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The Ray Brown Trio, Michel Camilo, Doobie Brothers, and Duke Ellington, Vinyl Record Reviews

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The Ray Brown Trio Soular Energy

Studio Recordings from Baden-Baden 1958-59
ANALOGUE PRODUCTIONS 200g 45rpm 2LPsMastered by Kevin Gray at CohearentAudio Musicians:
Ray Brown, bass
Gene Harris, piano
Gerryck King, drums
Red Holloway, special guest, tenor sax Emily Remler, special guest, guitar Tracks:
LP1 – Side One:
1. Exactly Like You
2. Cry Me A River
LP1 – Side Two:
1. Teach Me Tonight
2. Take The “A” Train
LP2 – Side Three:
1. Mistreated But Undefeated Blues
2. That’s All
LP2 – Side Four:
1. Easy Does It
2.Sweet Georgia Brown

This is one of my favorite LPs of all time. Back in October of 2009 I wrote about this LP in an article for Dagogo called, Vinyl from the Rockies. It was about four used albums I brought home from the RMAF. All four of these were jazz LPs and all four are simply great music. In that article I shared a personal story about the last time I heard Ray Brown live. It was shortly before he passed away and he was at Yoshi’s in Oakland, California. Sitting in the front row of tables was a youngster who looked to be around seven whose father had brought him to hear Ray Brown for his birthday. During the set Ray asked the boy if he had a request, of all things he requested “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Ray and his drummer proceeded to play the most incredible rendition of it I had ever heard. Come to think of it, it was the only incredibly rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” I have ever heard.

I actually discovered this great album during the time I was giving SACD a chance. By 2009 I had given up on SACD and was trying to find a good copy on vinyl. The copy I brought home from the RMAF was a pristine, NM first pressing on Concord Records. The whole album is fantastic music but there are two songs on this album that are most overwhelmingly beautiful, “Cry Me a River” and “Sweet Georgia Brown.”

My heart skipped a beat when I saw that Analogue Productions was bringing us a 200g, 45rpm version of this LP. To top it off it would be pressed a the new Quality Record Pressing plant and mastered by Kevin Grey. One more thing — at its price of $50.00 it’s a bargain compared to what NM to M original Concord pressing are going for much less the ridiculous price of the Japan pressing.

So how do the two compare? I started by washing my first pressing on the Clearaudio Double Matrix RCM and then listening to it. As I listened I was amazed at how great this 29 year old LP sounded; alive, quite, dynamic, and most of all very, very emotionally involving. I remember thinking, “why did I waste my money on the new 45 release? It will never be this good.”

Well, to my shock I was wrong, very wrong! This reissue does everything the original does, but does it better. First, as quiet as my copy was this pressing allows the music to appear in my room with no hint that it is being played off vinyl. Second, there is just something relaxing about the sound of a well done 45rpm pressing. It loses none of its presence, clarity, or transient speed; but at the same time it is more relaxed and sounds more beautiful.

Let me talk about two cuts to close out this rave review. “Mistreated But Undefeated Blues” has a different sound from all the other cuts on this album, because it adds Red Holloway on tenor sax and Emily Remler on guitar. It’s a bigger sound, almost like a jazz band even though there are only five. On the original this cut can have ever an ever so slight glare and by comparison does not sound as dynamic. The 45rpm sound simply beautiful and the dynamics just explode out of the quite background.

The second cut I want to mention is “Sweet Georgia Brown.” This is a song that almost everybody likes, but I have never thought of it as more than a cute little song. Well, on this rendition and especially with the quietness and relaxed sound of the 45rpm recording this song is very emotionally involving and simply a beautiful thing to hear.

This is simple, if you don’t have a pressing of “Soular Energy” you need one and here is the best one I have heard, and compared to what the originals are going for at a very good price.

Duke Ellington Orchestra – Big Bands Live

Studio Recordings from Baden-Baden 1958-59
JAZZ HAUS 180g LPTracks:
Side A:
1. Take the “A” Train
2. Johnny Come Lately
3. Swamp Goo
4. Knob Hill
5. Eggo
Side B:
1. La Plus Belle Africaine 2. A Chromatic Love Affair 3. The ShepherdMusicians:
Duke Ellington, piano
Cat Anderson, trumpet
Cootie Williams, trumpet
Herbie Jones, trumpet
Mercer Ellington, trumpet
Paul Gonsalves, tenor saxophone
Johnny Hodges, alto saxophone
Harry Carney, baritone saxophone, clarinet Russel Procope, clarinet, alto saxophone Jimmy Hamilton, clarinet, tenor saxophone Chuck Conners, trombone
Lawence Brown, trombone Buster Cooper, trombone John Lamb, bass
Rufus Jones, drums

Wow! What incredible music. A great group of musicians and a great group of songs. This may not be the best recording in the world, but it’s good enough to let me get very emotionally involved with the music. I wouldn’t want to have missed this one, but then it is Ellington.

Michel Camilo

Studio Recordings from Baden-Baden 1958-59
24-Bit Digitally Remastered by Zhamkochyan Studio Musicians:
Michel Camilo, piano
Marc Johnson, bass
Lincoln Goines, bass
Dave Weckl, drums
Joel Rosenblatt, drums
Mongo Santamaria, congasTracks:
1. Suite Sandrine, Pt. 1
2. Nostalgia
3. Dreamlight
4. Crossroads
5. Sunset (Interlude Suite Sandrine) 6. Yarey
7. Pra Voce (For Tania Maria)
8. Blue Bossa
9. Caribe

Ok, let’s just start by saying this isn’t exactly what most vinyl lovers are looking for in a remastered album; that is except for the music. This is the award- winning pianist Michel Camilo’s 1988 debut album and to me it sounds significantly better than the CD. I find Michel Camilo to be a composer and pianist of exceptional talent. He is also one of the artists I wish had more offered on LP, especially his album “Spain” with acoustic guitarist Tomatito.

Doobie Brothers – Live At Wolf Trap

Studio Recordings from Baden-Baden 1958-59
UNIVERSAL 180g 2LPsTracks:LP1 – Side A:
1. Rockin’ Down the Highway
2. Jesus Is Just Alright
3. Dangerous
4. Another Park, Another Sunday LP1 – Side B:
1. Steamer Lane Breakdown
2. South City Midnight Lady
3. Snake Man
4. Five Corners
5. Rainy Day Crossroad Blues LP2 – Side C:
1. Clear As the Driven Snow
2. Don’t Start Me Talkin’
3. Take Me In Your Arms
4. Little Bitty Pretty One

LP2 – Side D:
1. Black Water
2. Long Train Runnin’ 3. China Grove
4. Listen To the Music

Can you say FUN? I mean lots and lots of fun. This is a great live concert, full of energy, emotion, a great audience, and really fun music. This is the third live album by The Doobie Brothers and contains performances from their July 25, 2004 concert at Wolf Trap National Park in Virginia. It’s amazing to me how well they capture their carefree boogie days of the seventies. The Doobie Brothers have sold over 40 million albums and this live performance will tell you why. On “Black Water” and “Jesus is Just Alright” the performance is just magical. Another great track is “Little Bitty Pretty One,” the audience is so engaged that I found myself feeling like I was there.

The sound quality varies a little from one song to another for some reason, but the recording is plenty good enough to capture the magic. This may not be the LP you would pull out to impress your audiophile friends, but if you come to my house I would gladly play if for you and I bet you would have a great time. This is what spinning tunes is all about, and this is the reason I want a system that has great dynamic and can sound alive. I highly recommend it; if you like the songs, buy it!

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