Since the main character in this comic strip is a record store owner, I feel like I should make a brief mention of Record Store Day 2012 which was this past Saturday. Record Store Day is one day a year when record labels and artists release recordings in very limited numbers to promote independent record stores. The last couple of years these have primarily been vinyl releases. I see fewer CD releases than in years past.
Since these records are released in limited numbers, you really have to be an early bird if there’s something you really want. My local record store opened at 9 am and I got there at 8:30. The line was so long, I didn’t even get in the store until 10:00. And I don’t think I got close enough to touch a record until 10:15. I’m amazed by how much money some people spend on this day. There’s always a few guys buying a stack of records a foot high (in case you don’t know, new vinyl records ain’t cheap. $20-$25 dollars is about par for a single LP). The records I picked up were a 45 rpm single by Arctic Monkeys, a Dave Brubeck reissue, a Ricky Scaggs LP, and the soundtracks to Empire Records and Pretty In Pink (That last one requested by my wife. To be honest, I’ve never even seen the movie).
All good finds, but the one I was really after was the Brubeck LP. This one was recorded by Brubeck’s octet, not his more famous quartet that
recorded the jazz standard Take Five (although that song’s author does play alto sax on this one). It’s called Distinctive Rhythm Instrumentals and it’s pressed on 10″ red vinyl by Fantasy Records. I believe this album was originally released in the early or mid 1950′s and it’s a real winner.
The album features some interesting Picasso-esque artwork on the cover. Many jazz album covers of this era reflect the sensibilities of the artworld in America at the time, which was mainly Abstract Expressionism. Brubeck especially was interested in modern art and painting. His quartet’s album Time Further Out features a painting by Joan Miro. The compositions on the album are Brubeck’s musical interpretations of Miro’s painting. Sounds a little hokey to me, but I’m a simpleton.