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Attention Mac Users!

Mac users have been experiencing problems in unpacking the WinRAR archives used on this blog. Two solutions have been suggested.

1. Use The Unarchiver - - see comments on Little Esther Bad Baad Girl post for details.

2. Use Keka - - see comments on Johnny Otis Presents post.

Tuesday 14 April 2009

Illinois Jacquet & Lester Young - Battle Of The Saxes (Aladdin LP 701)

No, I don’t actually have this 10” LP released on Aladdin in 1951 lying on my record shelves. Joan sent me a scan of the cover many months ago (it was first used on a Jazz Greats post on Lester Young, link removed), and having all the required tracks scattered around on various reissue albums, I thought it would be a bit of fun to reconstitute the original issue and give Joan’s scan the setting it deserves.

Although numbered 701, this LP may not have been the first to be issued on Aladdin, the honour possibly going to “Party After Hours” (LP 703), a compilation of tracks by Amos Milburn, Wynonie Harris, Velma Nelson and Crown Prince Waterford.

The 33⅓ rpm vinyl long playing record was a format that was less than three years old when this disc was issued and the paltry (to modern ears) 21 minutes of music contained therein should be seen as a major improvement over the usual 3 – 4 minutes contained on each side of a 10” 78 rpm shellac disc, a format which had been around since 1901. To be accurate, the longest playing time squeezed on to a 10” 78 rpm disc was six minutes on each side – Rossini on one side and Verdi on the flip side – on Sterno 5022. Doubtless it was a big hit on tavern juke boxes.

If this collection had been released just a few years previously (when the music on it was actually recorded and first released as singles), it would have been in the form of an album – a “book” containing 4 separate 78 rpm discs, each in its own sleeve. The advent of the lightweight vinyl long playing disc meant that multi track collections would inevitably increase in popularity.

None of the music here was recorded specifically for the LP. “Flying Home”, recorded in July 1945, was the first single release on Philo, the original name of what was to become the Aladdin label. The other three Illinois Jacquet tracks all date from 1947. “D.B. Blues” and “Lester Blows Again” were recorded in late 1945, and “On The Sunny Side Of The Street” and “Jumpin’ With Symphony Sid” are from an October 1946 session.

Nowadays we’re used to buying mid-priced 4 or 5 CD sets with over a hundred tracks and more than 5 hours of music. We can download tracks by the hundred or even the thousand, if we so wish. Yet is this necessarily a good thing? How many of the tracks on our hard disks or compact discs are listened to more than once? Back in the early fifties when buying a collection of 8 or 10 tracks was still a novelty, you can bet that each and every track in people’s small record collections (whether on a 45 or on an LP) would be played over and over again, and probably valued more.

Ripped at 256 or 320 kbps. Surface noise audible, especially on the Lester Young sides.

Thanks to Joan for cover scans. Password is, as ever, greaseyspoon

Download from here:

Battle Of The Saxes (Mega)

Or from here:

Battle Of The Saxes (Zippy)

1. Flying Home - Illinois Jacquet
2. Blow Illinois Blow - Illinois Jacquet
3. Goofin' Off - Illinois Jacquet
4. Illinois Blows The Blues - Illinois Jacquet
5. D.B. Blues - Lester Young
6. Lester Blows Again - Lester Young
7. On The Sunny Side Of The Street - Lester Young
8. Jumpin' With Symphony Sid - Lester Young

Second issue of this LP:

Some Aladdin EPs: