The Now Spinning/Recent Purchases Thread

JOv2

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but didn't really start listening until a year or two ago when I looked him up
To me, Stan's '65-'67 Blue Note sessions capture that indescribable inanimate essence that can truly haunt one... These are two of my faves:

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JOv2

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These three (Quincy Jones, and Legrand) -- with Deadly Affair featuring an Astrud Gilberto vocal.

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Rudy

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I was playing a handful of Kevin Eubanks albums last night.

This album was my introduction to Eubanks:

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I first heard one of the tracks on our local jazz station, and perhaps a second one, and it was enough to get me to purchase the recording. Now that I've owned more than a few of his recordings, I've noticed this one is quite different from the others in that there is very little use of the drum kit. Much of the rhythm on some of the "electric" tracks is generated by Marcus Miller's bass. On other less rhythmic tracks, he pairs up with Ron Carter.

Also, his albums can be seen along two trajectories. The above album marked the split. After Face To Face, he was playing in more of a lite ja mode. With Dave Holland's album Extensions, Eubanks was once again paired up with Marvin "Smitty" Smith who also appeared on Opening Night, and Smitty would appear on the three studio Blue Note albums and Holland's as well, tying all of these together with a common thread. Alto flute player Kent Jordan was also a fixture on Opening Night as well as the three studio Blue Note albums. I'll admit Extensions is a little more "out there" than his Blue Note works, but since it was under Dave Holland's direction on ECM Records, I would expect it to be somewhat different. But Smitty and Holland would both appear on his studio Blue Note albums, which were thereby logical successors to Opening Night.

Guitarist (Elektra Musician)
Sundance (GRP)
Opening Night (GRP 1985)
<-- split -->
Face To Face (GRP 1986)
The Heat of Heat (GRP 1987)
Shadow Prophets (GRP 1988)
The Searcher (GRP 1988)
Dave Holland: Extensions (ECM 1989)Promise of Tomorrow (GRP 1989)
Turning Point (Blue Note 1992)
Spirit Talk (Blue Note 1993)
Spiritalk2 (Blue Note 1994)
Live at Bradley's (Blue Note 1994)
Zen Food
The Messenger
Duets (with Stanley Jordan)
East West Time Line
 

JOv2

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I waited 30 years to buy this... When I was looking for used BMB A&M LPs in the '80s this was the only title I had no interest in -- primarily because the numbers don't much appeal to me. In any event, I'll give it a try.

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Otherwise, here are two of about 5,000 Hank LPs I like...these two have been on the box today...

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Rudy

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I'm no big Baja fan myself, so it's maybe once every five years that I'll play one of the records all the way through. I did like For Animals Only due to its theme, and it's close in style to Rides Again. This is a case where I need to digitize all the albums, then make a couple of playlists of favorites.

I'm still finding stray Mancini soundtracks in my travels, but the core group of all the late 50s through the 60s RCAs I have a fairly complete collection of, including all of the Living Stereo titles (which were the best sounding). Qobuz has an amazing number of titles (at least 80), many in hi-res in what are the best digital versions I've heard of these titles.

There was a point at which the sound quality changed with RCA--they lost the full-bodied clarity of the Living Stereo and early DynagrooVe records and took on a darker, clouded sound. Took the bite out of the brass on a record like Mancini '67, so much so that I don't enjoy listening to it that often. It seemed to start just after the period when RCA changed to the "white" RCA Victor text on the label. And in the 70s, the bass disappeared, making the music weak-sounding.

I have a feeling in both cases it was done in mastering. A couple of Tito Puente albums on Living Stereo sound completely transformed when they were transferred from RCA's original three-track session tapes.
 

JOv2

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I'm still finding stray Mancini soundtracks in my travels, but the core group of all the late 50s through the 60s RCAs I have a fairly complete collection of, including all of the Living Stereo titles
There was a period around about '62-'66 where it seemed Hank was RCA. Many artists were over-recorded in the '60s, but I've yet to hear a contractual obligation (i.e. "bad") Mancini LP from the coveted 1958-70 period.

Here are a couple of my favourite non s/t LPs:

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I like '60s Doc a great deal -- though, like many '60s artists, he became quite trendy in the '70s and I fell out of step with his post-Command LPs; but, with Hank a the helm this one's a keeper!


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Solid mid-'70s Hank up-to-speed.

There was a point at which the sound quality changed with RCA--they lost the full-bodied clarity of the Living Stereo and early DynagrooVe records and took on a darker, clouded sound. Took the bite out of the brass on a record like Mancini '67,

Agreed. RCA's sonic heyday was definitely 1957-62 (I have those three wonderful box sets of Living Stereo classical music that do well to chronicle that period.) I still don't quite understand what Dynagroove was all about (I'm too busy trying to figure out a way to get 317X out of the grooves...) -- but the horrendous Dynaflex I know well. What a joke! Any RCA after 1969...watch out!! Seriously, I think it was their way to cheapen the product by using less vinyl (and then, by probably '72-'73, using recycled vinyl to boot). Dynawarp is more accurate.
 

Rudy

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Yeah, dynaflex was a real treat. I remember my grandmother buying one (she was an avid classical listener) and we were "enjoying" her reading of the paper innersleeve on how innovative these records were. I bought a sealed Van Cliburn that was on dynaflex and it was warped as heck; I've had others, though, that were flat, smooth and quiet. They were the RCA equivalent of those "sound sheets" that used to be bound into magazines. 😁

The main reason for dynaflex was the 70s oil crisis and rising petroleum prices. I don't know if it's that or recycled vinyl that was worse!

DYNAGROOVE...oy. J. Gordon Holt (of Stereophile) discovered from an RCA engineer (?) that among other things, Dynagroove was actually adding distortion to the record so that this distortion would cancel out on the typical playback equipment of the day (mainly, console stereos...which is ironic, since those are not something you'd ever hear the distortion with). One thing I did notice on the track "Chelsea Bridge" (from Uniquely Mancini) was that the solo trombone always had a bit of a very faint "buzzing" distortion to it (easily heard over headphones, not so much over speakers but it's there), and that was on all three of the similar era pressings I have. I thought it was groove wear, but it also could have been that pre-distortion added to the mastering.


If I had to list some favorite Mancini titles beyond soundtracks:

  • Combo!
  • Uniquely Mancini
  • The Blues and The Beat
  • Mr. Lucky Goes Latin (the only "soundtrack" tie here was the Mr. Lucky theme done in Latin style...nothing else here played in the TV series that I can tell)
  • Our Man in Hollywood (which was more of a collection of tunes from different films, not a single soundtrack)
And the soundtracks of course...it's probably easier to list was wasn't a favorite! 😁

If you haven't had a chance yet, the Intrada soundtrack CDs are interesting artifacts--they are comprised of the music actually written and used in the films by Mancini, so, they include the versions you hear on film, as well as the musical cues throughout.

I've always said Mancini produced up to "five" albums worth of music per year. For a film, he would write and conduct the music, but then would turn around and write album arrangements for all of the popular tunes from the film for the soundtrack record. If he did two soundtracks in a year, that's about like four albums' worth of material, and a fifth album would be one of the non-soundtrack recordings. His RCA contract from the early days was for three albums per year! The sheer volume of work amazes me.
 
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Rudy

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BTW, the four Intrada titles I have are for Charade, Hatari!, Days of Wine and Roses, and Breakfast at Tiffany's. One thing I notice is that the performances are not quite as polished as they'd be on record, although they are still very well done. Given film standards at the time, and the accompanying sounds on the film (voices, environmental noise, sound effects, etc.), the music need not be meticulous as it would be on a record.
 

Bobberman

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Yeah, dynaflex was a real treat. I remember my grandmother buying one (she was an avid classical listener) and we were "enjoying" her reading of the paper innersleeve on how innovative these records were. I bought a sealed Van Cliburn that was on dynaflex and it was warped as heck; I've had others, though, that were flat, smooth and quiet. They were the RCA equivalent of those "sound sheets" that used to be bound into magazines. 😁

The main reason for dynaflex was the 70s oil crisis and rising petroleum prices. I don't know if it's that or recycled vinyl that was worse!

Dynagroove...oy. J. Gordon Holt (of Stereophile) discovered from an RCA engineer (?) that among other things, Dynagroove was actually adding distortion to the record so that this distortion would cancel out on the typical playback equipment of the day (mainly, console stereos...which is ironic, since those are not something you'd ever hear the distortion with). One thing I did notice on the track "Chelsea Bridge" (from Uniquely Mancini) was that the solo trombone always had a bit of a very faint "buzzing" distortion to it (easily heard over headphones, not so much over speakers but it's there), and that was on all three of the similar era pressings I have. I thought it was groove wear, but it also could have been that pre-distortion added to the mastering.


If I had to list some favorite Mancini titles beyond soundtracks:

  • Combo!
  • Uniquely Mancini
  • The Blues and The Beat
  • Mr. Lucky Goes Latin (the only "soundtrack" tie here was the Mr. Lucky theme done in Latin style...nothing else here played in the TV series that I can tell)
  • Our Man in Hollywood (which was more of a collection of tunes from different films, not a single soundtrack)
And the soundtracks of course...it's probably easier to list was wasn't a favorite! 😁

If you haven't had a chance yet, the Intrada soundtrack CDs are interesting artifacts--they are comprised of the music actually written and used in the films by Mancini, so, they include the versions you hear on film, as well as the musical cues throughout.

I've always said Mancini produced up to "five" albums worth of music per year. For a film, he would write and conduct the music, but then would turn around and write album arrangements for all of the popular tunes from the film for the soundtrack record. If he did two soundtracks in a year, that's about like four albums' worth of material, and a fifth album would be one of the non-soundtrack recordings. His RCA contract from the early days was for three albums per year! The sheer volume of work amazes me.
No wonder why some of my RCA vinyl releases of the time sounded somewhat slightly distorted Dynagroove was just a marketing gimmick similar to their Rival Capitol's "Full dimensional stereo and "Duophonic"
 

Rudy

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There were some marketing buzzwords back in the day. Living Stereo (RCA), Living Presence (Mercury), Full Dimensional Stereo (Capitol), FFSS (Full Frequency Stereo Sound--London) and others were simply branding terms for stereo recordings. It made for good marketing by having a wide band across the top of an LP with these terms, to differentiate them from their mono counterparts.

Dynagroove was actually a process RCA used in mastering. And I think after a few years they gave up on it, with some of the later Dynagroove-branded titles perhaps not having that processing at all. That pre-distortion is very slight and isn't easily heard, but the other changes they made (I think they employed a brighter EQ, and applied some dynamic compression) were to make the records sound more "exciting" on cheaper equipment.

Duophonic, though, was one to be dreaded. It was basically a mono recording sent through a comb filter to produce fake stereo. Comb filtering is created by creating a second mono signal with a slight delay (like 10ms) which, when added to one side of the stereo signal (left) and subtracted from the other (right), creates a cancelling and emphasizing of those signal differently in both channels. The most obvious artifact is hearing one side as bass-heavy, but the resulting frequency and phase anomalies make the whole thing sound weird.

Here's an explanation of how comb filtering is generated and what it does:


This illustration shows how that would work (larger version in the linked article):

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If you look at the left and right waveforms, you'll notice that the peaks on one side (left) coincide with dips on the other (right). The set of waves looks like a "comb," which is where it gets its name. The application in the article is not completely applicable, but the underlying theory is exactly the same.

That's probably why many of us who buy records prefer an original mono pressing over fake stereo. Duophonic, or RCA's version ("Electronically Reprocessed Stereo"), and many others were awful efforts to sell mono recordings in stereo.
 

JOv2

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Dynagroove...oy. J. Gordon Holt (of Stereophile) discovered from an RCA engineer (?) that among other things, Dynagroove was actually adding distortion to the record so that this distortion would cancel out on the typical playback equipment of the day
I remember reading this many years ago -- I had a laugh with the Goddard Lieberson quote, but then forgot about Holt's own quote, "...Columbia has committed some monumental insults to musical taste..." -- for instance, their pushing the midrange on the early stereo releases. As for the rationale behind Dynagroove, it surely makes sense: Recordings were initially over-engineered (which is why a given 1959 Living Stereo LP is more often than not a gem), but, as usual, once someone starts to make a buck the marketing guys get involved and ruin the product...and so Dynagroove was to address the fact that 40% of the record buying public was listening on $20 Western Auto portable sets. Surely this fact was not lost on Enoch Light, whose close-miked recordings were also designed to make cheap stereo equipment sound "real good". Having more than a heapin' helpin' of those Command monsters from the Enoch era (1959-65), I can subjectively report that, to my ears (on my system), at their worst, they sound glassy and brash.
I've always said Mancini produced up to "five" albums worth of music per year.
Hank was a workaholic -- particularly from about 1961-73 -- and from all accounts a very nice man. His early '70s encounter with Hitchcock was unfavourable but seems consistent given Hitchcock (who, by all accounts) was a self-absorbed, cantankerous [email protected]#&%. There are not too many musical artists I would have liked to meet...but Hank is one gentlemen I wish I could have met.

Yeah, dynaflex was a real treat. I remember my grandmother buying one (she was an avid classical listener) and we were "enjoying" her reading of the paper innersleeve on how innovative these records were
Luckily, my musical interest in pop music starts to nosedive round about 1970, so I don't have too many Dynawarps (this sleeve one came from a Connie Smith LP). Hope this brings back some nice memories...
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Bobberman

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And its true about what happens when the marketing folks take over dynaflex was one example of "Too many Cooks Spoiling the broth" I remember shopping at used lp shops and seeing most of the dynaflex records were warped go figure
 

Rudy

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Capitol had a bit of a struggle with some of their earlier stereo LPs--it was not uncommon to find them awash in a ton of reverb. One of the worst I've heard is Stan Kenton's Viva Kenton, where on some tracks (like "Mexican Jumping Bean") the music all blurred together from having too much reverb. The CD reissue I have is obviously a remix and sounds much better.

The Nat King Cole Just One Of Those Things went one further--they screwed up and had one channel out of phase. Unintended effect: If you wanted to Karaoke yourself, click the "mono" button and Nat disappears. It wasn't until a vinyl reissue that this was corrected, and the reverb greatly reduced.
 

JOv2

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Rudy got me thinking about Dyna-GrooVe/Flex… (Apologies for the camera focus: getting used to a new pair of glasses...)

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The earliest DynagrooVe LP I found was Peter Nero / LSP-2638 (1963) — which contains all the expected brouhaha on the rear cover. Given the graphics, I'm sure this LP was filed under "D" in more than a few establishments...




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The last DynagrooVe and 1st DynaFlex LP I found was LSP-4506 (1971): This Jerry Reed LP is the only LP I have displaying both technologies. While RCA was pressing flimsy LPs since 1969, this LP is the earliest LP I have where they discuss the "advancement" on the LP jacket. Since the vinyl formulation change occurred after the ’68 label switch (from the "Nipper" (dog) label to the ugly-orange label) any '60s Nipper label pressing will exhibit pre-flexible vinyl.
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Near as I can figure, from 1963-1971, all RCA LPs seem to show the DynagrooVe propaganda on the front and/or rear cover — the exceptions being this Al Hirt LP (LSP-3878; 1967), as well as some of the rock artists I have from 1969 onward (e.g., Noah, Sky, Cat, and the Lighthouse LP below — their debute — which is another one of those awful foil covers [see Nat Adderley / Calling Out Loud; SP-3017].)
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Rudy

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I got the Blue Note Classic Vinyl reissue of Horace Silver's Song For My Father yesterday. It's a pretty good series, reissuing core titles from the catalog but at a relative "bargain" price. They skimp a little on the packaging (such as, using a paper innersleeve), but the record is still 180g and mastered by Kevin Gray. The Tone Poet series (which the aforementioned Stanley Turrentine is part of) is a bit more lavish, with a gatefold jacket featuring photos of the musicians.

An AM+ version of Herbie Mann's Glory of Love arrived today. Aside from a couple of pops (it needs a cleaning), it's in excellent condition. I think I now have all A&M/CTi titles either on vinyl or CD. (I kind of want everything on clean vinyl just to have a complete set, but at least I have the music now.)
 

JOv2

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Capitol had a bit of a struggle with some of their earlier stereo LPs
Don't know how true this is, but I read on-line many years ago that Capitol conducted separate monaural and stereo sessions early on: They employed their "mono 8" (or something like that) where up to eight mics were used to capture the orchestra, while their earliest stereo recordings were simply captured from two mics oriented to capture both room ambience as well as the instruments. I met a fellow years ago who was collecting all Capitol monaural and stereo versions from the early stereo era (probably 1956-59), and he relayed a similar story. He further explained that the monaural dates were more close-miked and that he thought they were better produced. I have a couple Les Baxter Monaural LPs and they are sonically gorgeous.
 

Rudy

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I met a fellow years ago who was collecting all Capitol monaural and stereo versions from the early stereo era (probably 1956-59), and he relayed a similar story. He further explained that the monaural dates were more close-miked and that he thought they were better produced.
That's what I'm hearing also. Kenton in Hi-Fi (1956) is a perfect example. The mono version is much tighter, whereas the stereo sounds distant, and the upright bass is weak. (The stereo LP also edits one track, uses a different take for another, and omits a third.) The engineers also got a little heavy-handed with the legendary Capitol reverb chamber in some of the stereo recordings, like Viva Kenton! which came three years later. The new mix with the reverb dialed way back has a lot of punch to it, so that one didn't suffer from distant mics like some of their others did. Yet with Sinatra's Come Dance With Me, the stereo LP again sounds a bit distant compared to the mono, although not as much as with the Kenton. That album also had a remix in later years, as the digital versions I've heard aren't the same as the LP.
 

JOv2

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That's what I'm hearing also. Kenton in Hi-Fi (1956)
I have the stereo of this release and agree. When creating that stereo soundstage with your loudspeakers, the reverb can make or break the stereophonic illusion. Some of those '50s reverb-bathed releases actually work well -- but one needs a large room with adequate sound-dampening tiles and a pair of 15' Tannoys!
 

JOv2

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got the Blue Note Classic Vinyl reissue of Horace Silver's Song For My Father yesterday. It's a pretty good series, reissuing core titles from the catalog but at a relative "bargain" price. They skimp a little on the packaging (such as, using a paper innersleeve), but the record is still 180g and mastered by Kevin Gray.
Any immediate sonic takeaways? How do these new mastering compare against the old VanGelder '60s issues?
 

JOv2

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Duophonic, though, was one to be dreaded. It was basically a mono recording sent through a comb filter to produce fake stereo.
My dad was an electrical engineer who was on the "hi fi kick" (as he called it) back in the 1950s... He built his own monaural amp and assembled his speakers in the mid '50s. He explained a great deal to me about sound reproduction. Though much of it I didn't fully grasp, the "fake stereo" business was easy -- because he could demonstrate the sonics on a given LP. Rudy is spot-on: these things sound hideous -- as though someone muffled the high-end on one channel and muddied the bass on the other...

It's interesting to note that Beach Boys' producer, Brian Wilson, was probably the only major label producer still issuing monaural-only mastered LPs in 1967 (there were no stereo mixes of Beach Boys LPs while Brian produced, 1964-67). One can only wonder: had he not withdrawn from the group and continued to spearhead the group's writing and arranging, what would have happened once mono was put out to pasture by mid '68?
 

Rudy

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Any immediate sonic takeaways? How do these new mastering compare against the old VanGelder '60s issues?
I've never owned any original pressings--these days they are too expensive and/or worn to acquire. But it would be interesting to compare, and see how much the master has deteriorated over the decades. With Kevin Gray's mastering, these sound as good as they'll get, given the condition of the source tapes. The Horace Silver sounds a little more tired than the Stanley Turrentine, for instance. And having a similar conversation on another forum, another person also made the same observation of the sound on Silver's LP that I did.
 

JOv2

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What little I've heard of Grey's work, I surely like -- for instance Stevie Wonder's '70s cycle as prepared for gold-CD release on the old Audio Fidelity label years ago...

I'm lucky to have a couple '60s Blue Notes I acquired back in the '80s, but never did a side-by-side sonic evaluation. Although, about 20 years ago, before the recent LP boom, a friend and I did an A/B Blue Note comparison with Eric Dolphy's Out To Lunch: the '80s CD vs. an '80 re-issue LP. (At the time, my friend bought and recently restored an EICO, I think it had smoooooth, sweeeeet EL-84s.) The difference? Well, the CD seemed a little harder-edged and bulkier with stronger bass and glassier highs; the LP didn't hit as hard, and had muddier bass. In the end, we decided it was just whatever one fancied for sound -- both had advantages and disadvantages.
 
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