memories! Join our "Thank You!" thread, and we'll see you in the forum!
    Dismiss Notice

Blue Note 80th Anniversary reissues...any news?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by riverrat, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. geddy402

    geddy402 Forum Resident

    Mid Atlantic
    That stinks! And yeah, what happened? At least it sounds like you have a good local shop that you can replace some of them...
  2. Mister President

    Mister President Forum Resident

    Picked up a copy of Ethiopian Knights today from Sounds of the Universe in London...they even had it playing when I walked in!

    Though packaging is a bit scant, cover seems a bit low res but I don't have an original so can't compare, the pressing is flawless to my ears. Super flat and quiet and really jumps out my speakers...I really got into the groove, what a fantastic album from Byrd, sounds very modern and could have been recorded yesterday. Lovely bass and love Byrds playing and Ed Greene's drums.

    I do wonder if this will sell out, I noticed Juno Records had 8 copies online on Friday and now only 2 left.
    Dignan2000 likes this.
  3. timzigs

    timzigs Forum Resident

    South Central PA
    Received Alligator Boogaloo this weekend, and it sounds great for the most part. However, I'm hearing some weirdness of track 2, "One Cylinder". At around 40 seconds in, it seems like the crisp sounds of the cymbals become muted, and song as a whole becomes a bit fuzzy through the midsection, returning to normal through the latter third of the track. I streamed the version on Apple Music and don't hear anything this blatant. At first, I thought it might be a change up on the cymbals, but it happens with no change in strike or rhythm of the ride cymbal. Anyone else experiencing this?
    rxcory likes this.
  4. struttincool

    struttincool Senior Member

    Anacortes, WA
    Yes, really noticable! Too bad as the sound quality drops off. And other version/s do not have it?
  5. Crazysteve

    Crazysteve Gonzo Party Member

    Oh Lord!! Just when things had been so enjoyable the past few days on here. Little Amazon talk, no out of tune circular conversations, and LOTS of great info.
    I immediately threw alligator Boogaloo back on. My new Alligator plays flawlessly, and I do hear the change in cymbal striking. It recesses a bit on that song, seemingly with the music and seemingly with all intent by the drummer, then comes back in stronger and stronger pretty quickly. Now I guess Ill listen to some blue notes for the next hour or two. And no, I’m not listening with a glass of Kool Aid today.
    struttincool likes this.
  6. MisterBritt

    MisterBritt Senior Member

    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    There appears to be sufficient interest in the Idris Muhammad autobiography to warrant further transcription. Let us resume his recital from the period in and around the Alligator Bogaloo recording date. The next chapter "Catch In the Net" follows the previously transcribed "Lou Donaldson" section. There are more great sections ahead, and we intend to culminate with the chapter titled "Lou's Jazz Lesson," in which Idris describes doing live dates with Lou Donaldson and in particular doing organ dates, and even more specifically playing with organ players.


    I'm a funk player. I'm not a jazz musician. I don't have much correspondence with the jazz guys because I'm in another zone. I'm in the funk drumming zone. I'm in the money-making zone. I make money. I make money. I make money.

    I need some money -- every week, every night -- I need some money every night, man.

    Minton's Playhouse, Club Baron, Count Basie. There are a lot of clubs in the city we're playing. Next door to Count Basie there is a place called Wells where we go to listen to some music and eat chicken and waffles. All these particular clubs are uptown.
    [Uptown being a euphemism for Harlem.]

    The stage arrangement at Club Baron is most unusual. At Club Baron the band is set up and performing behind the bar. The stage is behind the bar. That's one of the places we're playing. All those people is two feet from the drums and cymbals. And they be talking at me while I'm playing.

    "Yeah, play son ... Hit them drums ... Yes!"

    "Oh, look at that ... Yes! ... You're bad ... Go ahead son ... Hit them drums ."

    And I can hear all this while I'm playing.

    "Let the drummer play ... Let the drummer play."

    "Uh-oh ... Look at that."

    "Look at those long legs on him...."

    I got thrown into jazz in New York. I got thrown in. They threw me in.

    I made one record with Lou Donaldson, "Alligator Bogaloo," and I was tossed into the jazz net. Tossed in there! When they pulled the net up -- wasn't nobody in there but me -- because nobody could play like me. I was the catch in the net.

    [The chapter continues with a narrative that was previously, recently excerpted on this thread.]

    Okay, let's take a look at the next chapter, titled "Rudy Van Gelder's Studio." I'm guessing most folks know, Francis Wolff is one of the owners of Blue Note Records. The recording date is April 7, 1967.


    Rudy has this huge studio. There is this black and white checkered bench in the visitors' area outside the engineer's booth. Not in the control booth but inside the actual
    [musicians'] studio. I can remember seeing Frank Wolff jumping off this bench at the recording date.

    The musicians' studio is rough concrete blocks and wood on the top of the walls. The floor is concrete -- that real smooth concrete -- and then Rudy has carpets by the drums. And carpet by the guys who stamped their feet too loud.

    The sound of the studio isn't coming from the concrete blocks; the sound is coming from the wood in the ceilings. The ceilings are tremendously high: big wooden beams that make a pyramid at the roof.

    Rudy has these baffle panels -- each panel is about three to four feet tall -- which he places one in front of the drums, one on both sides at right angles, none behind or overhead the drums because it is an open studio. This is the original way we record.

    Rudy has double glass windows -- about two inches apart -- that separates the musicians' studio from his recording console so the sound won't come through to the engineer's room. There is no glass in the studio. The engineer's booth is separate.

    You couldn't bring a glass of water or a sandwich inside of his studio. That was taboo. There was no way you could do that.

    If you make it past the turntables, he likes you. If you get inside the recording console, he really likes you. You couldn't see his board because he doesn't let you but a certain distance into the studio and that was it. Then Rudy has a window to his backyard where there's a series of birdfeeders outside. Rudy has the most modern equipment available. He is the most advanced engineer that I know in the city of New York City. He has the top-of-the-arts equipment.

    Here is a photo taken by Francis Wolff from the actual recording date.

    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
    birchstick, dminches, Bryce and 16 others like this.
  7. Crazysteve

    Crazysteve Gonzo Party Member

    Speaking of extraordinary info! Thank you Sir. I truly enjoy your write-ups. Happy listening
    Aeryn Sun and MisterBritt like this.
  8. Joe Harley

    Joe Harley Senior Member

    Britt, absolutely love what you bring to these forums! Keep it up man, so MUCH great info!
    Aeryn Sun, scotti, Dmann201 and 6 others like this.
  9. MisterBritt

    MisterBritt Senior Member

    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    Okay, we're on a roll. It looks to be a quiet Sunday afternoon on this thread and we're going to immediately follow up with the next two short chapters in chronological order from the book "Inside the Music" by Idris Muhammad. We left off with the chapter titled "Rudy Van Gelder's Studio." Next up, "Cutting a Record" and "Capturing My Sound."


    Rudy has this special machine that puts this needle down on a thick disc of an LP. He starts with running the master tape. Then he puts the needle down on it and cuts right into this perfectly smooth disc. I'm watching him cut records onto the biscuit with these special machines.

    One time Rudy has me look right through the microscope. "Do you see anything?"

    And I said, "I don't see ****. Why? What you want me to see? What am I looking at?"

    I looked again through the microscope that was hooked to the needle. I could see the needle cutting into the record, which it was cutting into the vinyl. Rudy had put the needle down on the blank disc and it cut right into the LP.

    Then I looked close to the stylus and the needle had went off the groove. So he had to take that and throw that disc away. He took it off the lathe and he broke it over his knee with a crack! Then he started in with another one.

    That's how they make the master -- cut right into the groove. That's what makes the sound.

    They cut records at Rudy's, but they didn't stamp them there. They never stamped records at Rudy's. They cut the masters there and somewhere else they stamped the records.

    This was the original wording of cutting a record. It wasn't playing the music. It was the actual needle cutting into the vinyl. This was before acetate. That was cutting a record, man!


    When they recorded and when they mastered, they used to put the drums in the back of the mix and they put the horns and the rest of the instruments in the front. But Rudy put the drums in the front and put the rest of the things around me. That's how Rudy captured my sound.

    When people heard this music on the radio, the station announcers didn't need to say that it was me playing on the drums. They knew it was me. Because at that time, nobody else could play the drums like that. And by Rudy doing this, it helped my career. Guys would hear this drum thing and want to know what I would do for them. They loved it.

    I was able to play the bass drum on the offbeat, where it grooved and it locked in -- but it swang. The bass drum beat: it's skippin', it's skippin', it's skippin'. That's one of the things I was known for when I came to New York. That's one of the things I was doing that I didn't know I was doing. That's what all the jazz cats liked.

    The "Alligator Bogaloo" date with Mr. Lou Donaldson was very successful. That second line beat will make you move. You've got to do something. Every record that I did with Lou Donaldson was a hit. He had the secrets of making hits after hits after hits.

    Rudy made me a lot of money. We became instant friends. And his recording of music was so original and so clear that we became instant friends from the first recording that I made with him for Blue Note Records.

    Here's a more recent photo of Dr. Lonnie Smith, who is doing his thing on the Hammand B3 on this "Alligator Bogaloo" session.

    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
  10. GentleSenator

    GentleSenator what if

    Aloha, OR
    wow, really? it's been on my want list for years. i actually really love this album. i've yet to find a copy. would be nice to get a quality reissue of it too.
  11. Joe Harley

    Joe Harley Senior Member

    Britt....fantastic man!! Alligator Bogaloo is a masterpiece of soul and Idris is SO deep in the pocket!! So glad you are here bringing your insights to these great sessions. Keep it coming man!!

    And for those of you who still have not picked up Lou's Aligator Bogaloo mastered by Kevin.... don't waste time. get it!!
    AFA, Dmann201, GentleSenator and 9 others like this.
  12. Smith

    Smith I'm cyanide over you.

    And grab Idris' book while you're at it.
  13. Joe Harley

    Joe Harley Senior Member

    Hell yeah!
    MisterBritt likes this.
  14. Instant Dharma

    Instant Dharma Hendon!!!

    CoCoCo, Ca
    The Van Gelder stuff is really interesting to me. The studio, the set up, the way he worked. No water or food in the studio. You had to respect that as a musician. Maybe you need that antiseptic type of structure on a recording date. Its not a club its just a totally different atmosphere
    flatsix-, MisterBritt and recstar24 like this.
  15. Crazysteve

    Crazysteve Gonzo Party Member

    No doubt! Thanks to Britt, Idris’ book sales are going to do well this week I’m guessing. It is on my list. And I didn’t know who he was a few days ago.
    MisterBritt and recstar24 like this.
  16. Smith

    Smith I'm cyanide over you.

    Totally, totally worth it.
    MisterBritt likes this.
  17. Instant Dharma

    Instant Dharma Hendon!!!

    CoCoCo, Ca
    Any info on the lady on Lee Morgans Caramba?
  18. Instant Dharma

    Instant Dharma Hendon!!!

    CoCoCo, Ca
    Iirc Idris was the drummer with the Ahmad Jamal trio when I saw him back in 2004 or so in Maine. Great gig.
    Jimmy Cooper and MisterBritt like this.
  19. MisterBritt

    MisterBritt Senior Member

    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    That sounds right. I met Idris at an Ahmad Jamal concert at Joe Segel's Jazz Showcase, then at Clark & Grand in Chicago, circa 1998. I only caught the last tune of the first show and then stayed for the second show. His drums were set up traditional for a right-handed drummer but he was playing left-handed. I thought, what the heck? I didn't think he was a left-handed player but I'd never seen him live before that night.

    There had been a tremendous string almost in a row of left-handed drummers coming through Jazz Showcase. Lenny White, Thelonious Monk, and now this? Well, the second show he was back to playing normal right-handed, but the tune Poinciana he does left-handed, like Vernel Fournier did it back in the day. This was the greatest jazz show I had ever seen!

    Idris made eight records with Ahmad Jamal. In the book he says six but he wasn't done yet when the book came out. They actually go way, way back. I've got his book here. What's one more quote? Ha. These are just excerpts from the chapter titled "Piano Black" when he discusses, contrasts and compares playing with three distinct pianists. (The other two are John Hicks and Randy Weston, if you're curious. I'll leave that discussion out as this is already a very long chapter.)

    I met Ahmad Jamal in 1960 when he opened the Alhambra Club in Chicago on the success of the hit record, "Poinciana." I've been knowing Ahmad for a very long time -- more than 50 years. He was the best man at my wedding to Sakina -- LaLa Brooks.

    When I was in Austria in the mid-1990s, I got the phone call. It's Ahmad. He says he wants me to come to Paris and make a record. I went to Paris. I made the record. The record was great. But I am too busy to work with him because I have too much stuff going on. I'm doing great, working with James Moody, Joe Lovano and all of them. But Ahmad offers to pay me a lot of money -- a lot of money, man.

    And now let's fast-forward to the last records I did with Ahmad Jamal. But in contrasting and comparing the three pianists -- there is no comparison. It was three different guys. Out of the three piano players I liked John Hicks. I liked him the best. He was easier and more fun to play with. I liked it more.

    I did about a half dozen records with Ahmad Jamal. The last record I did with Ahmad followed the series of three albums called, "The Essence." ... But the deal with Ahmad is that he hired me to do the records and tour with him as the leader.

    When we got to the third record, being "The Essence, Part III," Ahmad hired this percussion guy that used to work with him. That didn't work out with me too hot. We're back to the same problem.

    I don't like percussion players. They get in the way. It seems like every time I get ready to playing something good, they get to banging some ****. I can't play good with percussion players. The only guy I can play good with who comes in and does his stuff right is Ralph MacDonald. Ralph MacDonald is the only percussion player I know that I really enjoy playing with because he isn't a guy that gets in the way. So I'm not so keen with percussion players.

    But over the years -- way back before I got the call in Austria that day -- people kept telling Ahmad, "You've got to get Idris to play with you." We always said we were going to play together. Now we're playing together. In fact, Ahmad is relying on me so much now that he can't play with anyone else.

    So when somebody else plays with you, another drummer, you're going to know that I played your music. You're going to turn around and look around and say, "Oh yeah, that ain't Idris." But I don't like that. I don't like the idea of being locked down. Sometimes I like to hear a horn or something. So then I would play with Joe Lovano.

    Ahmad is very difficult to play with. Not difficult as far as musicianship, but his dynamics are so fast and so precise and so demanding. He's giving me cues and he's talking to me at the same time. He's giving us cues, he's telling us: this is the top, go down, come up.

    Ahmad's music is true music: dynamics, rhythm, harmony, melody all in one. That's why I like to work with him. Because I know what he's about and I can play the **** out of his music.

    I know what other guys are about and I can play with them too. My problem is that I play so damn good that once I learn your music I might play it better than you do. And that's a God's gift. That's a gift that I've got. I play with somebody, I'll learn your music. I'll know your music -- you might forget some ****, I'll play it for you. But I don't dwell on that when I'm playing your music.

    The Ahmad Jamal trio includes James Cammack on bass. James has been with Ahmad for over 25 years now. And this trio is globetrotters, man. We've traveled the globe many, many times. We've covered over 30 countries together

    When we did a tour in Japan in 2008 we hit some especially bad weather in the air. Sitting in the front of the plane, flying through this storm, there's the rain and there's the lightning. When something happens to the plane you can feel it. The plane was shivering, man. The pilot came on and said we had been hit by lightning. Then we got hit by lightning again. So we was hit twice by lightning.

    That was a sign to me that the Creator up in the sky runs everything. Down here too, but He's really running things up there. He's the one who gives permission for everything to happen. So it helps to make a human being realize that there is a power stronger than the human power.

    Another tour with Ahmad Jamal that stands out is when we played the Middle East. We traveled to Istanbul, Turkey, where they make great cymbals. This is when I got my cymbal endorsement with Istanbul Agop Cymbals.

    The next chapter is about his tour of the Istanbul Agop Cymbal factory and it's one of my favorites. In the excerpt above there is mention of his second wife, LaLa Brooks. She's a hoot. She's great. I actually did an interview with her one time when we were all down in New Orleans together. If her name doesn't immediately ring a bell, she was one of the lead singers (they were all lead singers) for Phil Spector's group The Crystals. She's lead singer on "He's Sure the Boy I Love" and "Da Do Run Run," etc. None of her interview is in the book though. The format is just Idris giving his recital, so to speak.

    Sam Cooke loved The Crystals and he took them with him on his tours. Idris was with Sam Cooke and ... it's a long story but it's all in the book, just not her telling it. Another tremendous resource for me was another New Orleans drummer by the name of Earl Palmer. Earl offered to help me and he certainly did, but he is not telling any of the story either. He would tell me stuff and then I'd turn around and ask Idris about it, and Idris would tell it in his words. This book is a real analogue (to use that as a concept -- it was all done with tape recorders and transcriptions) single source, Idris in his own words, document.

    And in closing for tonight, back to the Ahmad Jamal trio. I'd venture to guess I saw as many as 50~60 shows of that band, mostly in New York. (Two shows per night being two shows, not one.) I just missed Idris a couple weeks previous circa 1998 with John Scofield in Chicago but I subsequently got to see John Scofield with Bill Stewart on drums. The 80th Blue Note record that's part of this series, "Hand Jive," has Bill Stewart on drums. He's great!
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
    birchstick, Dmann201, scotti and 9 others like this.
  20. flatsix-

    flatsix- Low End Theorist

    Las Vegas
    Awesome stuff MisterBritt! Thanks for these gems and the effort posting them. I may have to track this book down.
    MisterBritt likes this.
  21. Jimmy Cooper

    Jimmy Cooper Forum Resident

    Kiel, Germany
    I missed that information. Which book do you mean?
    MisterBritt likes this.
  22. flatsix-

    flatsix- Low End Theorist

    Las Vegas
    Referenced above in the excerpts by MisterBritt. Btw, loving that picture of Idris Muhammed. Would look great in a frame.
    Jimmy Cooper and MisterBritt like this.
  23. MisterBritt

    MisterBritt Senior Member

    Santa Fe, NM, USA

    If you put your cursor over the picture of the book and click through it will take you to the Table of Contents and you can see if it's something you might be interested in. It used to let you darn near read the whole book but now it's just the first chapter and a small part of the second chapter.

    What we need now are some more positive reviews!
    Jimmy Cooper likes this.
  24. Jimmy Cooper

    Jimmy Cooper Forum Resident

    Kiel, Germany
    Thank you, Britt. I'll have a look. You think this is a must have?
  25. MisterBritt

    MisterBritt Senior Member

    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    I think if you stick around this thread long enough I'll end up transcribing the whole thing before it's over. Ha. Is it a must have?

    I'm going to transcribe the final chapter in the book for you. It's really a summation of what the Idris Muhammad is about. There are no stories, no anecdotes, no insights in the final chapter -- all that good stuff is inside the book -- but simply Idris' heart felt feelings about his life and his career. The tone of this final chapter is very different from the rest of the book. He's talking honestly throughout the book, but he never talks like this in the preceding chapters. It is a unique insight. See if you think it's worth reading.

    A Conduit for Music

    Inside the vortex, I wasn't mindful of the broad currents of history at work. But right now I have a lot of time to think about it. I look back at the stuff in New Orleans -- from the day that I bought my brother's drums, I've clocked up over 50 years playing the drums and making money on the drums. I think about the first marriage when I was eighteen that lasted only a few years. The divorce. And how the next week I was married again. How I've been single only one week since I was eighteen.

    I had two families -- took care of two families -- sent my kids to private schools in Europe because I didn't like the school system in the United States. I've owned and lived in houses in three countries, the United States, England and Austria. My thing was about how I can take care of the family, the house, the food. I didn't have time to think about how good I am. This attitude kept me where I am. I speak out now because I'm older. I think I've earned the respect of being one of the greatest drummers. So it's my privilege now to speak.

    Very few people can do what I do. They do at it, but you can't do what I do. Ain't but one of me. I'm a natural drummer, gifted from the Creator. Gifted. I got gold in my hands. Feet of gold. Perfect precision. Perfect. I will do things that shock me. And then I come home, sit in the tub, and try and figure out how I did this ****. But I don't try and make my mind go back and do it again. Because it's a gift that I got from the Creator.

    People will say that I'm the first guy to do this or that. But I wasn't aware of what I had accomplished. I took Paul Barbarin's advice and let it go in one ear and out the other. And now I'm responsible for a whole lot of stuff that's happening today. And you see what else is so amazing: it's that I didn't realize that I was a drummer that can play all types of music. I didn't realize how unusual this is.

    I'm just a conduit of this music. I realize it doesn't belong to me. A force of energy passes through me and I create this stuff. Because I never flaunted it, never waved the flag, this allowed me to be able to create and remain creative. I never had a halo over me that I was better than anyone else. They would rave about me, but I never took it to heart. I was too busy.

    When cats came into my presence that weren't as good as me, I never played them down. I'd say, listen to that **** you're playing, man. I like what you do. Cats would say, man, show me how to play this beat. And I'd take them to the drums and I'd show them how to do this. I always kept a mutual friendship with other drummers. I was humble, humble, humble.

    I often saw other drummers standing in the wings watching me. Sometimes when we didn't have anything to do between shows we'd play the drums. Some of them could play it. Some of them took some of it and went with it. But every night I played something different. Every night I didn't play the same stuff.

    I don't hear it when people praise me because I need that energy that flows through me to keep coming through. It's special. It's a direction of energy that flows through us all. It's a magical thing that comes from the Creator.

    I'm happy I was able to create something these other people -- especially the guys coming up under me -- can learn from and be successful. It doesn't matter who makes what money. It's not about that. It's about how we can gather these things as human beings. I'll throw something out and the drummer's are hearing it -- and if they're taking it -- if a drummer's successful with it, it's all up to him. It's not upon me because I am only a conduit of creating music.

    I'm a sharer. I like to be friends with people. I like to help people. And when you share with people good things come back around to you. It used to be that I would send my mother some money. And then I would go to the musician's union to pick up some payments that I knew were there for me. But then there was often a check that I didn't know was there. Or then I might get a gig that paid a whole lot of money!

    When I work with people they become often successful. And when I leave them they are on top. All of the people that I've worked for, when I left them they were successful.

    It's about how we can gather these things as human beings. I learned how to treat others as human beings. I kept a dignified rapport with people and an attitude which in turn made me a lot of money; it made me a lot of friends; it made me a lot of history. Just that rapport and that attitude did that.

    I hope that the records that I done for the people who I did it for, I hope that -- some of them are gone, some of therm are here -- that they're happy with this work. I knew when I did the date, the guys was always happy with my work.Some guys were very fortunate. Bob James, Grover Washington, George Benson and a lot of other guys were really successful in the music industry and it's great. And they know me and they acknowledge this fact to me, that I was a part of their life being a success.

    Now I might be just sitting by the window in upstate New York watching the snow come dow. I'm watching the television. The television is watching me. I have a home near where the Alfred Hitchcock mansion is located. Timothy Leary and all them used to hang out up here. They used to drop acid and wander around the horse barn and out into the yard that surrounds my home.

    Or I might be in New Orleans because I have home in both New York and New Orleans. I spent most of my life in New York and New Orleans. They are part of me. And I'm part of them, musically.

    Cats are asking me to play the drums down in New Orleans. But don't ask me to travel again.You would have to send a Lear Jet to get me out of New Orleans. Meanwhile, the Ninth Ward was taken out by Katrina, and the people are building their houses as they did when I was a kid living in the Thirteenth Ward with the Nevilles.

    I'm just relaxing. I am just enjoying myself. I always said I was going to get a fishing pole, smoke Cuban cigars and drink Diet Coke. I want now to relax and enjoy my family.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019

Share This Page