BILL EVANS RIVERSIDE RECORDINGS
• 180g Vinyl
• Facsimiles of each original jacket
• 18-page booklet detailing Evans’ career and his Riverside eraAlbums Included:
Everybody Digs Bill Evans, Explorations, Portrait In Jazz, At Shelly’s Manne-Hole, Hollywood, How My Heart Sings!, Interplay, Moonbeams, Waltz for Debby, Sunday at the Village Vanguard, Know What I Mean? (Cannonball Adderley), New Jazz Conceptions
I mentioned in my Christmas Beatnik article that this was one of the many LPs that my wife got me for Christmas. In that article I said, “These are the best sounding Bill Evans recordings I have ever heard. I do not have mint copies of any of the originals, but I do have a couple of “VG+++” to “Near Mint-“, and they do not compare in overall sound or dynamics. My only complaint with this set is that, for the money, they could have gotten a decent box that wasn’t so tight that you can’t get the LPs in and out.”
Well, now that I have had a couple of months to listen to all of them more than once, I wouldn’t change a word of that description. If you dig Bill Evans and what jazz lover doesn’t, then you need to get these before they are all gone. These LPs are, without a doubt, some of the most incredible jazz ever recorded. This box set gives this music to us in a sound that is so incredibly alive, dynamic, and quiet that it’s easy to forget you’re listening to recordings.
I do have a few regrets about these great LPs though. First, the whole box set is so expensive that it would have been nice if they were also released individually for those who cannot lay out this much money at one time. Second, for this kind of money the box itself could have been more substantial and better made. Still, if you can afford them and get them before they are gone, they come with my very highest recommendation.
THE MAHLER PROJECT SYMPHONIES 1-9
Conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas
Limited Edition 45-rpm 180g 23LPs
Mastered by Kevin Gray at AcousTech Mastering Comes with a Hardbound book with extensive liner notes, bios, and archival photographsPrice: $750
This Deluxe and incredibly expensive 23-LP set is the culmination of the seven-time Grammy winning Mahler Cycle recorded live at the San Francisco Symphony’s Davies Symphony Hall from 2001-2009. The series was first released in individual installments on Hybrid SACDs, and were a commercial and critical success. This one-time only offer is strictly limited to 1000 individually numbered sets and possibly only 500 if there are not enough preorders for the last 500.
I owned seven of the SACDs and sold them for enough to almost pay for the vinyl. I guess the real question is why would anyone buy vinyl version of recordings that were originally recorded in DSD. Well, for me it was a matter of the fact that my reference system no longer has a digital source unless I have one in for review. The truth is that these beautiful DSD recordings come across even more beautifully on vinyl.
Truth is, all 23 LPs sound incredible. I go to Davies Hall often and I heard them perform the 1st, 3rd, and 8th Mahler Symphony. The recordings have captured the sound in a very admirable way. Also, the vinyl is as quiet as any I have ever heard and that was before I cleaned them. I cleaned them as I listen to them over a few weeks. Everything about this box set is quality, from the sound to the outstanding quality of the box, the covers of each LP, as well as the beautiful, and informative hardback book that came with it.
I don’t know if I can justify the cost, but that’s not my job, is it? Truth is, you have to make that decision. I know I don’t regret my decision; and by the way just in case you wondered, I paid full price just like everyone else. (Whenever I see a Dagogoan paying full price for anything, I give them a lecture. -Pub.)
Miles Davis Quintet/Great Prestige Recordings 45 RPM Box Set
The New Miles Davis Quintet, Cookin’, Relaxin’, Workin’, Steamin’
Miles Davis, trumpet
John Coltrane, tenor sax
Red Garland, piano
Paul Chambers, bass
Philly Joe Jones, drums
In 1996, Analogue Productions released one of their most successful and collectible projects, The Miles Davis Quintet/The Great Prestige Recordings box set. It was a five-LP set at 33 1/3. Then, around 2009 the five-album set was reintroduced as a 45-rpm 10-LP box set, and let me tell you it’s more stunning than ever!
It features very nice, 12″ x 12″, 16-page informative booklet.The LPs come in a beautiful, heavy-duty box. In my opion, this set is the very best of Miles Davis’ work. These recordings were done for the Prestige label from 1951 through 1956. The sound of these 45-rpm LPs are as good as the music! The set contains all five of the immortal “in’” recordings Miles did for Prstige: Miles, Relaxin’, Workin’, Cookin’ and Steamin’. Add to this that these recordings are done by my favorite, the Miles Davis’ group, featuring Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Philly Joe Jones, Paul Chambers and Red Garland. All of those albums are included in this limited edition box set.
The albums are pressed on 180-gram vinyl and mastered from the original analog tapes by Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman at AcousTech Mastering. Each LP has a beautiful reproduction of the original album covers and liner notes, plus an essay by Bob Blumenthal and photos of the band by William Claxton, Sy Johnson and Bengt H. Malmqvist.
If you are a Miles Davis fan, get these while they last; they are simply worth every penny they cost.
Harold Farberman – The All Star Percussion Ensemble
1. Bizet: Carmen Fantasy
2. Beethoven: Scherzo, from Symphony No. 9
3. Pachelbel: Canon in D
4. Berlioz: March to the Scaffold, from Symphonie Fantastique
This is an unusual on- LP box set, and I should admit right off hand, not for everyone. It was originally recorded March 8 and April 12, 1982 at New York’s Vanguard Recording Studio. This 200-gram reissue comes from Golden String and First Impression Music. It was remastered by Doug Sax and pressed at Quality Record Pressings, a division of Acoustic Sounds. It includes a very informative insert and is packaged in a high quality, artsy looking box with a hinged lid.
Harold Farberman was born in New York City and began his career as a percussionist. He won a scholarship to Julliard, was the spotlighted drummer at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, and at age 20, became the youngest player in the history of the famed Boston Symphony Orchestra at that time. He became a sought-after conductor. He worked with such ensembles as the New Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, the Denver Symphony and the Oakland Symphony. On this LP, Farberman has recorded works by four composers all performed by the All-Star Percussion Ensemble. The ensemble features ten head percussionists from seven famous orchestras in the U.S.A., many of whom were Farberman’s students. The ten players handled a total of some 60 to 80 instruments, varying from piece to piece. You can ever so barely hear their footsteps as they run from one instrument to another, while maintaining a wonderful synchronicity with Farberman’s innovative arrangements. The LP features percussion arrangements of popular light classics that include Bizet: “Carmen Fantasy”; Beethoven: “Scherzo, from Symphony No. 9”; Pachelbel: “Canon in D” and Berlioz: “March to the Scaffold, from Symphonie Fantastique”.
Whether or not you like this album will depend on your personal taste for avant-garde arrangement and performances of these classics. I have to admit that these wouldn’t be the first performances of these works I would reach for, but I will reach for this LP from time to time. It’s a lot of fun beautifully recorded on dead quiet vinyl. It has huge dynamics, incredibly fast micro-dynamics, really shows off the frequency extremes. It is admittedly what I would call an Audiophile Record, but in the best and most fun sense of the word.
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