forgotten music: Carmell Jones

Business Meetin’, Carmell Jones, 1962 LP, Pacific Jazz black label, # 16602 – out of print

Mosiac Select #2, Carmell Jones – B2-80404, 2003, limited to 5000 numbered sets – out of print

Business Meetin’ is one of the few records that the great trumpeter Carmell Jones ever cut in the US, and a searing bit of LA soul jazz that features a number of other great players like Frank Strazzeri, Harold Land, Don Rafel, and Leroy Vinnegar. Gerald Wilson arranged some of the tracks, which have Carmell playing with a larger sax section backing – and the rest of the tracks are by a smaller quintet. Titles include the album title “Business Meeting”, “Hip Trolley”, “Suearl”, “That’s Good”, and “Toddler”. Nice stuff, and very very tasty!

This quote is from a customer review of the Mosaic Select: Carmell Jones set collecting all of Carmell’s dates as a leader and sideman for Pacific Jazz in the early 1961-63:

“After listening to jazz all my life, it is amazing to listen to a reissue from many decades ago and realize I’m listening to a major jazz artist who is totally unknown to me.”

I was in the same boat. I’ve been listening to jazz since about 1957, and though I’m certain I’d heard Carmell Jones, I wasn’t aware of him. When I bought the Mosiac Select set [Mosiac Select #2, B2-80404, 2003, limited to 5000 numbered sets – out of print] I was amazed, happily so.

Since ordering the set (when it came out, I’ve been a long-time Mosiac customer and fan) I’ve played it countelss times, and never get tired of it. The set contains all the music on Business Meetin’ and all of the rest of the Jones’ Pacific Jazz output from 1961-1963.

This UTube thingie will give you a good taste.

There are listings for the Mosiac set on Amazon and eBay, if you are so inclined. If you are a jazz lover and can find this set at an affordible-for-you price, BUY IT! Why? Because, without question, Carmell Jones is a great jazz trumpeter – perhaps in the league with Clifford Brown or Lee Morgan. Yes, I think he’s that good.

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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8 Responses to forgotten music: Carmell Jones

  1. Todd Mason says:

    Comparable to Brown, better than Morgan (and because he was working with Richard Bock in the ’60s, usually better-recorded than Brown was), at least as good as Davis at his best…and I hadn’t ever stumbled over his work till a professor of jazz history (my not quite relaxation course that quarter–I had to lecture on the Toshiko Akikoshi/Lew Tabackin Big Band for part of one class) pulled out one of his Pacific Jazz recordings and put it on for us. I wonder how ridiculous the prices on this box have gotten, and if I want to know.

  2. Richard says:

    I agree with your assessment, all up. On A-zon, new at about $87, used from about $35. Certainly worth the latter price if in good condition. That must have been a great class!

  3. Art Scott says:

    Wondered what happened to him, as he vanished from the jazz map after a few recordings. Wikipedia tells the tale; unlike Brownie & Lee Morgan, he didn’t die young, he just went to Europe. Johnny Coles is another largely forgotten trumpet player from that era. A favorite of Gil Evans.

  4. Richard says:

    Art – A lot of artists were going to Europe in those days, where there was much greater appreciation for the music and more lax laws about drugs. Jones was just one of those who came back only briefly.

    My catalog shows one Coles CD, but I don’t see it on the shelf. Frustrating!

  5. Todd Mason says:

    And thanks again for keeping me apprised of the Mosaics and other reissues!

  6. I feel sorry for these forgotten artists. They went to Europe, didn’t record their work, and didn’t pay Social Security. Then they got old, didn’t have any Social Security benefits (since they didn’t pay into the system) and died poor and obscure.

  7. Richard says:

    No new ones on the horizon, Todd.

    George, though it’s not like SocSec benefits will support a person these days, it does help, though. I read somewhere that most of the recordings done in Europe didn’t involve royalty contracts.

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