April 16th, 2011
Back in 2007, a post was entered here featuring a rare West German “green-arrow” pressing of Rush Moving Pictures on the Mercury label (click here for more details). As a follow-up of sorts, I recently obtained a similar West German pressing of Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers Night in Tunisia that I feel is worthy of home-page recognition. This CD was released on the Philips label under catalog number 800 064-2 and bears a “blue-arrow” design obviously made in the same vein as the aforementioned Rush CD on Mercury (both labels were distributed by Phonogram in the 1980s).
The green arrow represents the earliest Mercury CD label design, while the blue arrow is one the earliest used for CDs on the Philips label (the combination of a light blue coating with royal blue text was used for the earliest classical CDs released by Philips). Both arrow designs were limited to a handful of titles on their respective lables and were replaced early on. As such, CDs bearing these early designs are rare and highly sought after. Regarding the Blakey blue-arrow disc, it should be made clear that the featured album is the 1979 release, Night in Tunisia, not one the earlier albums entitled A Night in Tunisia.
Although the Night in Tunisia CD does not explicitly state that it was made in West Germany, it has all the tell-tale signs of an early Polygram pressing (the accompanying inserts do state “Printed in West Germany”). One distinguishing feature is the matrix code — “800064 2 01”. The grouping of catalog number characters in one block and with no dash between this block and the CD format code “2” are typical of the earliest West German Polygram pressings. To be clear, note the arrangement “800064 2”. Later West German pressings of Night in Tunisia, bearing a different label design than the blue-arrow, would likely have the matrix code in the form “800 064-2 0X”, where X would be greater than 1, another indiciator of a later pressing. So a later pressing might have as the matrix code “800 064-2 02” or “800 064-2 03”.
Shown below are pictures of the inserts found with the blue-arrow Night in Tunisia CD and a picture of the disc itself.
The cover for the West German blue-arrow pressing of Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers Night in Tunisia (Philips, catalog number 800 064-2).
The back cover of the booklet for the West German blue-arrow pressing of Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers Night in Tunisia (Philips, catalog number 800 064-2). Pictured from left to right are ensemble members James Williams (piano), David Schnitter (tenor sax), Robert Watson (alto sax), Art Blakey (drums), Dennis Irwin (bass), and Valery Ponomarev (trumpet).
The back insert for the West German blue-arrow pressing of Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers Night in Tunisia (Philips, catalog number 800 064-2). Note that it states “Printed in West Germany” along the bottom.
The West German blue-arrow pressing of Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers Night in Tunisia (Philips, catalog number 800 064-2). The matrix code is “800064 2 01”. Three spelling errors are noted. Tunisia is twice misspelled “Tunesia”, and alto next to Robert Watson in the personnel list is misspelled “also”. This label design is very similar to the early green-arrow design assigned to the Mercury label.