Monday, October 31, 2016

A northern dig

Northern as in up towards the Arctic, not Soul.

So we were more than two weeks into our “trip of a lifetime” to Canada and Alaska, and I had not had a sniff of vinyl apart from this, which we stumbled across in a coffee shop in Canmore, Alberta on our first day

Withdrawal symptoms had set in, so I jumped up and down as if I had just spied a grizzly juggling salmon when I saw this in Ketchikan, Alaska...

Yes, a Sally Army thrift store! – and it had some records!! Two boxes of albums to be precise, which included a fair amount of mid 70s jazz-funk of the smooth variety – George Benson, Quincy Jones, Roy Ayers, that sort of thing- something I wouldn't have expected in deepest Alaska to be honest. Quite a few of the albums I already have in the collection, but I happily picked up three that I didn't for the princely sum of $2. For the record they were Bob James One, Material's Memory Serves (which is very good), and some live jazz in the form of Eastman Jazz Ensemble, Live!

Eastman is a highly regarded School of Music founded in 1921, based in Rochester NY, and still going strong. It offers degrees in many forms of music. In the jazz world Steve Gadd and Chuck Mangione are just two of the more well known names I picked out of their alumni list on Wikipedia.

This album collects some live performances made by college students at the Eastman Theatre during their '75 – '76 season. There are a mix of styles represented, although it is basically a big band. The small group Auricle, a jazz-fusion group who went one to have two releases on Chrysalis, is also featured on one track. It is rather good throughout. I was impressed by fidelity of the sound too, the vinyl is quite heavy. Not bad for 66c!

The track featured here is a Chick Corea composition. The sleeve notes tell us: “This chart is the sort of deft group piece that would seem to defy through its very intimacy any big band treatment. But drummer Ron Wagner turns it into a dynamic vehicle for a band that has the technique and time-sense to handle it. Soloists are graduate student Nelson Hinds on trombone, undergraduates Norman Rax on tenor and Rick Braun on trumpet. John Serry on piano and Ron Wagner on drums.”


Anonymous said...


Where did you visit in Canada? Don't forget you can always "Google" = city + records/vinyl/collectables should get some results. Know this Blog is about music (Great too - thanx!) but willing to share any of your Canadian pics?


Ciao! For now.

Darcy said...

Hi Anon. Our trip took in Calgary-Banff-Jasper-Kamloops(overnight)-Victoria-Vancouver-Alaska cruise-Vancouver again. I did some Vancouver & Victoria record shop research before we went but I knew I would have very little time for digging so didn't tease myself with any further research.
I am still sorting the pics out so one day maybe I may post a little montage.