Mark Smotroff

Mark Smotroff  |  Sep 21, 2023  |  7 comments

How great is it that jazz pianist Thelonious Monk’s April 1957 breakthrough album Brilliant Corners is the latest entry in Craft Recordings’ notable Small Batch series of limited-edition, definitive, all-analog, audiophile-grade releases? Read Mark Smotroff’s review to see if the Small Batch 180g 1LP edition of Brilliant Corners is the right Monk fit for you. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Sep 15, 2023  |  5 comments

The new Live at The Matrix, 1967: The Original Masters super deluxe box set that features early live recordings by The Doors as captured on the cusp of their impending, immense fame is a wonderful historic document on vinyl — and a crucial crossroads moment. Issued for the first time in as complete form as possible — and from better sources than what’s been previously available — these semi-professional recordings give us a glimpse of this legendary L.A. band just before they broke out as international music sensations. Read Mark Smotroff’s in-depth review to see if Live at The Matrix, 1967 deserves a place in your collection. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Sep 08, 2023  |  9 comments

Craft Recordings just served up the next pair of 180g 1LP offerings in their ongoing R.E.M. reissue series — namely, 180g 1LP editions of May 2001’s classic-sounding Reveal and March 2008’s power-pop punk slammer, Accelerate. Read Mark Smotroff’s combo review of Reveal and Accelerate to see if either or both LPs are worthy additions to your vinyl collection. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Sep 01, 2023  |  First Published: Sep 01, 2023  |  2 comments

With so many pressing plants being fairly maxed out these days in terms of their production capacity, it’s been nice to see how Detroit’s Third Man Pressing has stepped up to the plate to deliver respectable, audiophile-grade vinyl pressings at fairly reasonable SRPs. Read Mark Smotroff’s combo review of three new Verve by Request 180g 1LP reissues from jazz greats Archie Shepp, Yusef Lateef, and The Ahmad Jamal Trio — all of which have been recently pressed at Third Man — to see if they make the grade. . .

Mike Mettler,  |  Aug 25, 2023  |  32 comments

For the very first time, Rhino has released the entirely of Talking Heads’ soundtrack to their seminal September 1984 concert film, Stop Making Sense, in a remastered 2LP set. In this all-new combo-style tag-team review, Mike Mettler and Mark Smotroff tell us exactly why this new 40th anniversary 2LP SMS set is the best-sounding edition of SMS to date. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Aug 17, 2023  |  8 comments

Mal Waldron Sextet’s Mal/2 — a new AAA OJC 180g 1LP reissue from Craft Recordings of what some might deem a “lost classic” of vintage, mid-century 1950s jazz — offers important and wonderful music for fans of not only titular pianist Mal Waldron, but also of saxophone legend John Coltrane in particular. Read Mark Smotroff’s review to see why he considers the new OJC Mal/2 LP is essential listening, and why it’s well worth adding to your collection. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Aug 11, 2023  |  6 comments

Steely Dan and UMe have thrown fans of the band’s music some interesting choices when it comes to their current vinyl reissue series. We all know about the pricier, concurrent AAA UHQR editions from Analogue Productions that all have an admittedly steeper entry fee, but the hard reality is many of us can only afford the standard 180g 1LP editions being released under the Geffen/UMe label banner. What’s a budget-minded, audiophile-leaning Steely Dan fan to do? Read Mark Smotroff’s review of the new Geffen/UMe version of Pretzel Logic to see if it’s the right edition for you. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Aug 04, 2023  |  First Published: Aug 04, 2023  |  5 comments

We got that jazz-jones thing already going again, so we’re back with another jazz-centric triple-play review. Read Mark Smotroff’s Short Cuts combo take on a trio of jazz classics — both old and newly discovered alike — from Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd, Wynton Kelly Trio & Wes Montgomery, and Sun Ra. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Aug 03, 2023  |  First Published: Aug 03, 2023  |  1 comments

Collecting original pressings of rare albums can be exciting, frustrating, and even debilitating at times. The good news is, there are a lot of really excellent reissues coming out these days that seem only to be getting better and better. Read Mark Smotroff’s triple Short Cuts review of new 180g 1LP reissues of classic titles from Alice Coltrane, Dorothy Ashby, and Gabor Szabo to see if any of them just might whet your eclectic jazz-listening whistle. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Jul 28, 2023  |  4 comments

Two late-period R.E.M. albums — October 2004’s and March 2011’s Collapse Into Now — have just gotten well-deserved 180g LP upgrades from Craft Recordings. Read Mark Smotroff’s combo review of these two somewhat underappreciated but wholly worthy entries in the Athens, Georgia alt-rockers deep catalog to see if they fit into your own upcoming LP listening plans. . .

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