FIM'S "Autumn in Seattle" LP
Analog is Forever
This new LP on the First Impressions Music label (FIM 004 – R) came my way as sort of surprise. The packaging is very deluxe. The 200 gram LP was pressed at Acoustic Sounds new Quality Records pressing plant and it's noise free and is a flat edge pressing. The LP itself is packed inside of a box reminiscent of a UHQR and with a booklet that contains all the details of the recording and the personnel.
The outside of the box itself is embossed with the FIM logo. The box has a wrap around binder on the edge of the cover and that holds the box together when you open it up. The music on this LP was recorded at the request of Winston Ma of FIM. It features one of Japans premier pianists Tsuyoshi Yamamoto and his trio. Which is famous to the Japanese Three Blind Mice label with that being one of Winston Ma’s favorites.
The LP opens with “The Way We Were” and the sound is very close and intimate with the piano centered and slightly to the left with warm bass placed slightly to the right of center. The high hat enters and the sound is wide open and transparent but the stage is not really wide. The sound is just wide enough to extend to the outside edges of the speakers. The drums enter at midpoint with brushes accenting the piece. You may not immediately recognize the music.
The cut “Autumn in Seattle” was written for Winston Ma and he gave the song its name. It is stated in the booklet that it reminded him of Seattle in the fall or the autumn of the year. The piano is set back a little more on this cut and plays a beautiful dropped ending with the bass and the drums playing counter. The sound is warm not bright like some Three Blind Mice recordings can sometime be. This cut alone will be the one of those recordings that lovers of analog piano recordings will gravitate to immediately.
Side 2 opens with “Misty” and is done in a smooth upbeat arrangement. With some of the most embellished and bluesy playing on the LP. It smokes and swings hard and this will quickly become a favorite demonstration cut. Being with its upbeat turnarounds it reminded me of many of my favorite pianists. This is a totally different interpretation for Yamamoto one of the high points of the LP.
“A Time for US” has bowed bass and is introspective and abstract. Played in a call and answer style. A style that is very much like let me lead and you can travel with me. This is an ambitious track and I like it. And “Love is a Many Splendored Thing”. I immediately fell into it's flourishing grasp. And I stayed captivated by this ballad as it builds and falls into different stylistic sequences as it builds in intensity.
If you are a fan of Yamamoto or a fan of Three Blind Mice LP’s do not hesitate. My feeling is that the LP will grow in stature with age and at the moment is sure to become a demonstration LP for many. If you like modern jazz piano trios then this LP is a must have for your collection.
The liner notes state that there are going to be two upcoming 45RPM releases of this LP. On double LP of course with two different options for the box sets. One set being a two LP 45 RPM Collector’s Edition pressed on 200 gram Clarity vinyl and the other a Master Edition 45 set cut on the same 200 gram Clarity vinyl but backed with a black anti resonant backing and on four single sided LP’s. These Master Editions LP’s will come with a certificate of Authenticity and the owners name will be engraved with the name of the buyer.
Four out of four!
Producer: Winston Ma
Mastering Consultant: Michael Bishop
Mastered at The Mastering Lab
Mastering Engineer: Doug Sax