Now Spinning: The Jazz Version™ Thread

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Rudy

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"Ack!"? Have you been watching "MARS ATTACKS!" again? :D
No, channeling Bill The Cat (from Bloom County):

il_fullxfull.478145691_guj1.jpg
 

Rudy

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Lee Ritenour...I have a few. My favorites are the albums with the Brazilian theme to them (like Portrait which has a couple, along with a couple of tracks with Yellowjackets), or the more traditional jazz albums. The earlier rock/jazz albums are OK but I've never really grown attached to them. I do have that disc with Grusin and Ritenour and there, too, I like the Brazilian tracks.

To comment on the Michael Franks Blue Pacific album--it was nice that he got back in touch with his more acoustic/jazz side on that album. I really did like those two albums in the later 80s but they sound a bit dated now (Camera Never Lies and Skin Dive). Blue Pacific has some nice tunes on it, and Walter Becker produced three of them. I've grown more fond of The Art of Tea and Sleeping Gypsy in recent years, and Passionfruit is by far the favorite at Casa Rudy.
 

Rudy

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A PhotoGrid of a new arrival yesterday (click to enlarge):

PhotoGrid_1453062168509 (Custom).jpg

Only two songs on side A, vs. four? Yep, it's a 45RPM 180 gram 2-LP reissue on the ORG (Original Recordings Group) label, serial #01006. Bernie Grundman mastering, RTI pressed. A couple of occasional light ticks but those will (literally) wash out when I run it through the record vac (or they may "play out" on their own, as they sometimes do).

I will give it a better listen tomorrow when I can be directly in front of the system. But so far, it bests the CD version I heard, which had this odd, muddy quality to the left channel--the bass and piano seemed muddy and poorly defined. That somewhat muted quality is still there, but now you can here the finer details in the music--the sound of the strings on the bass, the hammer action on the piano. (They are there, but just seem as though they were miked at a distance, or in to reverberant of a room; a poor mastering makes them sound muddy.) The drums are better defined though, and come through crystal clear. Must have been something odd in the water at Van Gelder's that day. :D

In comparison, another Verve album, Empathy (Shelly Manne, Bill Evans, Monty Budwig) is clear and bright, and was also recorded at Van Gelder's. That one is also available on a 200 gram, 45RPM version and seeing how much I am liking that one, it might find its way here as well. Analogue Productions pressed that one, and it was mastered at Sterling Sound by George Marino.

There is also a 45RPM Kind of Blue on Mobile Fidelity I'm thinking of getting--it has already sold out, and many shops are waiting for a re-press of the title. Anyone who has heard it says it is the definitive version, very warm and lifelike; many are even raving about the 45RPM mono version of this album also, but mono is not my preference in most cases.

I wish all vinyl reissues were as good as these. I've been "at war" on one title (which I can't mention at the moment) which has a wonderful Bernie Grundman mastering, but the vinyl quality is absolutely shameful. Makes me think United or another of those cheapie pressing plants is doing it. I'll pay a few dollars more to get something pressed to modern standards, not something that looks like a throwback to the early 80s era of recycled vinyl.
 

Bobberman

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Recycled vinyl really had its issues. I understand it had" regrind" issues among other things i had a lot of A&M reissues on vinyl which were on recycled Vinyl. I remember comparing the original vintage lps of Herb alperts Tijuana brass volume 2 along with the 80s vinyl reissue and the 80s vinyl sounded very shrill and metallic but the original vintage vinyl both stereo and mono versions were much smoother and quieter. I remember Herb mentioning volume 2 as sounding metallic. ( it had to be the 80s lp master. As opposed to the original.)
 

Rudy

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I have a couple of 80s presssings of Whipped Cream and Going Places I bought new around 1982 or so, and they sound pretty much the same as the originals (except, not all beaten up, like my parents' LPs that I played to death :laugh: ). In some cases labels have have reused their metal parts (so they were the same masterings), and around that time, Columbia was pressing some of the better vinyl out there, including A&M's records. (It's kind of ironic that just as the LP was dying off in popularity, Columbia was pressing some really quiet vinyl.) Warner (WEA) was decent also--I don't recall if they were pressing their own, or having RCA (?) do it for them. But I had some 80s RCAs that were a little noisy, like a few Hall & Oates titles. Overall though, I would say I had fewer problems with A&M's titles (and Columbia's in general) than with other labels back in those days.

I had severe problems with anything MCA had their hands on. "Platinum Series" Steely Dan reissues were noisy and dull sounding. Anything they pressed for Motown in the early 80s was even worse--I returned multiple copies of some Steve Wonder albums. It was a crap shoot. On the Steely Dans, had I known more about used record stores back then, I would have grabbed the ABC pressings.

Today's vinyl can still be a crap shoot, emphasis on crap. :laugh: But if anyone keeps up with which labels are legit or not, and which pressing plants are doing their jobs properly, that is most of the battle. Some like United (and one I still cannot identify on a couple of recent records) are very sloppy, and will press noisy vinyl, or overheat the vinyl biscuits which will make the vinyl wavy, give it an "orange peel" look, or give it a milky/hazy appearance. Others have careless handling, like the wonderful sounding Chris Bellman mastered Dire Straits On Every Street that had small scratches and a gouge or two, courtesy of GZ Vinyl (I think they are a Czech company). I have two copies of that one and sadly, I can't Frankenstein together a complete, playable set of both.

It's funny that a big seller/mass market tile like Adele's latest actually has a non-disclosure agreement with every pressing plant they use--they are not allowed to say whether or not they have pressed the title. In the US, there are reports of bad, noisy pressings, while others are flat and quiet. The fact is, the plants are now capable of creating vinyl that has a very low noise floor, yet some are out there cutting corners and pretty much live in the world of "money grab," producing vinyl that suffers from sloppy manufacturing and nonexistent quality control. Like a time warp back to the late 70s and early 80s. Sorry, but the market has moved past that. Those labels pressing garbage deserve all the returns and bad press they receive. And I do my part! If nobody speaks up, they'll continue. I'm not going to shell out $25 for something that's sometimes in worse shape than an old used record (and it's my duty here to report what I find so that others don't make the same mistake).

The best bet for vinyl is to read the reviews in the press, follow forums and blogs that cater to vinyl collectors, and get the vibe on what a title is like. Labels like Analogue Productions, ORG, Mobile Fidelity and others are doing top notch work. Rhino, surprisingly, has also done well on many titles. I have a copy of Moondance that you can't even heard any vinyl noise on; it's spooky. There is no need to settle for the bottom feeders out there; those who are going the cheap route and cutting corners are only ruining the experience for everyone who buys them. They deserve all of the bad press they get.
 

Bobberman

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Very true At the end of the day ( As always) "It's All About Quality" and what i mean by Quality is "GOOD QUALITY" example i had an MCA,platinum series vinyl copy of The Crusaders "Free As The Wind". ( Larry carlton's last appearance with them) and it didnt sound right. I later got the album on CD and surprisingly the CD sounded much better ( to my ears at least) so you make a good point Rudy. I however am still hesitant to invest in a turntable right now. However if i can find a decent sounding and affordable turntable that would be a Good start. And in my experience the MCA titles On Cd Sound much better than the vinyl i had and to me the A&M Cd Reissues ( the late 80s Tjb reissues and others) sounded almost equally good as the original vinyl ( minus surface noise) the Whipped cream 1988 reissue is just one example
 
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DeeInKY

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Ahh yes, the late 70s to early 80s - a time when lots of crappy merchandise floated around - cars that rusted out, noisy records, navy leasure suits with white stitching :uhhuh:.
 

Rudy

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In some respects, some of those original A&M CDs might sound a hair better just due to an additional 17+ years of aging on the master tapes. But, today's A/D converters are worlds better, and more care was taken when transfering them. (In the 80s, record labels were grabbing any tape they could find and putting it out on CD, to cash in on the new format. Some were good almost accidentally; others were not all that good.)

There are some good entry-level turntables out there today like the lowest prices models of Rega, Pro-Ject, Music Hall, even U-Turn Audio. Surprisingly, record shredder manufacturer Crosley contracted with Pro-Ject to build an entry-level audiophlie turntable, the C10, which ships with an Ortofon cartridge (which could be upgraded quite easily). It is a good time to get back into vinyl--I'd say overall that most vinyl pressings are really good now, but could get pricey. There are still some really bad pressings out there, but it's partly my duty (and others') to let everyone know what's good, and what should be avoided.

Reminds me, I did have an example of a good direct comparison: the 80s audiophile pressing of the TJB Greatest Hits (SPJ- series), vs. the CD. The 80s pressing was distributed by A&M Canada, pressed in Japan at the same JVC plant and mastered to vinyl by the same folks that did work for Mobile Fidelity. (SR/2 in the deadwax was Stan Ricker, JH/2 was Jack Hunt, etc.) Same vinyl, also--it has that brownish translucent glow to it.

Aside from the roughness of digital on the CD, switching between the LP and CD during playback was indistinguishable in terms of tonal balance and even surface noise. Those records were very good pressings back then, and it's very obvious that A&M used the same master for the CD that was used for the LP.
 

Bobberman

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In some respects, some of those original A&M CDs might sound a hair better just due to an additional 17+ years of aging on the master tapes. But, today's A/D converters are worlds better, and more care was taken when transfering them. (In the 80s, record labels were grabbing any tape they could find and putting it out on CD, to cash in on the new format. Some were good almost accidentally; others were not all that good.)

There are some good entry-level turntables out there today like the lowest prices models of Rega, Pro-Ject, Music Hall, even U-Turn Audio. Surprisingly, record shredder manufacturer Crosley contracted with Pro-Ject to build an entry-level audiophlie turntable, the C10, which ships with an Ortofon cartridge (which could be upgraded quite easily). It is a good time to get back into vinyl--I'd say overall that most vinyl pressings are really good now, but could get pricey. There are still some really bad pressings out there, but it's partly my duty (and others') to let everyone know what's good, and what should be avoided.

Reminds me, I did have an example of a good direct comparison: the 80s audiophile pressing of the TJB Greatest Hits (SPJ- series), vs. the CD. The 80s pressing was distributed by A&M Canada, pressed in Japan at the same JVC plant and mastered to vinyl by the same folks that did work for Mobile Fidelity. (SR/2 in the deadwax was Stan Ricker, JH/2 was Jack Hunt, etc.) Same vinyl, also--it has that brownish translucent glow to it.

Aside from the roughness of digital on the CD, switching between the LP and CD during playback was indistinguishable in terms of tonal balance and even surface noise. Those records were very good pressings back then, and it's very obvious that A&M used the same master for the CD that was used for the LP.
My vintage 80s cd of TJB greatest hits ( both volumes 1&2) do sound exactly the same as well in overall tone and balance. Along with the other comps Solid Brass on cd sounded 100 times better than my vinyl version which i bought in 1985. I scored a Immaculate copy of solid brass a year ago for $14 or so on amazon so i was one lucky ducky. I agree that some of those early A&M cd reissues ( especially the first runs of Keep your eye on me onward) sound pretty nifty as many of the album masters ( which were pretty good quality already at the time.) Were being used to produce the CDs.
 

toeknee4bz

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It's kind of ironic that just as the LP was dying off in popularity, Columbia was pressing some really quiet vinyl. Warner (WEA) was decent also--I don't recall if they were pressing their own, or having RCA (?) do it for them. But I had some 80s RCAs that were a little noisy... Overall though, I would say I had fewer problems with A&M's titles (and Columbia's in general) than with other labels back in those days.

I had severe problems with anything MCA had their hands on. "Platinum Series" Steely Dan reissues were noisy and dull sounding. Anything they pressed for Motown in the early 80s was even worse--I returned multiple copies of some Steve Wonder albums. It was a crap shoot. On the Steely Dans, had I known more about used record stores back then, I would have grabbed the ABC pressings.

It's funny that a big seller/mass market tile like Adele's latest actually has a non-disclosure agreement with every pressing plant they use--they are not allowed to say whether or not they have pressed the title. In the US, there are reports of bad, noisy pressings, while others are flat and quiet. The fact is, the plants are now capable of creating vinyl that has a very low noise floor, yet some are out there cutting corners and pretty much live in the world of "money grab," producing vinyl that suffers from sloppy manufacturing and nonexistent quality control. Like a time warp back to the late 70s and early 80s. Sorry, but the market has moved past that.

Personally, I couldn't stand any RCA vinyl from the early 80s on up. It was horrible. When I found out that AyM Discos (A&M latin division) was being distributed via RCA, I was very disappointed. "Noisy" doesn't even begin to describe how bad those records were. Thank God for CDs, or I wouldn't have any Hall & Oates, or Kenny Rogers' RCA material from the 80s. I agree that MCA was hit or miss, and my Steely Dan material did seem to wear a bit.

And as for current day vinyl being extorted at ridiculous prices, I agree. There's no way I'm shelling out that kind of money for potentially crappy quality. As you put it so well, the market has moved past that.
Nuff said.
 

Rudy

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Thankfully there are known good labels and pressing plants. I don't have a problem with most titles I buy, but there are occasionally two or three that are real stinkers. And I go to great lengths to 1) make the label and even the artist accountable (and point it out), and 2) go out of my way to have others beware when they purchase it. Anyone can still get a one-off bad record. I've bought bad CDs before also--. Such is life I guess.

There wasn't much on RCA that I liked, so really all I had were some Hall & Oates 12" singles and LPs. I'm sure others were pressed by RCA. They really weren't all that bad, but they weren't the quietest either. I've had far worse (MCA, especially). I went through a pile of brand new Commodores Live sets in the store one day, trying to find one that didn't have two of the second disc in the jacket. I never did. I got the refund instead. :sigh:

RCA's old Living Stereo records were the best they made, but good luck finding any today that aren't trashed, and aren't a king's ransom. The shaded dogs, especially (Red Seal), have fetched a high price for decades. DynagrooVe was nasty; editor J. Gordon Holt of Stereophile, back in 1963 (!), exposed exactly what the process was, and why it was so nasty. (Good reading if you have the time.)

Then they perfected the art of 12 inch "sound sheets" by introducing dynaflex, which was a total joke. Paper-thin vinyl. I have some that actually play quiet, but a few months back I bought a brand new, sealed Van Cliburn and the record has some huge warps in it. Not a huge loss (it was only a couple of dollars) and I could probably tame it with a Vinyl-Flat. But it just shows how unstable really thin vinyl could be. Fantasy had some of their 70s releases pressed on dynaflex, and it's easy to tell--they are the only records which sag when you hold them up by the edges. You can almost make a "record taco" out of them and not hurt anything! :laugh: In retrospect, it was a rather odd answer to the 70s oil crisis, and it was also quickly abandoned within a couple of years.
 

Bobberman

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To me Dynaflex was pretty wimpy compared to their previously more sturdy vinyl .
My RCA favorites were the 60s artists floyd cramer. Chet atkins. Peter nero. Henry mancini. Al Hirt.and others ( even Hall and Oates in the 80s) thankfully many of these artists have been reissued on cd.
 

Rudy

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I have a lot of the 50s and 60s RCAs. It's just that in the 80s, there wasn't much I was into aside from reissues of--yep--the 50s and 60s recordings. :laugh: It is just so hard now to find clean older vinyl. Although that never stops me from trying. I am planning to go on a record crawl in the next week or two, to do some bin digging. :D Plus I'll probably be at AXPONA in Chicago in mid-April and might spend part of Saturday hitting some of the used shops in the area with some buddies (since it's also Record Store Day). And possibly Pittsburgh in May, with a gang of us hitting all the good stores in that area.

What really sounds good are those Living Stereo SACDs. I bought a handful at $8.99 each, and they play in both CD and SACD players. They're regarded as sounding excellent. I wish RCA had done the same with the LSP series vs. the classical LSC series, as there are tons of great sounding albums. I bought one of the recent Analogue Productions 200 gram pressings of the RCA Pictures at an Exhibition and it is so nice to hear it cleanly. (I have the RCA SACD, which prompted me to buy the vinyl.) Yes the AP vinyl might seem pricey at $25-$30 a shot, but with this being mastered from original analog tapes, and original Living Stereo pressings probably approaching $100 for a clean, playable copy with low stamper numbers, the AP vinyl is a bargain in comparison...and the SACD, a steal (if you can still find them).
 
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