Mack Avenue Music Group & Octave Music Partner With Vinyl Me, Please For Erroll Garner's Magician

Mack Avenue Music Group and Octave Music are proud to announce a partnership with Vinyl Me, Please on Erroll Garner’s Magician as their May Classics Record of the Month. The record is also featured as the 11th release of the critically acclaimed year-long 12-album Octave Remastered Series featuring newly restored and expanded editions of classical Garner albums from the 1960s and ‘70s. Vinyl Me, Please’s package includes 180g black audiophile vinyl and an exclusive listening notes booklet by Ted Gioia.

The selections Garner committed to tape in the fall of 1973 for Magician include what may be some of his best original compositions, alongside a series of timeless contemporary takes on American Songbook classics. Though it would turn out to be the final studio album of his life, it makes clear that Garner was continuing to innovate on his distinctly individualistic style, and surely would have for decades to come.

Additionally, Vinyl Me, Please is hosting a giveaway for a free lossless download of a previously unreleased bonus track, "Grill on the Hill." The song was written and recorded during Garner’s October 1973 sessions for Magician. It was discovered and given its title by pianist Geri Allen in 2015. The newly Plangent processed version appears for the first time on the digital release of Magician as part of the 2020 Octave Remastered Series.

The Octave Remastered Series spans 12 releases with a newly discovered unreleased bonus track on each album: Dreamstreet, Closeup in Swing, One World Concert, A New Kind of Love, A Night at the Movies, Campus Concert, That’s My Kick, Up in Erroll’s Room, Feeling Is Believing, Gemini, Magician, and Gershwin & Kern.

Magician, along with the rest of the series, were transferred and restored using the Plangent playback system. Employing a wideband tape head, preamp and DSP package to capture and track the original recorder’s ultrasonic bias remnant, the Plangent Process removes the wow and flutter and FM/IM distortion from the recorded audio. This returns the listener to the original session experience, bringing to life Garner’s incomparable performances of his own compositions as well as classic works from the jazz cannon. You can read more about the process in an exclusive interview with Octave Remastered Series senior producer Peter Lockhart on Vinyl Me, Please.

Duke86fan's picture

there is a lot more issues that have arisen from VMP in the past, from the issues with the blue note anthology to badly shipped records, classics has overall been pretty good, almost all analog (this doesn't count because plagent process) and all pressed at QRP (at least until now because they are shutdown and had to go with Pallas)

DigMyGroove's picture

I've been a subscriber since VMP released Fiona Apple's "Tidal" as a double at 45 rpm. In my experience they have always delivered perfect or near perfect records, with the exception of Fiest's "Let It Die" which suffered from non-fill. In that case they immediately sent me another copy, which also had some non-fill spots, VMP do not take returns. Box sets are always a trickier proposition, I've not purchased any of theirs. In those cases I feel like you're either lucky or not and have to see what arrives. In any case, my point in posting is that those thinking about joining VMP should know that they've been putting out some stellar audiophile reissues that are up there with the best of MoFi, Analogue Productions, Analog Spark and Intervention at an excellent price point. Their mailers are very good too, I've never had a damaged album yet.

Duke86fan's picture

I am from a forum of ex VMP forum members, there have been a lot of reports of noise on the records (specifically due to Gz), especially on the exclusives (i had a copy of stars that had a bad scratch on it, they fixed it though), and the blue note anthology had a lot of issues such as a bad back cover for dexter calling (used a CD cover instead of the original), the booklet breaking in the mail, and wayne shorter having the label flipped.

isaacrivera's picture

I've gotten about 6 of their Classics and the Jorge Ben. All pressings, covers and included booklets have been perfect in quality. No noise, no scratches, no printing defects. The sound quality rivals the BN Tone Poet series and the covers are better than the BN 80. All for $25.00, which is pretty incredible. The Al Green Call Me may be one of the best records in my collection, easy on the top 100.

Now, of course, errors happen. Electro-mechanical reproduction processes in the thousands is bound to introduce mistakes. Humans are prone to fatigue and the mind slips. They happen to AP, MMJ and even ERC. I've got an ERC, a 300€ record mind you, with a glaring typo on the track listing on the back cover. If VMP takes care of their customers by offering replacements or refunds, that is all that can be expected, IMHO.

Overall I am very happy they are reissuing rarer titles at the quality/price ratio they are. Very satisfied.

Mudfoot's picture

First, I’d like to clarify (in case it may be confusing for the reader of previous posts) that VMP does not dictate where the record is pressed (exception being titles only seeing a vinyl release for VMP). Same goes for mastering. When VMP picks a title for a monthly release it often uses the same mastering/pressing plant that the ‘non-exclusive’ edition uses. So naturally VMP releases are a bit across the board, often my disappointments, few as they have been, are more at fault of the master label holder. VMP has been better at listing where a record is pressed and mastered on there web site before purchase, and when they know what source was used for mastering. Translation: Your Results Will Likely Vary.
When ever I had an issue with warping, pressing defects or shipping ‘roughness’, they’ve been easy and quick to fix the wrongs.

To say some words on my copy of VMP’s Erroll Garner ‘Magician’ reissue
My copy was stunning silent, flat and a realism in the high end that is frankly sometimes unsettling, it’s that good. As an audio engineer who’s main gig is with a piano player, my brain was constantly tricked and confused that this wasn’t a real piano I was standing in front of. It’s a piano sound unlike most of us vinyl enthusiasts are used to hearing on our favorite platters of excellently recorded piano jazz (i’m a sucker for the warmth of ‘Waltz For Debby’) but it is closer to the live and unplugged real deal that few of us have the honor to experience and rarely is reproduced on record. (Of course every piano is different as well, but Erroll doesn’t sound like he’s playing a Steinway on ‘Magician’!)
My point is, don’t let the Plangent Process steer you from this pressing. The album was originally well recorded to begin with. I haven’t yet found out what current issues with the master tape dictated the use of Plangent, but the mastering and restoration by Jessica Thompson is musical and extremely engaging while the hi-rez file was brilliantly transferred to lacquer by Ryan Smith at Sterling. The fact that those two were able to shepherd such life like musical details into the grooves may be a lovely surprise to you should your system be up for the task.

Erroll’s performance as well is as imaginative and interesting from start to finish as some of his most revered performances. As an Erroll fan myself, this title never found its way to my collection previously and I’ve never heard this album enter conversations of his greatest recordings. I’m grateful VMP recognized it needed to be removed from the shadows. It’s interesting how funky his playing is on some of these tunes. The opening tune alone makes you wonder if Erroll had Herbie Hancock’s “Fat Albert Rotunda” on repeat in his 8-track player on the way to the studio! In typical Erroll fasion, he manages to mix styles we often directly attribute to certain pianists (or ever pianists specific eras) and what comes out is Erroll creating a cohearant tapestry so fun and wide reaching that it leaves the listener shaking ones head in disbelief but never losing ones feeling of joy.
So i urge you to seek this record out if you’ve never heard it. It’s a worthy reissue. And, of course, your experience may vary!