AAA Vinyl

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Michael Fremer  |  Oct 05, 2021  |  19 comments
Everything is true that you might have heard or read about this “off the beaten Tone Poet path” release.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 01, 2021  |  16 comments
The gentle, introspective Bill Evans Trio of The Village Vanguard sessions that produced Sunday At the Village Vanguard and Waltz For Debby yielded two years later to the somewhat more rhythmically assertive trio heard on this December 18th, 1963 Webster Hall recording released early in 1964.

The late bassist Scott LaFaro’s friend Gary Peacock replaced him in the trio with Paul Motian continuing on drums. Though no less cerebral and harmonically tuned in than was LaFaro, Peacock brought to the group a faster, more aggressive rhythmic style punctuated with nimble staccato runs. More tapping of the toes and less tugging at the heart.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 29, 2021  |  19 comments
The Yardbirds original "Shapes of Things" took the protest song—a surprising departure from the group's blues-based output— as a smartly rendered military march with mild middle eastern undertones. Jeff Beck played on the original but here for his first solo outing he led with a slinky, heavily syncopated version that presaged by a few years Led Zep's heaviest of metal. The song's conclusion, a rhythmic meltdown to a complete stop was something altogether new to rock fans. Needless to say, back in 1968 buyers of this record had minds blown, in part thanks to the great Ken Scott's impeccable engineering skills and of course by much of the world's first exposure to Rod Stewart.

Michael Leser Johnson  |  Sep 24, 2021  |  19 comments
Those browsing the classical vinyl reissues on various audiophile websites may have encountered a few peculiar releases from a Korean label known as Analogphonic. The small label has been pumping out limited reissues of vintage classical recordings since 2012. The records are mastered by various engineers in Europe or North America but are always AAA and pressed at Pallas records in Germany.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 23, 2021  |  7 comments
Blue Note today announced an extensive list of upcoming Classic Vinyl Reissue Series titles launching October 1st, 2021 through April 15th, 2022. All reissues mastered by Kevin Gray cut directly from the original analog master tapes, with the exception of two titles, as noted, cut from the digital masters, and pressed on 180g vinyl at Optimal in Germany.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 15, 2021  |  3 comments
Vinyl Me, Please in partnership with Sony Music Entertainment's Legacy Recordings just announced VMP Anthology: The Story of Philadelphia International Records, celebrating the label's 50th anniversary with an 8 LP box set cut directly from the original master tapes by Bernie Grundman, plated and pressed at RTI on 180g colored vinyl.

Simon Guile  |  Aug 18, 2021  |  14 comments
With a career spanning more than six decades, Herbie Hancock is one of the most treasured names in jazz. From his early days with Blue Note, to his last release (2010’s The Imagine Project), there are more than a few of his impressive 46 albums that people consider to be favourites. My personal favourite however, is the fusion classic, 1973’s Headhunters.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 19, 2021  |  31 comments
Run Out Groove Records Announce today the upcoming release of More of The Monkees (Deluxe Edition) cut by Kevin Gray and Andrew Sandoval from the original analog tapes, complete with gatefold "tip on" jacket, expanded to a double LP with the addition of "debut vinyl" rarities.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 01, 2021  |  67 comments
Seven years ago (2014) Sony/Legacy reissued for Record Store Day a swell version of Paul Simon's Still Crazy After All These Years, mastered by Ryan K. Smith at Sterling Sound and pressed at RTI. It was positively reviewed on this site.

Michael Fremer  |  May 30, 2021  |  10 comments
Some people collect Tone Poet Blue Note reissues the way some people amass baseball cards. I know more than a few Tone Poet enthusiasts who, after buying one, had a Bert Lahr Lay’s potato chip moment and couldn’t stop buying them—at least until they encountered the late pianist/composer/arranger Andrew Hill’s Blue Note debut Black Fire (ST-84151/B0029975-01).

Michael Fremer  |  May 27, 2021  |  54 comments
"La Nevada" means "snowfall" but the opening track of this Gil Evans classic begins as a musical desert mirage of a distant train that approaches slowly, with you sitting on the tracks directly in its path. As the train gets closer (and louder) the repeated simple four bar riff grows in intensity adding growling, snarling brass and reeds drivers by Ron Carter's and Elvin Jones's insistent yet slinky rhythmic drive. Aside from the trombone section's part being notated, the performance is improvised, a highlight being Ray Crawford's guitar searing the left channel behind which trombone locomotive horns warn you to get out of the way, but by then it's too late and the music runs you over!

Michael Fremer  |  May 24, 2021  |  25 comments
Fifty one later Déjà vu still delivers a powerful musical, lyrical and sonic jolt, especially on this newly remastered 50th anniversary set that includes the original record on 180g vinyl mastered by Chris Bellman, cut using the original master tape.

Michael Fremer  |  May 17, 2021  |  165 comments
Is it possible to now write anything that hasn’t already been written or said about this record? I haven’t any fresh insights to offer that might advance what you probably already know. A good Kind of Blue pressing puts you in the 30th Street studio to hear the performance. Ashley Kahn’s “Kind of Blue” book sets the pre-recording stage, offering both musical and technical details and puts you as much in the control room as in front of the band.

Michael Leser Johnson  |  May 16, 2021  |  20 comments
In May of 1913, just one year before the start of the first World War, Igor Stravinsky premiered his third ballet with the Ballets Russes in Paris: Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring). The premiere would go down in history for a number of reasons, primarily due to the unruly Parisian audience that descended into what could be referred to as a riot. What was so scandalous about the Rite? Stravinsky, along with choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky, wanted to evoke a picture of Russia from the distant, pagan past. A story of an ancient pagan rite where a young maiden would be chosen to dance herself to death to appease the ancestors and secure a bountiful harvest. The music, while stylistically not a huge departure from Stravinsky’s two previous and successful Parisian ballets, was dissonant, brutal, and rhythmically disorienting. Likewise, Nijinsky’s choreography was rigid, and was meant to mimic the flat, two-dimensional style of prehistoric paintings. The audience that night was not having it, but their uproar helped launch the Rite into infamy, helping it to become one of the most talked about and often performed works of the 20th century.

Michael Fremer  |  May 03, 2021  |  102 comments
It's the best selling jazz album ever, one of the most influential too, arguably the one that produced a shift from riffing on chord based tunes to modal excursions that gave musicians newfound improvisational freedom. Cynics and the selfish will react to yet another Kind of Blue reissue by claiming that "everyone" already owns a copy but of course that's not true. And no one owns a 200 gram UHQR Clarity vinyl copy pressed one at a time on a manual Finebuilt press.

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