|Guitarist (Elektra Musician)|
|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)|
|Duets (with Stanley Jordan)|
|East West Time Line|
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.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 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,
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"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.
Editor's Introduction: In 1963, Stereophile's founder J. Gordon Holt published attacks on what he saw as the single largest step backward in high-fidelity sound reproduction at that time: RCA's introduction of "Dynagroove" LP records, where the recorded signal was pre-distorted and dynamically...www.stereophile.com
If I had to list some favorite Mancini titles beyond soundtracks:
And the soundtracks of course...it's probably easier to list was wasn't a favorite!
- 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)
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.
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.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
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.I've always said Mancini produced up to "five" albums worth of music per year.
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...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
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.Capitol had a bit of a struggle with some of their earlier stereo LPs
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.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 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!That's what I'm hearing also. Kenton in Hi-Fi (1956)
Any immediate sonic takeaways? How do these new mastering compare against the old VanGelder '60s issues?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.
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...Duophonic, though, was one to be dreaded. It was basically a mono recording sent through a comb filter to produce fake stereo.
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.Any immediate sonic takeaways? How do these new mastering compare against the old VanGelder '60s issues?