Recording of October 1978: For Duke

Bill Berry and His Ellington All-Stars: For Duke
Works by Duke Ellington
Bill Berry, cornet; Ray Brown, bass; Frankie Capp, drums; Scott Hamilton, tenor sax; Nat Pierce, piano; Marshal Royal, alto sax; Britt Woodman, trombone.
M&K Real-Time RT-101 (direct-to-disc LP).

This is to-date the best direct-to-disc recording I have heard. For once I can't complain about the high end being shrill or hard. The balances are excellent and the performances superior, with each member of the group getting his chance to show off. Marshal Royal's saxophone solos must be heard to be believed, Everyone present is obviously having a good time making music, which is the way it always ought to be but often isn't.

The highs on this disc are extraordinary—nothing like what I have come to think of as the German-microphone sound (hard and sizzly). Yet the mikes used were in fact German AKGs and Neumanns; the difference is that they were extensively modified by Miller and Kreisel Sound Corp's Ken Kreisel, who is to be congratulated for the success of his efforts.

I am most pleased to report that this superb disc is but a taste of things to come: Scheduled for release by M&K in the near future are: recordings of Earl "Fatha" Hines; Ed Graham, a percussionist; a Flamenco show with a rousing contest between drummer and dancers; and most exciting, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony will be recorded early in July.

We look forward to auditioning all these releases as soon as possible and give M&K top marks for building an exciting and diverse catalog.—Margaret Graham

Editor's Addendum: Everyone making perfectionist-oriented discs ought to take a long, open-minded listen to this. The high end is as open and natural as anything yet committed to disc; the cymbals sound real. And the other instruments—even those which are a bit too close to the nearest mike—have a naturalness of timbre and formant structure that has rarely been equaled and never to date surpassed.—J. Gordon Holt

Anton's picture

One of the highest quality LPs of all time.

Satin Doll kills.

Kills, I tells ya.

This is the perfect thing to play for any audiophile who eschews vinyl.

Thanks for posting it!

Lincolnmat's picture

I was lucky enough to find a copy of this in the "New Used" bin of my local record store in June. I wasn't familiar with it, but liking Duke and it being a Direct-to-Disc, I bought it. I wasn't prepared for how fabulous it is. Hadn't gone back far enough to find this under old Records of the Month. But I did find it on TAS Greatest LP list and can only agree with both.

A friend had it on Tidal, but was totally unimpressed. He was amazed when I played the LP for him. The listing eventually fell off Tidal. Not sure if it is permanently gone, or is being recoded in MQA. Not sure if it was a transcription of the disc or a backup tape.

BLI's picture

> Yet the mikes used were in fact German AKGs and Neumanns; the difference...

If AKGs are German, then I guess Stereophile is British? :-)

(AKG is an Austrian company, now a subsidiary of Samsung, I guess.)
As a long time Duke fan, is the album available as digital download?

Anton's picture

I have never seen it as being available in Hi Rez.

Perhaps a better shopper than me will know.

*Even the CD is worth your while.*

Allen Fant's picture

Is this avail on CD/SACD ?