🎷 AotW: Jazz Paul Desmond, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" SP-3032

Jazz releases not on the CTi or Horizon labels.

Rudy

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"Hot Afternoon" sometimes gets a bad rap, but it's my favorite among all three. My mother played all three of these while I was growing up, so they're all pretty good.

No guess on my question above, though? :D
 

rickster

New Member
In my humble opinion, this is an absolutely gorgous album-- Paul's sound and interpretation were a perfect match for Simon's tunes. Have loved the album ever since the day it came out.
 

Dave

Well-Known Member
I agree... This album is a fairly engaging masterpiece, albeit a bit of quietude in a bit of a silent way...

It may have been called a "nadir" in A&M Jazz and Desmond's career, but its sombre and low-key approach makes this outing one of the most enjoyable...



Dave
 

rickster

New Member
Have ALWAYS loved this, from the first time I heard it --- I LOVE Sebesky's work here, specifically on El Condor Pasa, Old Friends (brilliant), and America. Paul just seems so at home in these settings , and plays beautifully and thoughtfully. The rhythm section of Hancock, Carter and Bill LaVorgna is tight and inspiring. The engineering is also superb -- a GREAT mix. One of the best jazz - flavored pop instrumental albums of the era.
 

Dave

Well-Known Member
A good, honest recording... And sounds "natural" in the sense that nothing really extraordinary was expected from Desmond and his just solid, pleasant and honest playing sounds just fine...

The songs are also in a good order, as well, putting out a few tunes from the Simon & Garfunkel album that it's named, and also offering a good selection of songs from their other albums, and my favorite is none-other than "America"... Just love that trumpet fanfare at its climax...!



Dave
 

A&Mguyfromwayback

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Industry Member
It's mellow in the best sense of the word - but then Paul Desmond himself fits that description. Fond memories of this album.
 

Dave

Well-Known Member
A timeless & very pleasant listen & perhaps one of the best things Desmond had ever done... And, perhaps, the best thing anyone had ever done, using a single artist's repertoire as Simon & Garfunkel...

-- Dave
 

Rudy

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Here's a little tidbit I learned from reading a Simon & Garfunkel bio. On their version of "59th Street Bridge Song", do the drums and bass sound familiar? Jazz fans, listen again closely, and think of jazz on Columbia in the late 50s.

Hint: they are somewhat related (musically) to Paul Desmond... :wink: (If you already know, don't ruin the surprise!)
Nobody ever figured this one out?

 

Rudy

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It took 13 years for the correct answer! 😁 I'm not a big S&G fan myself, but once I read that in the book and played the track (which I was already familiar with), it was that "a-HA!" moment.

The strange (or perhaps alarming?) thing is that I swore I asked this question just a couple of years ago...
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
I first heard this LP in high school (I borrowed it from one of my mother's work friends...). I remember falling asleep to it at the time 🥴, which isn't much of an endorsement. I had not seriously bothered with it until much later in life when I picked up one of them there Japanese imports. I'm now at a place where I can appreciate it on its own terms. Though not a CTi, it, nevertheless remains a Creed Taylor-esque excursion of its time (which I believe Rudy once characterized as exhibiting all the CTi trimmings). It's good, but I'll take Desmond's previous two CTi LPs to this one.
 

Rudy

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I 've wondered about why and how this album exists--it's in the 3000 series, so it should have been directly in line to be a CTI album.

Some of the personnel were familiar CTI names (Herbie Hancock, Airto, Ron Carter, Jerry Jemmott), and Sebesky did the arranging and allegedly was the producer. Yet I don't recall Sebesky as a producer on other albums associated with Taylor.

The sound is CTI. I don't have the album handy to see where it was recorded, but it sounds like a Van Gelder.

The album cover photo is atrocious--I've always felt it was poorly altered and would have looked better in its original form. So it's a bridge over tinted water (only, there's no bridge)? Taylor never would have allowed that on one of his records. Again, not having the jacket to look at, it doesn't strike me as a Pete Turner photograph would.

Given the timing, was it a "gimme" to A&M to finish out the contract, as long as Taylor's name wasn't on it?

I realize there are a few 3000-series stragglers past the CTI titles (A&M hoping to keep the "jazz thing" going), but none of them fit into the CTI mold like Desmond's record.

Lots of questions, and nobody around to answer them...
 

Harry

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The album cover photo is atrocious--I've always felt it was poorly altered and would have looked better in its original form. So it's a bridge over tinted water (only, there's no bridge)? Taylor never would have allowed that on one of his records. Again, not having the jacket to look at, it doesn't strike me as a Pete Turner photograph would.
Credits list:

Photography: Kessel / Brehm Photography
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Lots of questions, and nobody around to answer them...
The Japanese mini-LP I have (2013; #UCCM-9222):
  • No recording location listed
  • No recording engineer listed (which could've given us an idea of where it may have been recorded)
  • Art Direction: Tom Wilkes
  • The Japanese insert has a ℗1969 entry, indicating this recording was in the can in '69. JazzDisco.org lists the recording date as "circa 1969" and they list Van Gelder as the engineer, but no location is provided -- which is odd because RVG and "Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ" are mutually inclusive.

That's all I can find at this time.
 

Rudy

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Well, finally got back to where I can get at the rekkid collection. And I do have it on the shelf. (I have my own used copy upstairs here, plus my mother's copy is somewhere in storage.)

First of all, what a terrible mess the art design is for the inside of the gatefold. Small white print on a blue and purple mottled background (it's a variation on halftone printing). Even with my strongest readers and a bright LED flashlight, it was a challenge to read!

Aside from what Harry found about the photography and art credits, the only engineering credit I see is "Engineer: Dave Sanders." A Google search led me to Discogs, where he is shown as a recording engineer at A&R Studios in NYC in the late 60s and early 70s. Looking at the listings under his credits at Discogs, he recorded a number of records for the Skye Records label, a few for Blue Note, and a few for Verve with, interestingly, a Don Sebesky album (The Distant Galaxy) on Verve among the credits.


So...no Van Gelder on this one. But it still has a similar, albeit not quite the same, sound as Van Gelder's. The Skye records don't really sound like Van Gelder's though.
 

Harry

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Here's a scan of those credits from an "A&M Originals" CD Digipak from Verve from 2008:

BridgeDesmondCredits.jpg

OS00NDU4LmpwZWc.jpeg
 
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JOv2

Well-Known Member
the only engineering credit I see is "Engineer: Dave Sanders."
Rudy, unless my eyes are playing tricks on me, I'm unable to see the engineering credit. Is it on the LP label; otherwise, where should I be looking?
 

Rudy

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Rudy, unless my eyes are playing tricks on me, I'm unable to see the engineering credit. Is it on the LP label; otherwise, where should I be looking?

Strange, the CD digi-pak doesn't have the credit. I just took a photo of the gatefold and enhanced it to make it more readable. Right below Don Sebesky's credit.

PXL_20230108_195927851 (2).jpg

It's also strange that the formatting error (where "Art Direction:" is split over two lines) was preserved on the CD.

This makes me wonder two things.

First, was the LP jacket altered in later pressings to remove the engineering credit? I can't see a reissue label bothering to change what, at this late date, is a minor detail.

Second, why would they remove an engineering credit? Was it incorrect?

I looked in the runout groove for perhaps an "RVG" or other scribing, but this is all I found (click to enlarge). "T1" (or "TI"?) is about all I can spot aside from the matrix number.

PXL_20230108_200817089 (2).jpg

Side 1 also had this very faint scribing--it actually shows up better on camera than to the nekkid eye. "B5"?

PXL_20230108_200834171 (2).jpg

Side two has an inverted "V"--not sure if it's stamped, written, or maybe just an anomaly in the pressing.

PXL_20230108_200927948 (2).jpg

The record is not as beaten up as it looks, but the spindle marks on one side are worrying--that usually indicates it was played on cheaper equipment. I haven't played this in years, so I don't know the overall condition.
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Thanks. Agreed. The removal of Dave Sanders' engineering credit on the CD reissues begs the obvious question... Why? Even if the credit was in error, we do know the engineer wasn't RVG -- given the absence of RVG in the deadwax.

Note also how the CD re-issues have that "Records & Tapes" bit on the label badge -- which as we all know was a brief visual addition for only a few months during 1970. (Of the CTi lot, only Jobim's Tide exhibited that variant.)

That this was (apparently) recorded in '69 and not at RVG's, yet with much of the CTi crew as it were makes me wonder... At this point I'm going to offer as conjecture that this was initially a "CTi scheduled activity..." that Creed gave to Jerry for some unknown reason. Since Creed was no longer in the picture, Sebesky was asked to step in to handle the production chores. That RVG was not used may suggest a Creed/RVG business arrangement (for instance, Creed may have had that time booked with RVG, but didn't want to lose it to an LP that he was no longer producing). Doug Payne's CTi site doesn't offer information regarding any applicable unissued / unknown / lost CTi sessions during 1969-70.
 

Michael Hagerty

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Contributor
BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER (along with TIDE) was part of A&M Records' November, 1970 release.

The last A&M album to bear the CTi imprint, GULA MATARI, was part of the August release.

...this was (apparently) recorded in '69 and not at RVG's...

@JOv2 , I don't see how this (at least all of it) could have been recorded in 1969, as "El Condor Pasa", "So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright", "Cecilia" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" weren't released by Simon and Garfunkel themselves until their BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER album in the first week of February, 1970.

Given that three of those four cuts were hit singles, I'm gonna hazard a guess that the album wasn't recorded (or finished, anyway) until August, 1970, when "El Condor Pasa" was released as the third single from the Simon and Garfunkel album---which would be outside the window of Creed's involvement.

As for why A&M instead of the new CTI, it was probably contractual. Paul didn't surface on the new CTI for four more years (with SKYLARK and PURE DESMOND), so maybe his deal was with A&M or maybe he only had a two-record deal with Creed and went with A&M for the third (either of those scenarios could explain Quincy Jones, as well).

The album would also have been a bad fit with what new CTI was doing well with (Freddie Hubbard's RED CLAY), but very much in line with what we've been discussing in the separate CTI thread...that Herb & Jerry were looking for very commercial, fairly unchallenging jazz.

Something for someone who is just enough of the right kind of geek (me) to geek out over: TIDE (SP-3031) was part of the same monthly release as BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER, but features the Sam Antupit album cover design and (as JOv2 notes) the "A&M Records and Tapes" logo.

Screenshot 2023-01-09 at 7.04.19 AM.jpg

But BRIDGE (SP-3032), part of the same monthly release, not only doesn't have any of that, it's the first of the SP-3000 series to feature the really small A&M logo (which debuted on HUMBLE PIE, released in September).

Screenshot 2023-01-09 at 7.04.46 AM.jpg

So it looks like A&M sat on TIDE for a couple of months. Was it originally intended to come out with GULA MATARI in August, but held while Jerry and Creed (or more likely, Jerry's lawyers and Creed's lawyers) sorted out the last bits of the separation?

There absolutely was overlap between A&M/CTi and CTI...although Doug Payne's discography shows the first four CTI releases as 1969, the announcement of the label, and the release of CTI 1002, Hubert Laws' CRYING SONG, was in the February 28, 1970 issue of Billboard.

And apart from Antonio Carlos Jobim, new CTI stayed away from A&M/CTi artists for a long time---it wasn't until May of 1971 that George Benson's BEYOND THE BLUE HORIZON was released. Was that part of the legal wrangling that tied up I GOT A WOMAN AND SOME BLUES for 15 years? I'm sure Benson and his management didn't want to go two years between albums.
 
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Rudy

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Kathy McCord's album (CTI 1001) was recorded November and December of 1969 so that, too, would have made for a 1970 release.

Those dates make sense for this last Desmond album to be on A&M, then--I didn't figure the timing of S&G's songs into it. I think the criss-crossing release dates for both labels is what still confuses us all.
 

Michael Hagerty

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Contributor
Kathy McCord's album (CTI 1001) was recorded November and December of 1969 so that, too, would have made for a 1970 release.

Those dates make sense for this last Desmond album to be on A&M, then--I didn't figure the timing of S&G's songs into it. I think the criss-crossing release dates for both labels is what still confuses us all.
Yeah. It’s pretty clear that Creed started CTI before the end of his A&M contract, which may have precipitated the “we get this, you get that” at the end.
 

Rudy

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Yeah. It’s pretty clear that Creed started CTI before the end of his A&M contract, which may have precipitated the “we get this, you get that” at the end.
Since the parting was seen as amicable, it also may have been professional courtesy. In a few instances where artists have jumped labels, yet still owed their old label one or more recordings, it was not uncommon for the old label to release something nearly around the same time as the new label, vs. staggering them. So both A&M and CTI got lucky in that the changeover might have had the unintended effect of smoothly transitioning from one to the other.
 
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