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Time Out Ten

If I Were A Bell
From the album 'Relaxin' with the Miles Davis Quintet

For this item you need to be able to stop for ten minutes.


We are often moving on to the next job, the next meeting, scrolling down social media, taking the next call ......'Time Out Ten' asks you to stop for ten minutes and listen to a particular piece of music; to find a time when you won't be interrupted, when you can put in/on your headphones and chill out. Ten minutes isn't long.

Relaxin With The Miles Davis Quintet b.jpg

Ask me how do I feel
Little me with my quiet upbringing
Well, sir, all I can say
Is if I were a gate, I'd be swinging
And if I were a watch
I'd start popping my springs
Or if I were a bell
I'd go ding dong, ding dong ding

The title Relaxin' of this 1958 album from the Miles Davis Quintet is an invitation to take a few minutes out with Miles Davis (trumpet); John Coltrane (tenor saxophone); Red Garland (piano); Paul Chambers (bass) and  Philly Joe Jones (drums) as they play If I Were A Bell from the show Guys and Dolls.

The iconic cover illustration for the album was by Esmond Edwards. Edwards was primarily a photographer who had several roles at Prestige Records and his photographs were used for a number of the label's albums. He was one of the first African-American executives in the recording industry. His story is here starting with the introduction: "Esmond Edwards clearly remembers the day he took his first professional photograph. It was January 27, 1956, a cold winter Friday in New Jersey. He did not know it at the time, but he would frequent the house he was visiting many times in the following years. The address was 25 Prospect Avenue in Hackensack, and it belonged to Louis Van Gelder and Sarah Cohen. Their son Rudy operated a studio in his parents’ house, building a control room next to the living room, which was used as a performing area for jazz musicians. Crossing the bridge from NYC, they flocked to the modest establishment to record their albums in a single day of recording. On that faithful (?fateful) day, 29-years old Edwards, who had the aspiration of becoming a jazz photographer, visited the studio with a friend. He tells the story: “Arthur Taylor was a neighbor of mine. As kids, we lived in adjacent blocks, and I knew he was a drummer.  One day I said, ‘Hey, A.T.  I’d like to see a jazz session and take pictures.'”  The session he attended was headed by alto sax player Jackie McLean, intended for a release on the Prestige jazz label: “I took some pictures, took them around to the office and showed them to Bob. He liked them and chose one to use on the cover.” The resulting album was Lights Out, the first to be graced with a photograph of Esmond Edwards on its cover......"

"While Edwards tended to avoid the cliché of jazz photography that focused on musicians playing their instruments, and instead favored placing the musicians in other settings, he sometimes had to use that cliché: “I had a problem with  the horn-in-mouth type of pictures, even though sometimes that was the only way to go.”

It will take more than our time out ten minutes to read Edwards' story, but the link above shows pictures of his photographs that illustrate the point, including this one of John Coltrane:

Coltrane album.jpg

You might return to Esmond Edwards' story later, but in the meanwhile here is If I Were A Bell for that ten minute break:

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