He's a cool cat indeed.
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Holy cow is right. And, if you are listening to Midnight Blue on a vinyl rig and really want to be blown away, get a copy Music Matter's newer 33-1/3rpm release of the title. Simply put...it's incredible. It's one of my current reference LPs when I want to see that special look on the faces of people who I know get most of their music either in their cars or via earbuds. Happy melting.
That's a good question, Bill. I don't have the Blue Note original pressing, but kind of wondered the same thing. OTOH, all of the Deep Groove originals that I own are certainly more noisy than the Music Matters re-issues. Why, because they are now all getting to be 50+ years old and have been played by their original owners on God knows what table and cartridge in the day. Not saying they don't sound fantastic, BUT if one is concerned about groove silence, the Music Matters have them beat hands down. I think that generally applies to ALL re-issue Jazz Lp's vs. original Jazz pressings. BTW, not so much with classical LP's, as they simply weren't played that much in the first place...certainly compared to the jazz stuff.
Musicpod, I had the same problem with an early release of this LP. Lots of surface noise! I replaced it with a later copy and no problems. Some of these reissues are not as pristine as they could be in regards to quality control, luckily they seem to be willing to easily address the problem.My advice would be to return it and get another copy.
Snopro and Daveyf:
I wondered the same thing myself on the stage right / stage left item. And Daveyf, if you're right that this is reflective of the artist positioning at the time of recording, as I listened to it I was wondering why they wouldn't have placed the featured artist in center stage. But, if that's how they decided to do it, then so be it.
I have not yet purchased Midnight Blue, partly because I have a copy of the original. Frankly of the Music Matters re-issues I have purchased some have more noise than the originals in my collection. All of my originals were purchased new and have been played sparingly on good equipment over the years. But this raises a question about the whole vinyl re-issue business. What exactly are we getting for what I view as a lot of dollars? Last week I compared track for track The Dave Brubeck Quartet's "Time Further Out" album. Redbook CD vs. Music Matters reissue. I picked this one for several reasons, a major one being that the Music Matters vinyl copy is one of the best sounding recordings in my collection. I took the time to level match and tried two cartridges: Ortofon 2M Black, and an Audio Technica AT150ANV. The AT sounded more similar to the CD so I went with it for most of the listening. The two formats sounded quite similar overall, astonishingly good in fact. I am not sure that there was enough difference for me to discern one from the other in a double blind test, but overall my impression was that the vinyl was a bit richer, maybe a bit more bass, the CD was quieter and perhaps had a bit more air especially on the softer passages when Paul Desmond was soloing.
The answer is that the engineers in the early days of stereo had yet to discover with two track, the phantom middle channel. Most, if not all, of the early jazz recordings suffered from this hard left, hard right/dual mono effect. From what I've been told, the first jazz LP to discover that phantom middle channel - and essentially by accident - was the Contemporary recording Art Pepper +11. Koenig/DuNann because of mixer limitations had no place to the last instrument; in the end, their solution was to mix half in the left and half in the right channel and voila the center image.
As far as the echo issue goes. I have a third gen, 15 ips copy of Midnight Blue and it's on the tape. Whether it was there initially or they got some print through because no one periodically rewound the master (upkeep of the masters is a real hit or miss operation) is anyone's guess.
Myles, thanks for the info, very interesting and informative.
I guess one has to also remember that any company that is in the reissue business is probably a little restricted by the condition of the original master tape that they get to utilize. Therefore, if there is echo on the master tape and it is caused by print through, then I guess that's what you are going to hear on the reissue ( unless the engineer removes it and thereby takes the risk of impacting the overall presentation).
I think your point is well taken that in the early days of stereo recording there was a steep learning curve and a whole lot of ping pong nonsense from one channel to the other and a void in the center. On the other hand, maybe this problem was more pronounced at some studios than others. On the 1959 recording, Kind of Blue (Columbia), we hear Miles Davis in the middle, John Coltrane in the left channel, and Cannonball Adderley in the right channel. The piano, bass and drums spread across the back stage from left to right. Several Brubeck records (Columbia) from that era have similar spacing with Desmond generally front and center. MJQ (Atlantic) generally had natural spacing too with Jackson front right, and Lewis front left most of the time. You have me thinking of re-listening to a lot of records now, as though I needed an excuse ;-). Thanks!
Ah that makes sense. I suppose all of the Miles Davis/Gil Evans collaborations were 3 track as well? I can hear Miles turning his back on the set, just like he did live, which had the effect of making him sound like he was behind the other musicians. That level of detail always impressed me about the Columbia recordings. I need to listen to some Norman Granz recordings from that era too, as his recording technique always impressed me. This is a great discussion, thanks again.