|jazz, should've looked in jazz|
I don’t know why but when I started this blog I became fixated on trying to find a copy of this album. In the first blopping trips this was an album that I would search the World Music sections of the record stores I frequent looking for a copy. Often I would check eBay looking for one, or at least one at something below full price. At the very least those searches let me know that it was in print but I feared I’d be paying $18 - $25 for a copy. Then on a recent trip to the Princeton Record Exchange I was looking through the budget jazz releases, as I often do, and Sabu’s “Palo Congo” was staring back at me. I grabbed it and gave it a once over and added it to my purchases for the day. Upon further inspection I noticed, for the first time despite having looked at but not read the entry, that the album was on the Blue Note label, purveyors of fine jazz recordings. I wondered if I’d overlooked a copy of the album at some point since it may have been hiding with the jazz CDs instead of the World section. Either way I finally had it and it only cost me $3.99. Sabu, also known as Louis Martinez, combined African rhythms with Cuban instruments as the book says: ‘drawing on his mixed Spainish/Africian/West Indian heritage. It makes for a slightly hypnotic mix. It also allowed me to use those three years of high school Spanish on “Billumba-Palo Congo” as I know he’s saying “Good Evening” to someone. Outside of that my translations become spotty at best. It is quite an interesting mix of sounds and well worth the listen, if not the time I spent tracking this one down. Sabu (not to be confused with a certain homicidal, suicidal, genocidal pro wrestler) had played with Dizzy Gillespie and according to the book became a session player for Blue Note. There he also played with Art Blakey (a newer obsession of mine) and this session was engineered by Rudy Van Gelder. For those unfamiliar with Rudy Van Gelder (or RVG as I call him, not to be confused with Sabu’s tag team partner and occasional adversary, RVD) he is a renowned engineer who has overseen hundreds of sessions with just about every prominent jazz figure from the 50’s on. He built a studio in a house in Englewood Cliffs, NJ after building a smaller one in his parents’ house years earlier. At some point in the last year and a half I went on a huge jazz kick (that hasn’t really stopped)and started buying albums by artists I hadn’t really listened to before, I’m sure it was prompted by something I’d heard for the blog but I’m not sure what. Anyway it started with the Keepnews Collection and when I couldn’t find any of those I started buying Rudy Van Gelder remasters (there are two kinds, the albums he did for Blue Note are called the “Rudy Van Gelder Edition” and for other labels “Rudy Van Gelder Remasters”) of which there are probably hundreds. I haven’t been able to find a comprehensive list anywhere but at least one inlay tray pictures several dozen different titles. My obsession with collecting these CDs probably warrants its own entry but suffice it to say my jazz collection has grown quite a bit over the last few years. This CD however does not seem to have an RVG remastered edition, which I found odd considering it was released around the time those started to be produced. The CD itself is a 24 bit remaster but was done by Ron McMaster.