The Harold Martin & Larry Young Jr. 45
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Breck (aka Soul Hawk), Guy Sterling, Michael Goncharko, Larry Young III, Rev. Doris Glaspy, Georgianna Williams, June Lockett, Ross Anderson, Tom Dice & Gerry the Soundman.
...and of course to the beautiful soul that is Mr. Harold Martin & all of the original band members: A very big thank you.
With thanks & rest peacefully : Mr. Larry Young Jr. (also known as Khalid Yasin and born as Larry John McCoy)
The original London House 45
Wild Fire - 'Something that acts quickly and intensely. 'A luminosity that appears over swamps or marshes at night'. Online literal dictionary references maybe, but they sure seem to be evocative of the sounds on our latest reissue 45. It is with pride & humility that Sticky Records presents you with this spiritual, optimistic & beautiful recording.
At Sticky Records we see our reissues as musical preservations and we have previously issued recordings that we have found on vinyl over the years but this project was slightly different. We are not the greatest contributors to the world of musical forums, blogs and social networking sites but of course like everyone else we look and listen and a fair few years ago we found a listing with a sound file of this track in the record reviews section on Waxidermy.
Something that really sparked my imagination was the reference on the original 45 that stated "from the Concerto Black Fantasy". There weren't any citation's for this online, but could there really be a tape somewhere with a whole concerto from this session? Sticky Records first ever LP reissue? - just a maybe ?
So, not only were we unable to locate the full works, but Harold was also not in possession of any tapes or masters from this particular session. Ben Tate had long deceased, but Harold was very keen for this project to go ahead and witness the Wild Fire ignited again.
So back to the original forum posting..... Breck (aka Soul_Hawk) an American record collector, enthusiast, DJ and all round amiable character came to the rescue with a transfer from the original vinyl 45 : maybe the only known original 45 in existence?.. and it is with his help that we were able to minimally remaster and make this recording available again. At this juncture it needs mentioning that this, like many reissue projects, has been remastered from the original vinyl and whilst every effort was taken to make this as clean as it could possibly be, we decided not to alter the recording in any way other than to de-noise by removing any present clicks & pops.
So please be aware that our reissue 45 is not audio perfection (just musically!) but is by far the cleanest copy you are likely to ever find. We tinkered with compression, filters and further noise reduction but they all took away some of the original warmth or drive, so in this case less was definitely more. Nicely pressed on virgin 45 vinyl.
Then, we began the initial and as it turned out, very long process of tracking down the respective parties with a view to eventual licensing. My thank you's at the footers of these pages are of course, always sincere but especially so on this occasion as without their very kind assistance this project would have never come to fruition, (and some dogged determination on our part).
Larry Young Jr. had sadly passed away in 1978 but we eventually located and had the pleasure of liaising with Harold Martin. Memories from the original session are at best scant & very vague, we are unable to provide you with a list of band musicians and we are also unable to confirm the existence of the extended session 'Black Fantasy', in fact it probably never materialised into a recorded session - Harold definitely does not remember any such gathering. Not the first time a small independent release had ideas and plans past it's initial session. The named producer and publishing contact Ben Tate had obviously chosen to quote the ideology of an LPs work on the original label.
We generally don't over review our released music, it's for the listener to dictate its qualities, we are obviously devoted to what we release and we hope you are too. Similarly we don't take on the tasks of lengthy artist biographies' (unless available information is a rarity) and in this instance where we are dealing with a musical titan of the magnitude such as Larry Young, I shall leave this to the various and excellent musical sources out there. Please do read his about his life, especially the moving anecdotal references to Larry Young Jr's personal life. I even think Young's work here & how he lyrically dominates but with a sensitive understatement & soulful experimentalism may be too original for me to try and safely categorise.
For an extensive & touching biography please see Guy Sterling's marvelous contribution HERE
For the official web site of Larry Young please see HERE which includes a very detailed biography HERE
For the Larry Young Jazz Foundation please see HERE
For Larry Young's Son's new venture, 'Larry Young's Jazz Club & Lounge' please see HERE
Later on in the proceedings we managed to locate and had the pleasure to talk with Larry Young's Son, namely Larry Young III & I recommend you view his website dedicated to his father's music. Good luck with the Newark NJ Jazz Club venture.
As for Mr. Martin the pianist, he has been involved in music for most of his life, he was an organist and choir Director at Bethel Presbyterian Church for many years. He received his bachelor of music degree from Harvard University and masters degree in music from Jersey City State college and studied composition at the Juilliard School of Music. He has performed in the Carnegie Recital Hall as well as The Apollo Theatre in New York and Symphony Hall in Newark. I've also heard touching stories from Michael Goncharko who at one point managed Harold Martin. " I think it all started in the early 70's, my Newark apartment was near his and I found myself sitting outside of his door listening to him practice".
Your help and contribution....we'd really love to hear from you even if just to say you have a copy of the original 45. Especially if you have information relating to the session or maybe you were you one of the musicians, if so please do get in touch. (For example, we would very much like to be able to update this page with who provided that driving Conga line). We have even had a bit of difficulty in placing all the instruments used - feel free to drop us an email to suggest the type of keyboard Larry played here, is that a Soprano Sax we hear, a Melodica even? or maybe it's Larry's management of the stops on the organ which produces those ethereal, drifting effects....
We would also love to hear from you if you have any other information relating to another possible recording from Harold & Larry, apparently recorded around the same time entitled 'Massawa Uhuru", maybe ala the mysterious Black Fantasy Concerto - never recorded.
Thanks for reading this far. There's an incendiary 45 device for you on the front page! Wild Fire.
The music blew me away. I presume, like many who had seen the listing, tried to track an original copy of the 45 down - seemingly impossible.