Sleeping Giant

Perhaps the greatest praise anyone can let loose upon any silly piece of audio gear is that it inspires the discovery of new music. Right? Alright then. The Rega P3, in all its ashen splendor, does this for me. So much so that I'm going broke. I feel as though I'm single-handedly (with one hand behind my weary back, that is) revitalizing the record industry. I've spent so much money on new (used) records that I could've purchased my own P3 by now. In fact, I've decided that that's exactly what I'm going to do. I'm going to buy my own P3. I'm in the office now, wishing I was home with the P3. I'm proofreading Michael Fremer's review of the P3-24, which will appear in our July issue, and I'm thinking, I'm going to buy this thing.

John DeVore and Michael Lavorgna will have to come on over to Jersey City for another visit. We'll pick up a couple of six packs, maybe even some Chimay. We'll get a pizza from Frank's Famous. Or maybe we'll stop by Ox and say hi to Heather Duby. Whatever. John DeVore and Michael Lavorgna will have to come and get this magnificent disease out of my home. Take back your P3. I'm going to buy my own. (Not yet! In a few weeks or so. I'm just saying.)

The Rega P3 is a classic. The Rega P3 is one of those components that just sits there—quietly, patiently—and invites you, dares you, tempts you to discover new, dangerous music. Music is the thing.

Of all the new music that's been flooding my living room, covering my orange couch, and keeping me up at night, it's this damn fusion stuff, more than anything, that's got me worried. It's got me worried because I just don't know when or where it's going to end. Perhaps this is the bottomless pit that AlexO was describing. Perhaps AlexO was describing a bottomless pit of music discovery.

The word "fusion" used to gross me out, gave me the heebie-jeebies, made me want to run for cover. I had always associated it with the dreadful tone of Pat Metheny's wimpy guitar and other wretched stuff I'd be mercilessly subjected to when the telephone company put me on hold. Sorry, Pat Metheny, but I hate your music. It pains me to think of it, even now. With the help of the Rega P3, I've come to realize that Pat Metheny's music isn't fusion at all. Thank you, Rega P3. Fusion is something else. Fusion is sex. It's soul. Fusion is sex and soul and funk mixed with jazz and freedom and bold experimentation. It's heavy, heavy stuff. When you hear it, you know it. I'm only just getting started with it.

I was listening to Herbie Hancock's Crossings the other night when my room disappeared.

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Mark Fleischmann's picture

You might want to look at the Music Hall turntable line before you buy. Some of the models in the middle of the line look pretty cool. They're made by Pro-ject in the Czech Republic.

selfdivider's picture

Dammit, steve-o. You & I are on the same boat. I'll be broke in approximately a month, when I get my TT in. Well, not dead broke, but you know what I mean. One more purchase you need to make: Portishead's 3rd, in limited edition box. You'd be surprised if you're expecting that woozy trip-hop from this album, although I loved their 1st 2 albums growing up...

Paul S.'s picture

Try Herbie Hancock's "Thrust" and of course "Headhunters"! My favorite Jazz/Fusion album of all time is Terje Rypdal's "Odyssey". That one takes me to another place!

John Atkinson's picture

Listen to Pat Metheny's playing on Joni Mitchell's "Shadows and Light," Stephen (, then tell me that you don't like his guitar stylings! And you get to hear the late Jaco Pastorius on fretless Fender Jazz Bass at his best.

Lionel's picture

Mahavishnu Orchestra. The first two albums, especially (Inner Mounting Flame, Birds of Fire). Greatest fusion band ever. Ever. Words cannot describe their greatness. I don't think you'd have any trouble finding them on vinyl, and their CDs are now midprice and probably can be found for 10.99 new at a dozen Manhattan stores. Metheny is at his best when he's not doing the smooth jazz thing-- his Ornette Coleman collaborations, or his noisefest ("Zero Tolerance for Silence"). He's a great player, but too often overshadowed by the people he plays with (sorry, JA, but I think that Jaco and Joni herself stand out more than Pat does on that album)

Eric Hancock's picture

Yea -- that is some good Herbie.In the fusion category I'm also quite fond of Return To Forever, Brand X, and Weather Report. Reaching a little farther back, you must listen to Miles Davis' In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew. This is (arguably) where fusion started. Great stuff.

Artie's picture

Yeah, Crossings is a great Herbie Hancock fusion album, but his next one, Sextant, is even better. It features groundbreaking, avant-garde synthesizer work that came down to earth in his next album, the highly commercial Headhunters.

Jack C.'s picture

Have been saving up for a new table for the past 6 months. Was dead set on a VPI Scout but all this P3-24 hype has me hesitating at the altar, as it were. I wouldn't dream of asking you to let Fremer's P3 review/cat out of the editorial bag, but I *will* ask you to weigh in on what you love about it, knowing also it's all subjective hooha anyhow! What cart are yall using at the office? And if you really want to watch the dollars literally fly out of your wallet then buy one or two of those new Blue Note 45 rpm reissues. BTW, the Malkmus/Jicks new one is a keeper on vinyl as well!

AlexO's picture

No, the bottomless pit is not the music you discover. The bottomless pit is all the equipment you'll have to buy to optimize your new rig.However, if you're buying Chimay, I will volunteer to come over and serve as either the tone arm counterbalance or as the record weight. All I ask is you don't spin me at higher than 33 RPM.If you like, I can even bring my Rega Planet 2000 and put on the Stereophile disk featuring Sam Tellig's evil laugh.

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