Amoeblog

In Praise of Tiny LP's!

Posted by J. Mark Beaver, September 2, 2010 09:00am | Post a Comment
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Not long ago Amoeba brought in an original 1964 Japanese pressing of the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night LP. Typically, we have found that we are able to fetch upwards of $250 for that record in Near Mint condition (which this copy was). However, the LP we purchased also had that strip of paper, printed primarily in Japanese, that it was originally purchased with back in 1964. "Big deal!," one might think, but, yes...it is.
The "obi," a t
brian eno here come the warm jetserm borrowed from the sash worn as a belt around the midsection of a kimono, is a piece of ephemera that many people throw away when they first crack open their Japanese vinyl. A word of advice: Don't do that! Because the Beatles album had that slim belt of paper, 45 years old and in almost all other cases, discarded, it was worth closer to $2,000!

Obi fans and collectors will nod their heads, "of course!" So much is the appeal of the fine attention to detail and the often beautiful "extra something" lent by the obi that, fairly early in the history of the CD, Japanese CD manufacturers began making LP replica CD's, complete with scale versions of their accompanying obis...and another voracious collectors'
market was born.

Requiem for The Phantom: marking a decade since the passing of the legendary Horace Tapscott

Posted by J. Mark Beaver, February 17, 2009 12:00am | Post a Comment
horace tapscott dark treeI remember lying on a couch in my room in Oakland, sometime in either 1989 or 1990. Afternoon light was pouring in my window and I was in a hypnogogic state, somewhere between waking and dreaming. My mind was occupied with the vision of long and dark brown hands holding what looked to be a piece of blue glass. The agile hands turned the glass over and over again, and with each turning, facets appeared, polished and refracting light. The glass was becoming more and more ornate and I remember thinking that it was "perfecting." Suddenly, I sat bolt upright, realizing that I was having a visual experience of the music I was listening to at the moment: The title track from the recently issued LP by Horace Tapscott, Dark Tree.

Tapscott was working a theme on the piano, turning it over and over, and every time it came around, there was more central avenue sounds jazz in los angelesbeauty in it. And every time it came around, there was less of anything superfluous. The theme, under his long, dark fingers, was "perfecting."

Released again in 2000 by Swiss Hatology label on double limited edition CD with its companion volume, Dark Tree 1 & 2 is a document of what I have come to consider one of the most important jazz quartets of all time. Featuring Tapscott on piano, John Carter on clarinet, Cecil McBee on contrabass and Andrew Cyrille on drums, it is a fleeting glimpse into not only a rare recording by this astounding group, but a rare small group recording for Tapscott, altogether.

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