Pure Pleasure/ Strata-East - SES 19754- 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl
Limited Edition - Mastered by Ray Staff at Air London
AAA 100% Analogue - Pressed at Pallas Germany
AAA 100% Analogue This LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only, from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head 20 Years pure Analogue
Billy Parker is something of a ghost musician. He is understood to have been a part of the New York scene in the late sixties/early seventies yet his name is very rarely credited and this is the only album he is known to have recorded. Yet it features some very big names of the time;singer Dee Dee Bridgewater and husband Cecil, his brother Ronald on tenor, another Cecil - this time McBee- on bass plus pianist Donald Smith. Several of whom feature on major releases of the era. The music is spiritual or soul jazz, which on this occasion means improvisation by everyone all the time. When there's a trumpet solo the rest of the band carry on with pretty much the same intensity with them. There are vocal intro tracks to both sides and Dee Dee's voice is particularly soulful on Get With It, which has a touch of The Creator Has A Master Plan. Parker was a powerful musician with great feel, it's a pity that more of his work can't be found. JK HIFI Choice 4/5 Sound
Incredibly important, stone cold classic Deep Jazz/Soul masterpiece from Strata East 1975
Essential follow up to The Descendants Of Mike & Phoebe: A Spirit Speaks
This recording comes from original tapes, expertly mastered by Ray Staff and pressed on the best Pallas 180 gm Vinyl.
Miss at your peril!!!
THE HISTORY of this recording.
Most of the musicians who gathered to record this fantastic spiritual jazz record for the Strata-East label on May 24th, 1974 had crossed each other's paths in various musical pairings over the preceding few years. Husband and wife team Dee Dee Bridgewater (vocals) and Cecil Bridgewater (trumpet) had been working together on albums like Frank Foster's "Loud Minority", and Roy Ayers' "Coffy" and "Virgo Red". Ten weeks before the "Freedom Of Speech" session, the couple had been joined in Tokyo by Cecil's brother Ronald Bridgewater (tenor saxaphone) to record Dee Dee's debut album, the beautiful "Afro Blue". Also in the studio on May 24th, 1974 was Donald Smith, (piano, vocals), fresh from recording on his older brother Lonnie Liston Smith's "Cosmic Funk" - on which Ronald Bridgewater had also played percussion. Cecil McBee (bass) was also there - just two weeks before, he'd completed his own Strata East date "Mutima", and in February he'd played on Mtume's "Rebirth Cycle" - with both albums also featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater on vocals. He'd also played on Lonnie Liston Smith's "Astral Travelling".
So 1974 was a huge year for all five of these people. Donald Smith and Cecil McBee were six months away from recording on Lonnie Liston Smith's massive "Expansions", with McBee fitting in a few Pharoah Sanders albums in between. AND THEN, THE MYSTERY ... So with all this fervent activity, the question has to be asked ...Who was Billy Earl Parker Jr (drums), the leader of this session ??
Billy Parker remains unlisted as a musician on all major jazz sites. His only other recording appears to be as a percussionist on Charles Tolliver's "Impact" in 1975. Then there's nothing.
Finally, by backtracking one of those Zoom info pages, I found a summary of a "SUNY Rockland Community College" 2002 press release that no longer exists :
"Billy Parker's Fourth World Legacy Concert ... The concert, Billy Parker's Fourth World Legacy, is the eighth annual tribute honouring the late percussionist and RCC educator, Billy Parker. A long-time Rockland County resident, Parker began his affiliation with RCC in 1987, building its jazz program and maintaining his life-long tradition of teaching and inspiring others. A lifelong student himself, Parker was near completion of his doctorate in music education at New York University when he died in 1996.
But then people began to read this blog post, and in the comments, Aaron Fuller said :
"Billy Parker was my uncle. He was an incredibly talented, smart, and kind man. I'm very happy to see that folks are still enjoying his masterpiece. Just to give you a bit more information about him... He was born and raised in Buffalo, NY and then attended college at Michigan State University. He met my aunt in Lansing. They lived in NY and toured in Europe for quite a while. Sometime later they relocated to Nyack, NY and he ended up on the faculty of the community college while he pursued advanced degrees from NYU. He was an Ellington scholar. Although his name isn't well-known even among the most avid jazz fans, I think that if you were to talk to some of the great NY musicians that were around in the late 60s and 70s you would find that most knew him. He also had a huge impact as a music educator and I have no doubt that his former students are all over the place, continuing to put his love of the art into practice."
Billy Parker, drums
Cecil McBee, bass, violin
Donald Smith, piano, vocal
Dee Dee Bridgewater, vocal
Ronald Bridgewater, tenor saxophone
Cecil Bridgewater, trumpet
1. Dance Of The Little Children
2. Gemini's Lullabye
1. Get With It
2. Freedom Of Speech
Produced by Fourth World Productions
Recording engineer: Ron Carran
Mixing engineer: Randy Adler
Recorded May 24, 1974
Pure Pleasure Records
The Restoration of the Art of Sound
180g Vinyl Mastered From The Best Available Sources
At the beginning of the 90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the situation was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and, of course, Pure Pleasure all maintained a mutual, unwritten ethical code: we would only use analogue tapes to manufacture records. During the course of the present vinyl hype, many others have jumped on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source to master from: CDs, LPs, digital files, MP3s – or employed existent tools from the 80s and 90s for manufacturing.
A digital delay is gladly used when cutting a lacquer disc because tape machines with an analogue delay have become quite rare and are therefore expensive. When cutting the lacquer, the audio signal is delayed by one LP revolution against the signal, which controls the cutter head, and for this a digital delay is very often employed. Of course, the resultant sound signal is completely digital and thus only as good as this delay.
We should like to emphasize that Pure Pleasure Records on principle only uses the original master tape as the basis for the entirely analogue cutting of lacquer discs. In addition, the pressing tool is newly manufactured as a matter of principle. We only employ existing tools for manufacturing if an improved result is not forthcoming, e.g. the title Elvis Is Back, which was mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray, or several titles from our Philips Classics series, which in any case Willem Makkee cut from the original masters at the Emil Berliner Studios in the 90s. It goes without saying that we only used the mother and that new tools were made for our production. To put it in a nutshell: we can ensure you that our releases are free from any kind of digital effects and that the lacquer discs are newly cut.
There really is nothing quite like it. It’s the touch, the feel, you have to stop and stare, the cover, the real thing, even the smell.
Its tangible, you can feel it, see it, study it, muse/dream over it, it’s real, someone has spent hours and hours over its construction and presentation. Pure Pleasure Records is just that, Pure Pleasure and that is what it has set out to be.
The music and the physical record. Something to keep, treasure, admire and above all enjoy.Of course with vinyl it’s not just a record, it’s the cover, the sleeve notes, you are holding a unique package, produced by craftsmen.
Pure Pleasure Records bring you vinyl albums of quality Jazz - Blues - R+B - Soul - Funk, remastered by some of the best engineers in the world and pressed on 180 gram audiophile vinyl at what is probably the best pressing plant in Europe
Pure Analogue Audiophile Mastering - Plated and Pressed at Pallas in Germany on 180 Gram Virgin Vnyl - Released in Limited Quantities
60 Years Pallas
Audiophile Vinyl - Made in Germany For over 60 years the family business in the third generation of the special personal service and quality "Made by Pallas" is known worldwide. Our custom PVC formulation produces consistently high pressing quality with the lowest surface noise in the industry. Our PVC complies with 2015 European environmental standards and does not contain toxic materials such as Lead, Cadmium or Toluene. Our vinyl is both audiophile and eco-grade!