AAA Vinyl

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Mark Smotroff  |  Dec 08, 2023  |  0 comments

It’s almost an impossible task trying to “review” an iconic album like Bill Evans Trio’s October 1961 live masterpiece, Sunday at the Village Vanguard, but a new 180g 1LP edition under Craft Recordings’ revival of the Original Jazz Classics series umbrella is most definitely worth a closer look — and listen. Read Mark Smotroff’s review to see why this AAA edition of an all-time jazz classic belongs in your collection. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Nov 18, 2023  |  12 comments

Aja is the fourth (and first non-sequential) entry in Analogue Productions' comprehensive 200g 45rpm 2LP Steely Dan UHQR reissue series — and it’s possibly the most anticipated of them all. Does the UHQR edition of Aja stack up favorably with and/or sound better than the previous LP editions from the label likes of ABC, Mobile Fidelity, and Cisco? Read AP editor Mike Mettler’s in-depth review to find out if the Aja UHQR is worth every bit of those cool 1,500 dime dances it’ll run you tp pick it up (a.k.a. $150, in normal dollars parlance). . .

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. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Aug 10, 2023  |  21 comments

Pretzel Logic, the third entry in Analogue Productions' comprehensive all-analog 200g 45rpm 2LP Steely Dan UHQR reissue series, is indeed a bit of a different sonic animal than its predecessors, Can’t Buy a Thrill and Countdown to Ecstasy. That’s due in no small part to SD co-founders Walter Becker and Donald Fagen wanting the album to have more of a first-call studio musician feel to it overall. Read AP editor Mike Mettler’s in-depth review to find out if the Pretzel Logic UHQR is the kind of record you want on your phonograph. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Jul 26, 2023  |  29 comments

Just how good is Peter Frampton’s excellent new Frampton@50: In the Studio 1972-1975 180g 3LP box set from Intervention Records? The following three numbers tell the tale in shorthand: 100, 50, and 75. Find out what they mean and why this all-analog vinyl collection of three key entries from Frampton’s early solo career sets new standards for box set presentation by reading AP editor Mike Mettler’s in-depth review. . .

Michael Leser Johnson  |  May 16, 2022  |  2 comments
In my previous review of the Korppoo Trio by the Sibelius Piano Trio and Yarlung Records, I spoke a great deal about the recording philosophy of this boutique classical outfit and their AAA, 45rpm chamber music records. From the same recording sessions that brought us that exquisite romantic delight, we have another outing with musicians Petteri Iivonen, Juho Pohjonen, and Samuli Peltonen, this time with a decidedly different program.

Michael Fremer  |  May 16, 2022  |  46 comments
LOS ANGELES, May 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Sony Music and the Estate of Michael Jackson today announced that it will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the biggest selling album of all time, with the November 18 release of Michael Jackson Thriller 40, a double CD set comprised of Michael’s original masterpiece Thriller and an exciting second disc full of surprises for fans including never-released tracks which were worked on by Michael for the Thriller album. To date, the album has amassed in excess of 100 million in sales worldwide.

Michael Fremer  |  May 08, 2022  |  16 comments
What seemed like an unlikely pairing in 1962 of “jazz elder” 63 year old Duke Ellington with John Coltrane, who had just assembled his ”classic quartet” destined to explore uncharted musical (and spiritual) territory, produced a surprisingly cohesive and satisfying album.

Michael Fremer  |  May 05, 2022  |  37 comments
Los Angeles – May 5, 2022- Verve/Ume and Acoustic Sounds announces the following titles coming throughout the year followed the April 29th release John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman (Impulse!, 1963).

Malachi Lui  |  May 01, 2022  |  94 comments
There’s plenty already said about the musical content of Marvin Gaye’s 1971 classic What’s Going On so I’ll avoid redundancy and just say that its scope—from the sociopolitically-minded lyrics to the carefully assembled song cycle structure and luscious musical arrangements—pushed the boundaries of what a Motown release could be, and truly stands the test of time. It’s an endlessly relevant record (decide yourself if that says more about the album’s excellence or society’s failures), and also one of the most exhaustively reissued: in the past 20 years, we’ve seen Universal’s 30th anniversary 2CD featuring the original Detroit mix, more alternate mixes, and a Kennedy Center live recording from 1972; Mobile Fidelity’s SACD and 33rpm single LP releases; UMG’s 40th anniversary “super deluxe” edition adding further session material and alternate versions; quite a few run-of-the-mill digitally-sourced vinyl reissues of the core album, done at United for the US and GZ for Europe; an Abbey Road half-speed 4LP mirroring the 2001 2CD; and MoFi’s 45rpm double LP UltraDisc One Step cut from tape. That’s not including the “Vinyl Lovers” Russian reissues of dubious legal origin cut and pressed at GZ, the 192kHz/24bit hi-res download, a Blu-ray Audio release (remember that format?), and the Japanese SACDs, CDs, and MQA-UHQCDs featuring a flat transfer of the original master tapes (yes, really!).
Michael Fremer  |  Apr 13, 2022  |  69 comments
Craft Records today announced Miles Davis’s Relaxin’ as the next “Small Batch” limited to 5000 copies release. The pre-sale launches Friday April 15th at 2:00 PST/5:00 EST on the “Small Batch” website.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 09, 2022  |  45 comments
When Craft Recordings rolled out its exclusive "Small Batch" limited edition "One Step" series last year it thought it had done a good thing.

Paul Seydor  |  Apr 08, 2022  |  5 comments
Chasing The Dragon, a British audiophile label that has been around for about ten years now, has distinguished itself with digital and analog releases that can fairly be said to have pushed the state of the art in recorded sound. As is not the case with many audiophile labels, the founders Mike and Françoise Valentine have paid equal attention to the musical contents of their label, notably with classical music and jazz, for which oftener than not they eschew studios in favor of venues where acoustic music is typically performed, such as concert halls or other places with appropriately sympathetic acoustics (e.g., churches). One of the best concert recordings I own is CTD’s 45-RPM album with the Interpreti Veneziani Chamber Orchestra in marvelously stylish, spirted performances of pieces by Vivaldi, Marais, and Sarasate, so beautifully captured—London’s St. John’s Smith Square the venue—that if you set the level right and close your eyes, you easily imagine yourself transported to the best seat in the house (VAL45001). Even their studio recordings are so carefully miked they don’t sound studio bound: the singer Clare Teal’s A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, with Chris Dean leading The Syd Lawrence Orchestra, is sonically of reference caliber and musically so stylistically on point as an example of Swing that but for the sonics you’d swear it was made in the 1940s. These are but two albums from a pretty impressive catalog. For a small label to concentrate its repertoire on classical and vintage jazz is not without risk in this day and age, and it is testament to the Valentines’ expertise, taste, commitment, and courage that they have maintained such high sonic and musical standards.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 03, 2022  |  27 comments
The Southern California retro-band Calling Cadence signed to Hi-Res Records recently released an eponymously titled debut album recorded, mixed and mastered "the way they used to" make albums: recorded and mixed to analog tape and mastered by Kevin Gray from the analog master tape, and pressed at RTI on 180g vinyl. The cover image of an 8-track tape helps seal the retro-deal as does the music.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 25, 2022  |  49 comments
The original British pressing of Are You Experienced? (Track 612 001) was a tepid looking and sounding monophonic affair and despite the label’s name, the jacket didn’t list the tracks, nor did the front offer the band’s name.