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STLJN Audio Archive: John Hicks - Hells Bells

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For today's Audio Archive post, we feature Hells Bells, the very first session recorded as a bandleader by the late pianist and former St. Louisan John Hicks. Hells Bells—spelled without the apostrophe on the album cover (pictured), but sometimes with it in other references—was recorded in 1975 for trumpeter Charles Tolliver's Strata-East label, though it wasn't issued until 1978.

There was a CD reissue of the album in 2000 by the Charly label, which now is out of print. As of this writing, the one new copy that could be found for sale online has an asking price of $90, with used copies commanding nearly $30.

Hells Bells is a trio session featuring Hicks with Clint Houston (bass) and Cliff Barbaro (drums), performing four tracks: “Hell's Bells," “Avojca," “Yemenja," and “Angie's Tune." The .mp3 rip of the album linked to here today is from the blog Freedom Records; to download a free copy, go here and click the link labeled “Mediafire MP3," which will take you to, you guessed it, a Mediafire page with the download.

The StLJN Audio Archive links only to recordings that are out-of-print or that never have been commercially available. The purpose of the Audio Archive is to encourage discussion, appreciation and knowledge of St. Louis jazz artists, and we urge you to support them (or their estates) by purchasing authorized recordings and merchandise and, whenever possible, attending live performances.

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved.

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