Revinylization

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Sasha Matson  |  Aug 02, 2022  |  3 comments
Those of you old enough to have heard it when it was new will recall when you first experienced the music of Jimi Hendrix. I was 13, in 1967, when I came home after school with a friend bearing an LP of the just-released US Reprise Records pressing of Are You Experienced. My dad had a floorstanding, monophonic record player.
Tom Fine  |  Jun 30, 2022  |  4 comments
Certain albums stand as monuments because of the influence they had on contemporary and future musicians despite having little commercial success. The Velvet Underground & Nico comes to mind. So do the early Ramones albums. And then there are albums that had just as much influence but were megahits—a much rarer thing.
Fred Kaplan  |  Jun 09, 2022  |  3 comments
I have never written about the ultraboutique reissues from the London-based Electric Recording Company. Pressed in quantities of 300 or so, each title sells out within days (or hours) of its release, despite a price tag of $400 or more. Why review what can't be had?
Fred Kaplan  |  Apr 28, 2022  |  6 comments
Do we need yet another unearthed recording of the Bill Evans trio? I count 22 albums or boxed sets—a total of 49 polycarbonate or vinyl discs—of posthumously released sessions, many of them in just the last few years. But this latest discovery, recorded in Buenos Aires in September 1979, is a stunner. So, to answer the question above: Yes, we do need this recording.
Fred Kaplan  |  Mar 31, 2022  |  1 comments
John Coltrane spent his final years with Impulse! Records, from 1961 until his death, in 1967, at the age of 40. Those years were his most adventurous, as he sorted through every sound he could create in his spiritual quest, as he put it, to "get the one essential." His range of recordings in those years spanned from "Greensleeves" to A Love Supreme, from ballads with pop singer Johnny Hartman to multiphonic fireworks with alto saxophonist Eric Dolphy.
Fred Kaplan  |  Mar 01, 2022  |  2 comments
Round Trip: Ornette Coleman on Blue Note is the first boxed set on the label's Tone Poet imprint, and it's a bold move. Audiophiles are not known to be keen on avant-garde music, but Don Was, Blue Note's president, and Joe Harley, the Tone Poet producer, are huge Ornette fans. They've lately been reissuing some other adventurous titles from the catalog—so good on them! Fellow fans should dive into this one, and the hesitant should give it a try, with some caveats.
Fred Kaplan  |  Feb 03, 2022  |  2 comments
In the annals of jazz, Charles Mingus—bassist, pianist, composer, bandleader, unique, headstrong, and deeply influential in every category—occupies the transit point between Duke Ellington and the post-'60s avant-garde, a station he carved out deliberately.
Tom Fine  |  Dec 21, 2021  |  10 comments
Tattoo You is near and dear to me. It came out in August 1981, just before I entered 10th grade, the age when a person's rock'n'roll aesthetic begins to take shape. This album was formative.

I knew about the Rolling Stones mainly through the Hot Rocks compilation, from listening on radio to hits from Some Girls (which came out when I was too young and sheltered in leafy suburbia to understand the urban grit and decadence described in its lyrics), and from Emotional Rescue, which I owned, and which I thought (and still think) lacks interesting music in the grooves to match the cool cover. I figured the Stones might already be too old to rock.

Fred Kaplan  |  Dec 09, 2021  |  1 comments
In the mid-'60s, modern jazz pivoted. Charlie Parker, the previous era's key revolutionary, had been dead for a decade. "Hard bop," the soul-and-back-beat variant of Parker's bebop, was running out of steam. The Beatles were rocking the world, and jazz would never recover as a branch of "popular music." In response or indifference to these tough transitions, jazz musicians set sail on several experimental paths. In those first few years, the most adventurous voyages were mapped and carved out at Blue Note Records.
Fred Kaplan  |  Nov 11, 2021  |  2 comments
Two new reissues in Blue Note's Classic Vinyl series—Grant Green's Idle Moments and Kenny Burrell's Midnight Blue—capture peaks of jazz guitar's possibilities at a juncture when modernism was primed for a shift to something else. Both albums were recorded in 1963; both sport "the Blue Note sound," which engineer Rudy Van Gelder had refined to its high point. But the two albums lay out very different musical paths.
Tom Fine  |  Sep 15, 2021  |  8 comments
Capitol/UMe 3565238 (5 CD, 1 Blu-ray). 2021. George Harrison, Phil Spector, Harrison, David Zonshine, prods.; Ken Scott, Philip McDonald, Paul Hicks, engs.
Performance *****
Sonics *****

Six weeks after the world's biggest pop group broke up, the "Quiet Beatle" began work on a monumental three-LP album that stands tall a half-century later. George Harrison's first solo album (his third if you count a movie soundtrack and an experimental-music record) is a masterpiece, a musical minestrone of influences and timestamps. For the artist, it was a sprawling release of creative energy too often pent up in the context of the Beatles.

Fred Kaplan  |  Sep 03, 2021  |  2 comments
Mingus at Carnegie Hall documents one of the most extraordinary live jazz concerts. Atlantic Records released a one-disc LP of the same title in 1975,a few months after the heady event, but it included only the second half of the show—late-career Charles Mingus's young quintet jamming for 45 minutes with three older guest stars on Ellington standards "C Jam Blues" and "Perdido" (the latter written by Juan Tizol).
Fred Kaplan  |  Aug 04, 2021  |  17 comments
Does the world need another audiophile reissue of Kind of Blue? This was the obvious question to ask upon news that Chad Kassem's Analogue Productions was joining the party. The album's arrival in the mail (yes, of course, I bought one) signaled that something special might be happening: the classy hard-box slip case with the wooden dowel spine, the Stoughton tip-on gatefold jacket graced with well-reproduced session photos, a handsome booklet, and, finally, the LP: a 200gm UHQR pressing on off-white Clarity vinyl.
John Swenson  |  Jul 02, 2021  |  4 comments
Blood, Sweat & Tears began as Al Kooper's dream of a rock band with horns. By the time he realized the concept—on the band's 1968 debut, Child Is Father to the Man—it had become much more: an engaging hybrid of New York soul, Greenwich Village folk, and innovative jazz arrangements. With producer John Simon at the helm, Child was a virtual definition of the possibilities inherent in the heady musical experimentation of the late 1960s. Kooper's writing and arranging for that record (including the monumental "I'll Love You More Than You'll Ever Know," later a hit for Donny Hathaway) is one of the high points of his storied career.
Tom Fine  |  May 27, 2021  |  2 comments
The central question behind Déjà Vu was "How do you top a classic?" The eponymous debut album by Crosby, Stills & Nash was a case of magic musical synergy meeting the perfect moment. It peaked at #6 on the Billboard 200, won the Grammy for Best New Artist, and opened the door for the trio's legendary performance at Woodstock.

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