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Harold Land - A New Shade Of Blue, Vinyl LP

Harold Land - A New Shade Of Blue, Vinyl LP


Harold Land - A New Shade Of Blue, Vinyl LP

Factory sealed. New.

If Harold Land had left nothing else behind him other than the 1960 Contemporary Records album The Fox, a place in jazz history would be secure. The disc not only featured some of the finest mid-period hard-bop tenor saxophone to come out of the West Coast, but in Land's frontline partner, Dupree Bolton, it showcased a trumpet soloist of outsize talent, one, tragically, who was cut down by heroin addiction and psychiatric problems almost as soon as the recording session was over. Bolton made a return to the studio in 1962 under the leadership of another West Coast tenor player, Curtis Amy, but The Fox was his chef (and almost only) d'oeuvre.

Fortunately for us, Land's recorded legacy is considerably more extensive than that, both pre-The Fox, through his work with the Max Roach / Clifford Brown Quintet in the mid 1950s, and after it, most notably through his collaborative work with vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, which began in 1967 and continued for almost twenty years.

A New Shade Of Blue is the first of three albums Land and Hutcherson recorded for Bob Shad's Mainstream label in 1971 and 1972. According to the liner notes, it was cut a couple of months after a club performance about which critic Leonard Feather wrote in The Los Angeles Times that if the group could be recorded just the way it sounded that night, the result would be "one of the monster jazz LPs of the year."

And that is precisely what Bob Shad did, whether prompted by Feather's review or off his own bat. The sound on A New Shade Of Blue is raw going on rough. It sounds like a club date recorded with one microphone suspended over the band (though the liner photographs from the session show this was not in fact the case) and run through a mixing desk on which the input indicator on practically every dial is permanently in the red. There is minimal separation between the instruments, no discernible edits or drop-ins and definitely no compression. Shad knew precisely what he was doing and the result is the absolute coyote's cojones.

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