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Reissues: Gershwin, Simon & Garfunkel, Dee Dee’s Feathers, Jazz Goes To College

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Gershwin Rhapsody In Blue & An American In Paris, 200g


Limited Edition Vinyl 33 1/3rpm
Pressed at Quality Record Pressings
Plated by Gary Salstrom
Mastered by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound

Earl Wild, piano on "Rhapsody In Blue"
Boston Pops Orchestra on "An American In Paris"
Arthur Fiedler, conductor on "An American In Paris"


Side 1  Rhapsody In Blue

Side 2  An American in Paris

Back when I was in high school, this was one of my first ventures into what I then thought of as classical music. I have enjoyed this recording for over 40 years now. My only regret is I never owned a copy that wasn’t noisy or just didn’t sound good. I don’t remember that bothering me in high school on my Magnavox suitcase stereo, but by college and with my first real system, the noise was somewhat irritating. Still, the music was worth putting up with a little noise.

Every LP of this recording that I have owned, a Living Stereo 3-track recording, by Lewis Layton at Boston Symphony Hall on May 13th and 14th in 1959, has sounded a little distant and muddy. This reissue was cut by Ryan K. Smith from the original 3-track tapes. Yea! The problem I have with reissues and especially one over 55 years old is that the tapes have got to sound poorer than they did in 1959.

Now, for the good news: This reissue sounds more alive and more like you are in the hall than most multi-miked recordings we have now. It easily bests the original I paid more for. Not only is it infinitely quieter, and it’s not just quieter in regard to surface noise, it removes layers of mud giving you a clean window on the performance. This reissue does this without being bright at all.

If you like this performance and recording, then this is the one to own.


Simon & Garfunkel The Concert in Central Park, 180g, 2LP


Pressed at RTI
Remastered from original analog tapes
Mastering/lacquer cutting, Ryan Smith at Sterling
Gatefold Jacket
Includes high quality album download


I have liked Simon and Garfunkel since I first heard them. They have great songs and great lyrics. Throughout the sixties, they were a mainstay of American music. I was disappointed but not surprised when they parted ways for solo careers in 1970.

Where I really think they were groundbreaking was in the studio. Think of the song “The Boxer,” where they lay down track after track as the song continues to build in intensity. Which is probably why I had not been impressed with their live performances.

So, when all the hype started about them getting back together for a live concert in Central Park in 1981, I was skeptical. I shouldn’t have been. Paul Simon and David Matthews did a wonderful job of arranging these songs for a live performance. They changed “Kodachrome,” it has been redone to folk-rock and it works wonderfully. They did a wonderful job of making “The Boxer” a delicate and beautiful arrangement that I wouldn’t have thought would have worked, but it does. Their chemistry was back, and the concert and the event were something very special.

The recording isn’t quite as good technically as some of my favorite live recordings, but it still gets you enough of the live feeling to make it more than worth your time to listen to and your money to buy. By 1981, a lot of mainstream vinyl LPs weren’t being pressed at a very high level. This was surely true of my former copy of this recording.

So, I am glad to tell you that this reissue was remastered from the original analog tapes and pressed at RTI. I wouldn’t suggest this as someone’s only Simon and Garfunkel album. It’s just not as good as those great studio recordings, but it gives you a chance to hear what this amazing duo can do live. I’m glad I got it.


Dee Dee Bridgewater – Dee Dee’s Feathers, 2 LPs, 180 Grams


Side 1
 1. One Fine Thing
 2. What A Wonderful World
 3. Big Chief

 Side 2
 4. Saint James Infirmary
 5. Dee Dee’s Feathers
 6. New Orleans
Side 3
 7. Treme Song/Do Whatcha Wanna
 8. Come Sunday
 9. Congo Square

Side 4
 10. C’est Ici Que Je T’aime
 11. Do You Know What It Means
 12. Whoopin’ Blues


What makes you decide to buy an album? For me, I purchased this one because the Acoustic Sounds website intrigued me when it said the album was: “A modern version of New Orleans by two of the greatest musicians in jazz on a brand new album! Over the course . . . three-time Grammy and Tony Award-winning jazz giant Dee Dee Bridgewater has ascended to the upper echelon of vocalists, putting her unique spin on standards, as well as taking intrepid leaps of faith in re-envisioning jazz classics. Bridgewater served . . . Thad Jones/Mel Louis Big Band, and throughout the 70’s she performed with such jazz notables as Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon and Dizzy Gillespie.

Dee Dee’s Feathers gives a modern vision of New Orleans, painted through the      collaboration of New Orleans Jazz Orchestra’s (NOJO) Artistic Director Irvin Mayfield . . . with traditional songs such as “Big Chief”, “Saint James Infirmary”, and “What A Wonderful World” along with new compositions “Congo Square” and “C’est Ici Que Je T’aime” will transport people through the newly constructed home of Dee Dee Bridgewater in the historic neighborhood of the Tremé.

Well I paid, I listened, and now I recommend! What great music, what great performance and it’s a great recording on quiet vinyl. What else needs to be said. Buy it!


The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Jazz Goes to College, 180 Gram Vinyl

Pressed at RTI
Re-mastered by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound

Dave Brubeck, piano
Paul Desmond, alto saxophone
Bob Bates, double bass
Joe Dodge, drums


  1. Balcony Rock (University of Michigan)
  2. Out of Nowhere (University of Cincinnati)
  3. Le Souk (Oberlin College, OH)
  4. Take the 'A' Train (University of Michigan)
  5. The Song Is You (University of Michigan)
  6. Don't Worry 'Bout Me (University of Michigan)
  7. I Want To Be Happy (University of Michigan)


In 1954, Dave Brubeck’s Quartet went on a tour around the Midwest, taking jazz to college campuses. The music from this tour became their first album for Columbia Records. Dave was joined by alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, double bassist Bob Bates, and drummer Joe Dodge.

The college tour crossed the country visiting major universities and junior colleges. It was conceived by Brubeck’s wife Iola as a way to introduce jazz to a new audience. Brubeck described encountering resistance at the colleges, some of which were reluctant to allow him to perform, but found following initial forays that the quartet was in much demand. As the quartet traveled across the country, he told the Jazz Education Journal, they would play as many as 90 colleges in a four-month period.

Following the album’s release, the quartet was featured on the cover of Time magazine, with the accompanying article describing Brubeck as “the most exciting new jazz artist at work today”. The album enjoyed widespread popularity among college students in the 1950s and early 1960s.

I have treasured my original copy of this album for years. The cover is beat up, and the LP is only about VG+, but man the music is wonderful. It’s bouncy, rhythmic and lots of fun; it’s obvious that both the quartet and the audience were feeding on each other.

This reissue by Razor and Tie is overall better than my copy, simply because it is quieter and has no clicks and pops. The original is a little more transparent, but overall I find the listening experience better with this new reissue. I am very happy to add it to my collection.

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