Ken Micallef's Final Installment of His Interview With Michael Fremer (On Fire Here)

This is the final installment of Ken Micallef's interview with me. He's a really great editor. Impeccable timing. Makes sense. He's a drummer. Plus I was on fire.

I also made a stupid mistake: I confused Errol Garner's Concert by the Sea photo with the photo on the cover of another Columbia LP, shown below. The story is this: my old friend from WBCN Charles Laquidara asked if anyone had this particular performance of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No.2—an early LP— and if so could they digitize and send since it's never been on a CD. It had sentimental value for him. So I bought a copy and digitized. I wrote about it in Stereophile and soon received an email from a guy who said the people shown on the cover, who just happened to be walking by, were his parents! It turned into a great secondary "Analog Corner" story (eventually all of the columns will be posted here).

MicallefK's picture

Away we go.......

Jim Tavegia's picture

And, the lp sound in the background was the best. Thanks.

Roy Martin's picture

1-In 1966 the MJQ played a concert at Harpur College. As I was on the entertainment committee it was my job to shepherd them around campus until it was time for their soundcheck. John Lewis immediately went off to our music department and commandeered a piano. So I asked the other three what they would like to do and they told me. Let's just say they were enthusiastic vipers!

2-In 1982 I was in Venice with my wife and another couple. The weather was bad on the day we arrived so I was the only one who wanted to go out exploring. I had brought along several cassettes for my Walkman one of which was the MJQ's "No Sun in Venice." That solo walk around the cloudy city listening to the MJQ was one of my most memorable musical memories.

3-In the early '80s I was able to see them at the Blue Note in New York from seats that basically were about five feet from Milt Jackson's vibes. No recording does that sound justice. Simply sublime.

Michael Fremer's picture
My roommate in that Commonwealth Ave. apt. sent me this (I assume MJQ played Cornell within a day or two of your show): "When MJQ came to CU, I was the guy who did the poster. Somehow, I got an emergency phone call from some office that they were stranded at the airport. Would I rescue them? I drove out in my old black humpbacked Volvo and came back with John Lewis shotgun and Milt Jackson crammed in the back, a pretty fun ride (except maybe for Jackson). They were the only ones there...."
garyalex's picture

Thank you so much for the Modern Jazz Quartet discussion. I've also got most of their albums. I started listening to the MJQ in my teens and have never stopped. I know that Ken Micallef doesn't agree as he referred to the music of the MJQ as "cocktail jazz" in another YT video.

MicallefK's picture

Michael has made me rethink my primitive position re MJQ.

garyalex's picture

I'm happy to hear that, Ken. I think their music is worth your time and attention. If nothing else just listen to the way Connie Kay and Percy Heath play together. These guys could really swing and still sound elegant. Not stuffy or boring. Just listen to "For Ellington".

John Atkinson's picture
Mikey mentions in the video people claiming that Decca and London pressings of the same recording sound different. Back in the mid-1970s I visited Decca's pressing plant in Mitcham, south London, and watched records being pressed. Some had Decca labels, the others had London labels, but both were being pressed from the same stamper!

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

fetuso's picture

I bought all the Miles Mofi reissues on sacd. I would have preferred vinyl, but I did not want them on 45's due to the extra expense and flipping. The sacd's sound fantastic.

abelb1's picture

I really enjoyed this video and Ken's other videos in the series. With Michael's past videos in mind it strikes me that the ones set at home discussing a theme seem to be my favorites! I look forward to many more, especially with the current situation where many of us may be spending more of our time at home. Cheers,

avanti1960's picture

about the sound quality of the lacquer of the night in tunisia LP and especially relating your favorite records to memorable times in your life. music makes for memories and helps bring us back to those times and this is the essence of the value of recorded music. this seems to be lost in today's self involved world and i feel sad for what they are missing out on.
peace and all the best
Chicago Suburbs

John G's picture

Enjoyed the 3 series interview. Just ordered the Ellington, Charles Lloyd and MoFi Miles Davis Jack Johnson LP’s! Looking forward to giving them a listen. Discovered I had a copy of Modern Jazz Quartet, Last Concert, spinning that right now! Keep up the great work and thanks!

Alan EE's picture

Really enjoyed this series. This one brings back memories of Charles Laquidara and the Big Mattress, Tech HiFI on Newbury Street where my first turntable and amp and AR speakers came from. And Strawberries by the Pru for albums weekly, and on and on. Later to learn the John Strobeen (Ohm Speakers) had started Tech out of his MIT dorm room, who I got to meet last year when I brought my Ohm Walsh speakers back to him to be rebuilt in Brooklyn.

Michael Fremer's picture
I spent some time with him when I went to Hawaii a few years ago. He's doing great. I think he's since moved back to the mainland...