PRESTIGE WEEK, BONUS ROUND



Walt Dickerson: Death and Taxes
From This is Walt Dickerson (New Jazz, 1961).

Bill Mason: Stone
From Gettin’ Off (Eastbound, 1972)

When Bob Weinstock first started a record label in the late 1940s, he didn’t call it Prestige: he called it New Jazz. After changing the name over, he eventually brought back New Jazz as an off-shoot label (which would produce some high-demand jazz albums in its time). This Is Walt Dickerson is one of the better titles I’ve heard – Dickerson’s such a master of the vibes on every shimmering track.

My man Cool Chris describes Eastbound as “the rich man’s Prestige” since the personnel that recorded on both labels were often shared. This Bill Mason LP, shares several of the same personnel as Rusty Bryant’s Fire Eater, including Idris Muhammed, Wilbert Longmire and Mason himself. The songs sound remarkably similar too – “Stone” could just as easily been on a Prestige album. The difference is that Eastbound titles usually cost up to twice as much as Prestige LPs – not because of quality, but they’re more obscure. And that’s about the only reason. (Just to be clear about this, I’m largely underwhelmed by Eastbound’s LPs – though their 45s are a different story altogether – with the exception of Donald Austin’s funkadocious Crazy Legs.)
Hope everyone enjoyed Prestige week. Somewhere down the line, I’d like to do the same thing for Blue Note. If anyone wants to collabo on that, holler.

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