Mark Smotroff

Mark Smotroff  |  Jun 01, 2023  |  9 comments

Geffen/UMe has just released a new 180g 1LP version of Steely Dan’s sophomore album, July 1973’s Countdown to Ecstasy. Read our intrepid reviewer Mark Smotroff’s take on this new-to-2023 version of Ecstasy and how it compares to an original 1973 black-label copy as well as the album’s vintage quad edition. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  May 26, 2023  |  8 comments

Good news! Craft Recordings — the boutique vinyl arm of Concord Music, who control the catalogs of Fantasy, Riverside, Milestone, and many other related labels — has duly revived the Original Jazz Classics series as a brand imprint for the now times. One of the first titles being reissued by Craft under the vaunted OJC umbrella is out today, May 26, in a new, 180g 1LP all-analog remastered edition: Thelonious Monk With John Coltrane. Read Mark Smotroff’s review to see why this seminal mid-century collaboration between two jazz giants immediately belongs in your vinyl collection. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  May 19, 2023  |  2 comments

David Byrne’s The Catherine Wheel has long been a favorite release amongst his fervent fanbase, dating back to the album’s first, albeit abbreviated appearance on vinyl in December 1981. Finally, The Complete Score From the Broadway Production of “The Catherine Wheel” gets its full due on 2LP black vinyl, thanks to its Record Store Day 2023 release in a run of 6,500 copies. Read Mark Smotroff’s review to see if this expanded edition should become an essential part of your own Catherine Wheel listening experience. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  May 12, 2023  |  10 comments

On Record Store Day 2023, Rhino Records issued another entry in their fine series of super-deluxe multidisc vinyl box sets celebrating the road trips of the Grateful Dead, a 180g 5LP box set titled Boston Garden, Boston, MA 5/7/77 (a.k.a. Boston 5.7.77). This new edition is an important historical puzzle piece in the band’s storied legacy, effectively completing a trilogy of live releases culled from their epic spring 1977 tour peak. AP’s resident Deadhead Mark Smotroff got his hands on one these new limited edition collections, so read on to see his reasoning as to why it’s an instantly essential entry in the Dead’s live legacy on vinyl. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  May 10, 2023  |  2 comments

Cookin’ With Jaws and the Queen: The Legendary Prestige Cookbook Albums is a wonderful new 4LP stereo box set collection from Craft Recordings that offers cause for rejoicing among fans of soul jazz, and most specifically fans of saxophonist Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis in particular. Culled from three classic 1958 Cookbook session recordings, the albums in this box are some of the backbone entries of a musical artform that would explode in popularity over the next 20 years, and ultimately onward into the 21st century. Read Mark Smotroff’s ready-to-serve review to see if the Cookin’ With Jaws and the Queen box set is indeed tasty enough to add to your regular LP-listening diet. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  May 05, 2023  |  First Published: May 05, 2023  |  13 comments

ECM Records is back! Well, they never really went away in the eyes and ears of many audiophiles, but now the legendary ambient jazz label has decided to rejoin us here in the vinyl pool, and the idea couldn’t have come at a better time. Read on to glean Mark Smotroff’s capsule reviews of five current ECM LP releases from John Scofield, Avishai Cohen, Tord Gustavsen, Enrico Rava & Mark Turner. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  May 03, 2023  |  15 comments

Beatles fans generally fall into two camps when it comes to how they feel about Paul McCartney’s solo and Wings eras — they either love them, or they more or less loathe them. That said, one Wings album we’ve really grown to love over the years is April 1973’s Red Rose Speedway. We’ve explored different pressings of this LP all along the way, and it’s always hinted there might be something sonically stronger hidden within the grooves. And now, with the half-speed mastered Record Store Day 2023 180g 1LP release of Red Rose Speedway, we finally have an answer. Read Mark Smotroff’s review to find out why this new RSD 2023 vinyl edition is worth your spinning time. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Apr 21, 2023  |  3 comments

The Jazz Detective label has done truly great work in preparing Chet Baker’s new 180g 2LP set, Blue Room: The 1979 VARA Studio Sessions in Holland, for its Record Store Day 2023 release on April 22. Read on to see why Mark Smotroff feels should be near the top of your own RSD 2023 acquisition wishlist. . .

Mark Smotroff,  |  Apr 19, 2023  |  First Published: Apr 18, 2023  |  16 comments

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Record Store Day — and it really should, as the very next RSD is slated for this Saturday, April 22. Since its 2007 debut, RSD has grown into an international pilgrimage event for vinyl-loving music fans around the world — and it shouldn’t surprise you in the least that we collectively love Record Store Day here at AnalogPlanet, seeing how we’ve been proud RSD supporters since Day 1. Read on to see what two of AP’s intrepid album lovers, vinyl evaluators, and inveterate collectors — namely, chief LP reviewer Mark Smotroff and AP editor Mike Mettler — cite as their top-tier RSD 2023 choices. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Apr 07, 2023  |  3 comments

These days, a new Depeche Mode album is cause for celebration, and the band’s just released 180g 2LP set, Memento Mori, is worthy of deep listening and devoted examination. Read Mark Smotroff’s review to see if Memento Mori stands tall with other classic entries in Depeche Mode’s storied vinyl catalog. . .

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