I hit some of my regular haunts for bargain-bin LP shopping last weekend and found some real gems. At Jack's Music, the nice guy that works there (also named Tim, go figure) let me root around in their storeroom and I found some good stuff like the first Canned Heat LP, John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band, a mint copy of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, along with Hank Mobley's Dippin' and Milt Jackson's live Impulse LP That's the Way It Is. My original plan was to frame the Miles LP, and I may still do that (I have it on CD) but the vinyl is so crisp and quiet, I may just keep it all together and play it occasionally. There's a warm and full sound that comes out on a good vinyl pressing that is lost on the compact disc. I also found a couple of interesting early Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention LP's as well, Weasels Ripped My Flesh and Burnt Weeny Sandwich. At the Princeton Record Exchange, the dollar bin was equally forthcoming, with nice copies of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers In Paris, Lester Young's Prez Lives, and John Coltrane's Transition.
Transition was a very important album in my own musical development. After I had been listening to jazz for a while in high school, I found a copy of Transition in my public library and though “cool, that's the guy that played with Miles Davis” expecting something along the lines of Workin' and Steamin'. Needless to say I was pretty surprised to find that when I played it the opening track was paint-peeling free jazz. I couldn't deal with it at the time, but eventually went back to it, and and doing so found my way to investigate Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman and other icons of the avant-garde. The album is aptly named, since it's a transition between Coltrane's modal work like Crescent and A Love Supreme and his freer work like Meditations and Interstellar Space. It's a very important record for me as well, and expanded my musical horizons more than perhaps any other album. I have it on CD, but it feels great to have a nice clean vinyl copy of this talismanic recording.
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