Blue Note 45rpm reissue

I am suprised that I can't find much discussion concerning the new Blue Note 45rpm reissue's from Music Matters. I got my first two and they are wonderful! Very quiet and dynamic. Solid classic jazz. Sound stage is deep and on a few occasions I jumped up because of a noise in my kitchen, (off the music room), or a knock on the door only to find out that the sound stage has expanded further into the room. Anyone else try these out or heard any other offerings than the first two?
These first two LPs are great! I agree with your observations about these pressings - treasures to have. The second two LPs are only now being shipped to retailers, according to posts by Joe Harley on the Steve Hoffman music forum. I have mine ordered through Elusive Disc and can't wait to get them in hand. As I commented in an earlier thread: GET THESE WHILE YOU CAN. This is going to be a great reissue series judging by what I'm hearing in the first two releases of the series. These will not last.
I agree that the first two installments are superb - - - particularly the Horace Parlan. I subscribe directly from Music Matters and got an email confirmation yesterday that the next two sets are on their way - -- due here next Thursday. Eagerly awaiting the shipment!
I just got notification of the next two being sent. I did end up subscribing direct from Music Matters for the full 64 lps. It will take away from my general music fund however I am discovering that I cannot have all the music, vinyl, that I want. Yet.
I've found that, for me, this will always be the case... :-) Wish that it were not.

I cannot have all the music, vinyl, that I want. Yet.
Too many Speakers Corner Mercury reissues also coming out to commit to the entire Blue Note series coming from both Music Matters and Analogue Productions. And then there are wonderful things like the Kavi Alexander recording of Ry Cooder and V.M. Bhatt. Ah, well... Never thought I'd see the day of a wonderful vinyl resurgence like we're enjoying.
I concur with all and was hesistant to subscribe to the reissues, but, hell you only live once and these are like someone pointed out treasures you'll cherish.
As Davt points out, I too have muted my system as I think I hear something outside the record -- only to find that knocking or whatever has subsided.
I now know it's coming when I play the record, and yet, I find myself muting again.
Amazing recordings. Can't wait for the Hank Mobley issue.
Are most of these mono? Is there a "best way" to order the lot of them?
Dan_ed, check the web site,, they address the mono vs. stereo well. I am not sure if they are still taking subscription orders or not, they were very helpful when I called. The site also discusses their special jackets etc.
Thanks Davt! I signed up while the wife wasn't looking. No biggy, she'll be happy I'm not spending mega-bucks on equipment this time. :-)

The mono vs. stereo "issue" is addressed on the website. It doesn't matter much to me but may provide an excuse for acquiring a good mono cart and mounting it on my second arm.

I think for folks like me who aren't well versed in jazz this is an excellent way to go.
Dan_ed, these will all be issued in stereo (with a possible few exceptions with some of the earliest titles). From Joe Harley's comments on the Music Matters web site:
"The mono vs. stereo question confronts anyone dealing with reissues of Rudy Van Gelder’s Blue Note masters."

If the goal is getting to the essence of the music, we discovered that you cannot take a dogmatic view of this issue. Rudy Van Gelder first began recording Blue Note sessions in stereo in March of 1957. From then until an October 30, 1958 Art Blakey session, Rudy simultaneously ran both mono and stereo session tapes. After that session, Rudy abandoned the practice of running both mono and stereo session tapes and recorded strictly in stereo. The evidence is there for anyone to see who examines the original master tapes. When Steve Hoffman, Kevin Gray, Ron Rambach and I began our first mastering session with our first six Blue Note masters we couldn’t help noticing the clearly marked (by Alfred Lion) notations indicating “monaural masters made 50/50 from stereo master” on the master tape boxes. Quite frankly, our expectation going into this project was that both mono and stereo masters existed and that the mono masters would probably be preferred. After all, in the LP collector market it is the mono Blue Notes that are most prized. Steve, Kevin, Ron and I put up the first tape (Horace Parlan’s great “Speakin’ My Piece” session) with an open mind. To our collective surprise, when listening to the master tape, the stereo was greatly preferred to the (summed) mono. There was no doubt that the stereo presentation much more clearly presented the quintet performing these six great tunes that July day in 1960 at Rudy Van Gelder’s Englewood Cliffs studio. The stereo presentation revealed more air, more detail and more sheer life than the mono. The mono playback was a wonderful remembrance of the old LP we all knew and loved. The stereo playback from the original masters was eerie. It was like going back in time to that day in Rudy’s studio. Quite simply, the stereo masters revealed more of what it was like to be there that day."

Listening to tape after tape during that first two-day mastering session revealed the same thing. And every one of those master tape boxes had the same hand written notation “mono master made from 50/50 stereo.” For me, and for everyone involved, the great RVG mono/stereo controversy had been solved once and for all."

...As good as the mono originals are, after the October 30, 1958 session at Van Gelder Studios the mono masters were made by folding down the original stereo master. Once we heard the actual stereo masters, the decision was made: when a stereo Blue Note master exists, we will use that stereo master to cut our lacquers for this series."
Thanks Rushton,

I had read that but didn't really know what the mono distribution was within the series.
Anyone able to share comparatives of these Music Matters to Analogue Production in sound and pressing quality?
Hmmm..., The Analogue Production Blue Notes have not yet been released. But both the AP and the Music Matters Blue Notes are/will be mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray on the same equipment, and both are/will be pressed in the same pressing plant, RTI. They should be identical in their sonics, the difference will be in the packaging.

From what I hear comparing the Fantasy 45 series from Analogue Productions and the first of the two Blue Notes from Music Matters, I don't expect to hear any sonic differences between the Blue Notes from Analogue Productions and the Blue Notes from Music Matters.
Just got notification that my first two copies have been shipped. Can't wait to track the quality of these given that RTI is pressing them, or so I understand. Hopefully, the guys at Music Matters have a good process in place that may stand as a model for others wishing to do reissues.
Dan_ed, when I recieved my first two I inspected them very very closely with a magnifing glass, cleaned them carefully with a vpi and re-inspected them. On the second side of one album I found a flaw in the grooves that I could see with the magnifying glass and good light. Absolutely flat on all records and on both sides. I played all LP's at high sound levels and never heard anything other than the music at the sight with the very small visual flaw. I did get a little tube noise from my phono stage at very high sound levels but this was higher than I would play. If the rest of the LP's are the same it will be a super collection. Next two due at my door tomorrow.
I received my first two copies of this series yesterday. They are actually the second two in the series. Guess I'll have to specifically order the first two. I have done a visual inspection of both but only had time to listen to Lou Donaldson. Both sets of LPs are flat. No warps of any kind. The Kenny Drew set did have a seam that didn't take the glue. I chose to re-glue it myself. Otherwise, I can find no physical issues with either set. The LD+3 LPs are very quiet. No issues at all. I'm pleased with them.
Got mine Monday!! excellent quality I only had the chance to Kenny Drew. Dan you answered my question this is the second installment, I too must order the first two.
So there are 64 in all huh?
Might I pose a question to all those who have subscribed or who ar contemplating doing so.
This series is roughly $3,500, does this border on being too expensive?or I it just me?
or just a sound investment? I know everybody is say that depends well let's just talk about it
Expensive yes, but fantastic music and sound. I just finished listening to the third and forth releases; Lou Donaldson's LD +3 and Kenny Drew's Undercut. So far I love each release. Can these be found use, maybe? Still, getting LP's for $50 may be cheap compared to how much time and effort one would spend trying to find a pristine used LP and that may not as good as these.

Please don't remind me, or my wife, about the $3200.00 for the lot. I've got 5,300 records already and I know its not an investment. Its crazy love of music.
If you're concerned that this series (along with the upcoming BN series from Acoustic Sounds) is 'too expensive':

First, do a search on ebay for what original BN's are selling for. In many cases, in the thousands.

Then, realize that for 50.00, you'll have a brand spanking new, pancake-flat, heavy-vinyl lp that will have better sonics (45 rpm, careful re-mastering, fewer copies), super-low noise, and, as an added bonus, fantastic Wolf photos on a gatefold cover.

Plus, they'll probably rise in value through the years.

That's about as good a 'value' as you'll find in the world of hi fi.
How much overlap is there between the two series in terms of titles produced?
Kthomas, there is no overlap between the Music Matters and the Analogue Productions Blue Note releases. The titles announced for each series are listed here:

Analogue Productions series

Music Matters series

This is going to be a challenging year on the pocket book. :^)
I have to say in all fairness that I have found a couple of minor issues with my copy of Kenny Drew's Undercurrent. The 1st LP does have a slight dish warp and some distortion in the lead out groove, just a second or two after the music ends. Neither is enough of an issue to me to warrant a return. But I realize some folks might be more demanding so that's why I am posting it here.

At the same time, I think Undercurrent is the best I've heard so far as music content goes. Really a fun listen!

I just received my copies of December's releases so there is more for me to savor this weekend.
I feel lucky to have the opportunity to purchase such great re-issues at a decent price compared to the price gouged ones we see on e-pay. That being said, I ordered from both collections. Now the wait.

I praise anyone taking a chance to conduct re-issues of this caliber and provide it to us. Now, their should be more record labels coming on board issuing their old stock back to the masses.
Here is another point of view. I am very used to the Blue Note sound , beeing
collector of original pressings , mono and stereo. Reading about the rave around
those 45 RPM reissues, I bought Horace Parlan "Speakin my piece" and compared with the mono deep groove and the stereo New York USA reissue.
The 45 RPM sounds quiet, detailled, and respects all the frequencies, but the soundstadge is thinner, the feeling is dry and cold,and tiredly pronounced, like digital. The mono sounds full bodied, engaging ,warm ,huge soundstage, less detailed, but you want to listen for more lenghtly periods. The stereo is also warm , more consticted soundstage but also appealing. Having the 3 copies , if I have to choose I'd listen to the originals rather than music matters reissues. But I am lucky to have the choice, the prices are so high now. The Japanese King are less expensive and are very quiet and similar to the New York issues sonicaly.
This is for the sound. The vinyl work is of a lesser quality than the originals or japanese: slight warping, label not strictly in the middle,...
Art work is nice, nice pictures inner cover, but could add more info like mosaic did. For me 45 RPM is maybe a theoretical advance but in reality it is not better than 33 RPM . Plus the hassle to turn record every 10 min.
This is my observation. I prefer 33 rpm even cheap Blue note reissues.Sonicaly and on practical point of view.
Jloveys: Thanks for your opinion. I have the Mobley "Soul Station" on order and am interested in how it sounds as well as the quality of the vinyl.

For the most part, I am simply not up to paying the prices for Blue Note originals (especially on the titles that typically go for huge money) and taking a chance on whether the record has been abused or has groove damage. That being said, some of the New York, USA Blue Notes, or even Liberty Blue Notes I have, for that matter, sound very, very good providing they have not been ridden hard and put away wet.

I've also read very good things about the King Blue Notes and am toying with the idea of acquiring a few of them.

I'm very curious, and may post a question at the Steve Hoffman forums as to whether the new re-issues are analog all the way through or whether they are subject to the common quickie digital delay to save cutting heads right at the end, as this may explain the sound quality you are describing.

High quality originals, or even 2nd or 3rd issues are very often hard to beat.

Thanks for your input.
The Hoffman and Gray mastering process is all analog with no digital preview in the circuit.
I do respect the mastering work of mr. Hoffman and Gray, but the recording engineer who initialy mastered the tapes is Rudy Van Gelder who had the advantage to be in direct contact with the musicians and the sound we hear on the original records or every reissue with RVG stamped in is the sound the artists wanted to have. Sould be interesting to ask living legends like Sonny Rollins or Lou Donaldson what they think about that.
Another problem with very quiet noise floor pressings is when there is a small click or pop you hear it like an explosion !
Of course the price of originals is ridiculously high, but 50 buck's ain't nothing, and limiting the copies like they do is producing a collectible , lots of sellers buy them to make profit on e-bay, like mosaic boxes, but the quality of the mosaic is far superior, because they are historicaly complementary of the original release, not just plain reissues.I am scared to see time passing , mastering engineers passing, the original musical message fainting, like most of actual blue note remixes.
Limiting the number of copies of a plain reissue is not deserving the music lover and audiophile, it is just making more money to those e-bay thiefs who are just robbing you, audiophiles. That is why I prefer to give my money to Blue Note who is maybe producing (very little) lesser quality reissues, but the profit goes to promote new artists . Music should reach everyone, not a limited quantity numbered of persons. This is democracy.
I must add that the whole thing about this hobby is EMOTION.
The way music makes you cry sometimes. Easier in a jazz club with live musicians than on your sofa. If the recording is too accurate and dry , all the emotional impact is vanishing. I think it depends a lot of the emotional mood of the engeneer at that time. Maybe Steve Hofman was in a bad mood on that record . I have a friend who has them all to now . I'll post my opinion .
It must be difficult to master without musician, just tapes. Virtual world.
Jloveys, the licensing with EMI, who now own the Blue Note catalog, determines the number of copies Music Matters and Analogue Productions are allowed to press. This is a very expensive undertaking, and from Joe Harley's comments posted on the Hoffman Music Forum it is quite apparent that EMI is monitoring the quantity pressed quite strictly. Could they have contracted to press a larger number? Possibly. But they are the ones who had to pay the entire press run licensing fee up front and find the capital to do that, not you nor I.
"Remember, we have our life savings in this venture. It's our asses on the line, no one else."
Joe Harley, post at Steve Hoffman Music Forums

As to the sonics of these 45 rpm stereo reissues, The folks behind this effort are quite clear on their objectives: they are trying to put onto vinyl the best sounding pressings of these master tapes possible, not trying to match what folks may be used to hearing on the originals, but to put out something as close as possible to what one hears when playing back the original master tape. They openly acknowledge that these will not sound like other pressings of these recordings that people may be used to hearing. Joe Harley notes in one of his posts:
"We definitely encourage that [a direct comparison between a mint original and these new re-issues] Audiolab. Between Ron and myself, we have mint copies of practically the entire Blue Note catalog. As you can imagine, one of the first things we did when the mastering process began was to make those comparisons."

I will tell you that these pressings sound different from the originals. I'll leave it for you to decide whether they are better or not."
Joe Harley, post at Steve Hoffman Music Forums
Dear Rushton, I certainly don't want to argue about the fact that this reissue is better or not than the old ones. I just give my personal impressions and I certainly wish succes to Music Matters because they certainly do a nice job.
I was just giving my humble opinion.
No doubt the sound of these new 45 reissues is awesome . Just not to my taste.
I disagree with you a bit, Jloveys. Yes, you have expressed your opinion. But you have also attempted to disparage this series and the folks who put it together. You come off as having an agenda. Perhaps that is not your intent, but that's what it comes across as.

Also, I think you chose the the worst of the lot to comment about soundstage. I agree the the Parlance LP is somewhat disintegrated. The Kenny Drew Lp is much, much better in this regard.
Jloveys, I certainly did not intend to offer any criticism of you commenting on what is important to you for enjoying the music. That is truly fair game and good to share, and I've enjoyed the portions of your comments that focus on that. If I came across otherwise, I apologize.
I, for one, don't think Jloveys had any agenda with respect to his original posting and appreciated his comparison with original or close to original pressings of the same performance. I felt he was evenhanded in his criticism and detailed what he heard without being nasty. There are lots of raves about the new BN reissues but almost all of them do not compare the reissues to originals.

Obviously, this is a subjective hobby and one person's better may be another person's worse. I'll be purchasing selective titles from both the MM and the AP reissues (unless I run into quality control issues) as I think, in the worst case scenario, they'll represent good value relative to originals costing $200-$500.

One must also bear in mind that recording quality was not absolutely consistent even with the Blue Note label; it depended on how things were set up that day at each individual recording session. So it is likely that, regardless of the quality of these performances, there will be qualitative differences in recording quality (regardless of what a fabulous job Mr. Hoffman and Gray do) with the master tapes.

MM and AP are to be commended for taking on the project and making this music available at semi-reasonable prices even if some people feel the originals sound better. I don't have a problem with that.
Jloveys, let me be clear. The third paragraph of your second post was not really necessary and sounded, to me, quite rant-ish. I hope these guys do make some money so maybe they and others will not be dissuaded from offering other series in the future. After all, even Van Gelder was hoping to make some money off of folks buying his recordings. Sorry if I mis-interpreted your meaning.

I do appreciate your comments on the comparisons to the originals. This series may not be true to the original releases. But if we can believe what Harley says, they may be more truer to the masters. I haven't checked out the dates but it may be possible to track the learning process that Rudy went through to get the end result he was looking for. Anyway, I think the music is very enjoyable. For someone such as myself who does not consider jazz their first choice but still wants to own the recordings, I still think this is a good, hassle free way to own some classic music.

Myself, I have been burned by many jazz reissues. Many are loaded with pressing flaws. I haven't tried the BN reissues you mention but I admit to being shell shocked at the prospect.
JLoveys, where can I get King reissues for less than $50? If you think the Hoffman issues are bright, you should try the Classics or EMI reissues (digital). I find it suprising that one would conclude the originals are warmer. Frankly, I rarely have heard a Hoffman release that sounded brighter than an original. Nevertheless, your comments are duly noted and respected. I'm no expert and my experience is limited in comparison to many.

I will say this. On the Hoffman Fantasy 45s, I found a few that were clearly not $40 better than their OJC counterparts. OJCS (George Horn mastered) always are brighter and thinner sounding. However, they are always a great listen. The difference appears to be that for Blue Note, there really is no OJC counterpart. Closest thing I guess would be the UA/Liberty Blue Notes with "van gelder" in the deadwax but even these go for $20 or more these days.

Finally, I find it surprising that a mono fold down from stereo tapes could sound better than the an issue/reissue from the original stereo tapes. Any explanation here? Maybe it's a matter of taste. I have always preferred stereo blue notes (not rechanneled stereo). It seems there was enough bleed in done by RVG to create a nice soundstage.

I'm sure Jloveys can defend himself, but, with respect to the King re-issues, they're commonly available on E-Bay between $25 and $50 or so-there's a bucket full of them on Buy it Now between $35 and $50 including a Mobley "Soul Station" at $38. Although I don't own any (I've got a couple of Toshiba Blue Notes but the Kings are reportedly better), I think they'd probably be a pretty good bet and less of a crapshoot than buying an actual original with respect to condition.

That being said, I have the Music Matters Mobley on order with a dealer I trade with because I've got a bag of credit there. If it sounds good and doesn't have quality control issues, I'll spring for others. I'd agree with you Plinko that some of the older OJC's sound fabulous. I've got a pre 80's analog NM OJC of Gene Ammon's Blue Gene which sounds incredibly good. On the other hand I have an '87 OJC of Boss Tenor which I can tell is digitally remastered. It actually sounds pretty good, but I've compared it to an early Prestige analog re-issue of the same record which I bought on E-bay and the earlier Prestige definitely sounded better in a way that Jloveys described almost to a T in his original post here with respect to the Blue Notes.

Unfortunately, the earlier version is beat up to the point that I can't stomach listening to it, so for now it is the digital OJC that get's played. If I had an older analog OJC or earlier analog re-issue in near mint or mint condition though they would be the ones getting played and that Boss Tenor somehow gets played less because I know that.
Thanks! ...I'll have another look. Whenever I do look, I only see them for $40 and up. That is why the MM Blue Notes are appealing to me.
I don't have extensive experience with Jazz, so I wasn't familiar with the original pressings. I have to comment thought that even on my meager analog rig (for about one more week, then I'm in high end heaven)I am very impressed with the sound quality of 40 year old recordings. I have the first four and every time I listen to one I just can't believe these were recorded so long ago.

I'm very happy. I didn't know any of the musicians/artists before subscribing, but I love jazz and good quality, so my I'm looking forward to each release.
I have got a warped Horace Parlan, anyone else get a warped LP?
RE: warps. See my post from 3/8/08. Nothing I'm concerned with.
no one ever seems to say this so i will say it again...

many older records were done through a fairchild limiter and more importantly were hotter in the upper mids and cut louder. I find this to be very true with 1500 series blue notes vs the remasters. I am not saying one is better than the other but the scully westrex lathe and the upper mid boost was a real "hot" sound that people liked, and the audiophile crowd doesn't do that.

chess is the same. "muddy waters folk singer" sounds good no mater what issue you have, but the original has an agressive midrange that is very much a sound of old blues. I think it fits. And, i have wondered for a long time that if some mastered blue notes they way they used to be mastered, if it would be really popular or a huge failure.
Unfortunately my recently received copy of Analogue Productions version of the Jackie McLean album has what looks like a piece of paper imbedded halfway through the first track of side 3 and the rest of the album is not exactly noise free! Does no one do QC at RTI? Unbelievably bad. No answer back from Acoustic Sounds(the packaging was excellent by the way) but they are normally very responsive. I'm in Australia so this is going to be one very expensive record as I guess I will have to pay return postage. Bummer!
Phaser, the word over at the Hoffman board was that Acoustic Sounds was going to send out replacements for this incredibly botched initial round of AP 45 Blue Notes. No need to ship the lp back to them. If you emailed and don't want to wait for the response back, I would suggest (the very expensive) phone call.
Plinko, as you have suggested Leesa at Acoustic Sounds who is great to deal with has responded promptly and has advised me to keep the disc and a replacement will be sent out. Unfortunate that it happened and I really cannot understand how the QC process at RTI works or if there is a QC process but at least Acoustic Sounds are responding in the right way. They will be keeping me as a customer!
Just a piece of trivia that may not be news to any of you: There's a big to do on the Acoustic Sounds web site about the AP Blue Note 45s being stereo instead of mono. It turns out that a few of the reissues will be mono, according to their salesperson.
Personally I would prefer mono over the stereo issues of these and other 1950s and 60s vintage recordings.

I'm not set up for mono as of yet.

If you have never heard a good system set up for mono,believe me it's worth the expense!

Vinyl is king of the hill.
The stereo/mono issue was discussed early on in this thread. Most of the masters of these were recorded in stereo and then folded down to mono. So that is the way AP decided to re-issue this series. If the master happens to be in mono, then the re-issue will be mono. In effect, these are re-issues of the master recordings. Not necessarily re-issues of the original issues.
Just got my reciept, the next two are on the way! I have listened to the first two sets from music matters and they are a little different the the originals, much quieter. In some ways I have learned to appreciate the "record player ambience" of the old deep grooves I have in my collection. But boy do I like these new ones. I hope they don't start to rush the pressings as the first four I recieved are absolutely perfect.
Interesting news, word has it that Acoustic Sounds is no longer having RTI press their 45RPM Blue Notes... Hmmmm, I hear the test pressings are sounding good from their new supplier, but with Acoustech at RTI this could get very interesting. RTI has been swamped and quality and due dates have been an issue. I wish Chad and his folks all the best and what's good for them should be great for us too.

Happy Listening!
Timely post. I've been meaning to call Acoustic Sounds-it's been a long, *long* time since I've received an installment of the BN subscription reissues.

I'll call tomorrow, but it seems like a quick e-mail to all the subscribers, informing them of the situation, would be a nice touch. Hate to make another comparison to Music Matters, but MM's customer service has been great-including unsolicited phone calls from the head cheese.

Called AS, they say they're mailing the next four of the series on Jan. 20th, to get the subscribers "caught up".