Ahmad Jamal Interview (Part 1 of 1) [Listen 34:00] – Reading The Stop Signs With Ahmad Jamal S03 Ep09
Special Guest: Ahmad Jamal - is without question one of the greatest names in jazz living today. His lyrical and minimal approach combined with his otherworldly sense of timing and innovative use of silence set him apart in the jazz world (or as he prefers to call it - American classical music). Ironically, it was a left-field hit in 1958 with “Ahmad Jamal at the Pershing: But Not for Me”; a live album that reached number three in the pop charts which set his career spinning in diverse and broad directions. First, by making some of the hardcore jazz critics question his loyalty to the jazz world because charting in the pop charts was frowned upon and secondly, and more importantly, it changed his career because the album grabbed the attention of a trumpet player by the name of Miles Davis. In fact, Davis openly talked about borrowing heavily from Jamal and his unique use of silence within his playing. He often covered Jamal's repertoire like “New Rumba” and standards from his set like “Autumn Leaves” and “But Not For Me.” Jamal’s career has alway remained strong and consistent. In fact, at age 81 he has released his strongest albums in years, harking back to his time with Chess and Impulse Records. His latest album, Blue Moon, won second place for the best jazz album of 2012 in the readers' poll choice for DownBeat magazine and is widely considered a modern masterpiece.
12 cheap and easy tips to instantly improve your record collection
1. Putting dust cover jackets on your records
Nothing says I care more than a guy who has his collection all wrapped up.* Taking records in and out from storage can be quite harsh to a collection when not stored in plastic. The plastic record cover sleeves avoid cover damage, the spread of any mildew or dust and allow you to try tip 3.
2. Protective paper or plastic record covers
This is the best way to avoid scuffs on the outside and/or worse undesirables from getting into the grooves. You will often come across cheap records where the protective inner cover is missing. My advice is inspect before buying, consider cleaning it before exposing it to your turntable, and invest a buck to protect that record. I know you may have got it for a buck, but you need to consider your record needle as well.
3. Combine tip 1 and 2
Store the vinyl record outside the dust cover but still inside the vinyl covers – Ever noticed the first place to have damage is the bottom or sides of the cardboard record cover. When your record moves, the sharp hard vinyl record moves inside the cardboard sleeve, cutting into it. I avoid this by storing the vinyl records and cardboard sleeves separately. I still put the sleeve, record, and any artwork that the record has inside the dust cover jacket side by side. I still have the record sleeve covers protecting the vinyl from dust and finger prints.
4. Store them vertically
The more severe the angle, the more damage you are causing to your records. Like most everything else in life, time is not your friend, and storing your records on an angle will eventually cause your records to warp. Laying them flat like a pizza is also damaging and can also cause warps.
5. Don’t over crowd your shelf
I know I’ve done it in the past. You are trying to squeeze that record in an overcrowded space and you end up bending the cardboard. The best way to avoid this as well as avoiding putting a record imprint from another record into on the record cover.
6. Buy yourself a nice Cleaning brush
I always clean the surface of a record before I drop the needle. Another tip is to be sure not to touch the cleaning brush bristles (no matter how soft and luxurious they feel) otherwise, you risk transferring the oils from your fingers onto your records.
7. Get yourself a nice tiny brush to clean off the dust that eventually builds up on the needle
Most high end stereo stores will have one of these specific brushes for cheap.
8. Buy needle cleaning fluid to clean your record needle
No matter how clean or new the records you play you will accumulate grime and dirt where the needle runs along the record. The liquid doesn't cost much and will probably last you the rest of your life. One note, be sure that you only clean the tip and not touch any of the movements further up by the cartridge body itself.
9. Keep records out of direct light
I only say this because I had it happen to me. It sounds obvious, but it can happen to you too. I had a record pulled out getting ready to put it on next; carelessly I set it in direct light by a window thinking that I wouldn't be long. I got distracted and when I came back to the record was a warp in a ripple effect. Sunlight can also cause fading, dulling the records covers as well.
10. Even moisture and Temperature
Garages and sheds are far from ideal and should be avoided whenever possible. Swings in temperature can cause your records to become warped (especially in high heat). Moisture is another thing altogether. Mildew will spread through records like mold in a loaf of bread. Plastic is only a partial solution to quarantining these bad boys the best solution is take it as a learning lesson and throw them out. Cleaning is questionable at best and in my opinion, not worth the risk.
11. Dust and Smoke Free
When I’m buying used records, nothing sets off the alarm more than seeing dust on a record or noticing that the record has an odour. Dust and smoke particles act like sandpaper on your turntable, damaging your needles and potentially all the records after it. Quarantine that puppy and say goodbye..
12. Record Cleaners
To be honest, I haven’t actually tried all types or configurations of record cleaners that are out in the market today. Personally, I’ve had mixed results with cleaning records and recommend it with a caution. When dealing with an obviously dirty record, cleaning really helps; with new records the verdict is still out. If you want to try cleaning a record to test it yourself I have a cheap alternative that you can try. All you need is a broken record player, a tooth brush, Nitty Gritty Cleaner (buy a small amount at first) and a hand-held modified shop vac. You place your dirty record on the table put the Nitty Gritty Cleaner on it, clean the surface and inside the groove with the tooth brush then carefully vacuum the liquid. Place the record on a clean surface to dry then repeat for side two when side one is dry. The downside to cleaning records is that I find the process slow, awkward to dry and that multiple cleanings is required in order for optimal results. That said, official record cleaners seem to be the best and if I had one I would probably clean more often. You also need to put a piece of soft rubber on the hand vac to avoid causing surface scratches.
*Practice safe record collecting and help stop the spread of bad moldy record covers and other RDP’s. (Record Damaging Practices)
I would love to hear back from you about your experience with record cleaning and tips of your own. Please feel free to leave a comment.