More of the Music of Gene Ammons
More Recordings by Rudy Van Gelder
For us audiophiles both the sound and the music here are wonderful. If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good a 1958 All Tube Analog Prestige recording by Rudy Van Gelder can sound, this killer copy will do the trick.
This pressing is super spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience. Talk about Tubey Magic, the liquidity of the sound here is positively uncanny. This is vintage analog at its best, so full-bodied and relaxed you’ll wonder how it ever came to be that anyone seriously contemplated trying to improve it.
This IS the sound of Tubey Magic. No recordings will ever be made like this again, and no CD will ever capture what is in the grooves of this record. There is, of course, a CD of this album, but those of us who possess a working turntable and a good collection of vintage vinyl could care less.
What We Listen For on Blue Gene
The best copies are rich and tubey; many pressings were thin and modern sounding, and for that they would lose a lot of points. We want this record to sound like something RVG recorded in 1958, and the best copies give you that sound, without the surface noise and groove damage the originals doubtless suffer from.
Some copies have much more space; some are more present, putting the musicians right in the room with you; some are more transparent, resolving the musical information much better than others, letting you “see” everyone in the studio clearly. Some have more rhythmic drive than others. On some the musicians seem more involved and energetic than they do on the average pressing.
The copies that do all these things better than other copies are the ones that win our shootouts.
This is clearly one of the better copies we have ever played. We think you will enjoy it immensely. And watch for more Gene Ammons records coming to the site soon. With RVG at the board his recordings are often superb.
Gene Ammons – tenor saxophone
Idrees Sulieman – trumpet
Pepper Adams – baritone saxophone
Mal Waldron – piano
Doug Watkins – bass
Art Taylor – drums
Ray Barretto – congas
Blue Greens ‘N Beans
The final of his series of jam sessions for Prestige features an excellent septet (the leader on tenor, trumpeter Idrees Sulieman, baritonist Pepper Adams, pianist Mal Waldron, bassist Doug Watkins, drummer Art Taylor and Ray Barretto on congas) stretching out on three original blues and the ballad “Hip Tip”; all four pieces were written by Waldron. Few surprises occur but everyone plays up to their usual high level. … enjoyable, straightahead…
Ammons and Von Freeman were the founders of the Chicago school of tenor saxophone. Ammons’s style of playing showed influences from Lester Young as well as Ben Webster. These artists had helped develop the sound of the tenor saxophone to higher levels of expressiveness. Ammons, together with Dexter Gordon and Sonny Stitt, helped integrate their developments with the emerging “vernacular” of the bebop movement, and the chromaticism and rhythmic variety of Charlie Parker is evident in his playing.
While adept at the technical aspects of bebop, in particular its love of harmonic substitutions, Ammons more than Young, Webster or Parker, stayed in touch with the commercial blues and R&B of his day.
The soul jazz movement of the mid-1960s, often using the combination of tenor saxophone and Hammond B3 electric organ, counts him as a founder. With a thicker, warmer tone than Stitt or Gordon, Ammons could at will exploit a vast range of textures on the instrument, vocalizing it in ways that look forward to later artists like Stanley Turrentine, Houston Person, and even Archie Shepp. Ammons showed little interest, however, in the modal jazz of John Coltrane, Joe Henderson or Wayne Shorter that was emerging at the same time.
Some ballad performances in his oeuvre are testament to an exceptional sense of intonation and melodic symmetry, powerful lyrical expressiveness, and mastery both of the blues and the bebop vernacular that can now be described as, in its own way, “classical.”