Tape Project Albums > Clifford Brown Memorial

Our first Blue Note!

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I've always loved the 1500 series Blue Notes. I tried to get these sessions on the 10" Toshiba/EMI reissues but never did.
This is real time machine stuff. It's just about impossible not to be transported to that little studio in Hackensack NJ where so much jazz history happened.
And just like all the other TP releases, it's comforting to know that I'm hearing everything that's on that master tape for the first time (even the non-musical noises).

I have to hand it to Doc for the best print of that Alfred Lion photograph I've seen. Really nice work there!
Whenever I see a real closeup of his I remember the stories I've heard of how Alfred would have the run of some of the sessions while these recording were being made. Some funny stuff. But man,.. talk about some great shots.

Another excellent choice! Thanks again.

Thanks Steve. Just to clarify, that particular photo is credited not to Alfred Lion, but rather to his Blue Note partner Francis Wolff. Not positive about this but I think they used a Leica. I gave Paul a book on the history of Blue Note that discusses the session photography a little and it seems like that was mentioned.

That was one of the more difficult album covers to reproduce right. At the time I bought it there was just one available and I had to pay $50 for a pretty worn cover (last week there were several on ebay for cheap, sigh). The original cover is glossy paper and there was ring wear on my copy that took off the gloss, so the black background came out very uneven in the photo and took a lot of work to even out without losing the subtle detail like the bit of light hitting the wall behind Brownie's head and below the trumpet. Techniques in the original print processing like the dodging on the trumpet are sometimes changed in terms of contrast in the digital capture and it can take some wrestling to get it back where it was on the original.

I also try to capture the subtle tones of the original paper under the original ink, and at the same time get rid of as much uneven age yellowing as possible. I didn't think about it when I started doing this, but the different paper colors used on all of these different album covers is an important part of the original look. Takes a lot of time and paper running test prints and checking them under different lighting. Luckily my printing setup at the new office gets lots of daylight. It's definitely not as easy as clicking "Auto levels" or "Auto color" in Photoshop (though having done this for a while now I can say that a lot of CD reissue covers look to have been done that way compared to the original covers!)

Oops,.. yes, I shoulda said Francis Wolf!
I saw a discussion of Blue Note at Monterey two years ago with Michael Cuscuna, Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Lovano and hosted by Ashley Kahn. I wish I'd recorded it cuz it was brimming with great stories and insight.
In the gallery, they had lots of larges prints from Blue Note. Man,.. I could've spent a fortune in there!

Hey guys,

As a photo nut, I'd like to weigh in on something regarding Francis Wolff's images. They are simply stunning, and though I am a huge Leica fan, owning both the newest digital M9 rangefinder and a film M6, I'm pretty sure the Blue Note artist photographs he made were not done with one. I recall reading an interview with Michael Cuscana that Mr. Wolff used a 6X6 medium format camera to take these breathtaking images (a Rolleiflex, I believe) which makes sense due to their wonderful depth of field and sharpness.

I guess that means some of you have received the Clifford Brown tape? I can't wait!


I think you are right about the camera, Kip. I do recall reading that Francis Wolff used to piss some of the artists off when he would get right in their faces with the camera when they were actually recording.

Here's a link to the original photo that was cropped for use on the album cover, for sale at Mosaic Records-


archival pigment inks on acid free rag paper - I can relate...


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