They are really exceptional. Pierre uses a very purist approach to recording and tries to get as natural a sound as possible. The Clifford Jordan jazz recording "Live at Ethyls" (sp.?) is great. The Blues recording "Preaching the Blues" which I think is now part of a two record set, is one of my demo records. He records local talent in the DC area, I had never heard of them either but the ones I have are great.
The Clifford Jorday is excellent! I have a couple more live sets that are excellent too. Can't remember the name but if there is an artist and especially if they are playing a standard give them a chance. You should check out some Steeplechase artist that you are familiar with. Karen Francis for instance. You won't like the Amazon price but she is from Augusta, GA and she has a wonderful voice and a wonderfull band behind her too. There is a Brazilian trumpet Player on the same label named Palo, check him out too.
They are exceptionally clean. However, I find that too many of the artists are unknown. Also, Mapleshade's recordings tend to be extremely clean, almost sterile. It's worth buying a couple to check out.
Here's my take. Why would anyone want to buy blah music from Mapleshade (or any other label) for the sole virtue of "great SOUND" when there is so much great MUSIC out there by great ARTISTS which may not be recorded as well? Masturbating to " quality of sound" is not what music is about.
I agree with lindisfarne. I have a couple of their CD's and while they are technically impeccable I think there is a reason no one has ever heard of any of these artists. Not that they are bad artistically but it is just that there are other artists out there who are much better.
I would rather listen to an OK recording of a great artist than a great recording of an OK artist.
I own a couple of their world music series Cd's. Mediocre artists. Recording quality IMHO is OK. There are other labels like Waterlily, Reference, and alike that do a much better job without all the hype.
I find myself agreeing with others here. I bought a dozen CD's over a couple of years. A couple of years later, not a single one remains on my playlist. I would expect to have one or two favorites, but never happened.
More fun to find LP treasures at church bazaars and library book sales. Lots of fantastic source material, even if the sound isn't as spectacular as Mapleshade.
I ran a a jazz section of a hi fi (mid fi and high end) and when folks remarked that CD's didn't sound as good as LP's I'd generally agree.CD's got better in late 90's with 20 bit recordings (listen to early Prestige vs the latter issues or there Creedence Clearwater CD's).but I would say one label had a good sound but a bit brittle that being Mappleshade.Pierre made his own cables of course,took modified Senhessier mikes and went straight to tap no mixing board,no e.q.,filtering etc.Because of this he went back to old school use of distance rings since musicians needed to be right distance from mikes since gain could not be added. Results were good but mixed.Larry Willis the fine post bop pianist was there A/R man.As has been mentioned the recordings were clear and superior to what was out there when it label started if a bit "brittle" but it was stable of artists that limited them.I think like others that the Clifford Jordan "Live At Ethell's" is a masterpiece (his "Lush Life" is one for ages) and matches his uniformly strong output say on Criss Cross but you can hear his breath ,fingers on the sax,and the room.
But IMHO I would say the best label out there is your a jazz fan is the Venus label in Japan.There re-issues of Interplay are superb and the recordings they did for CD and LP are superb and the roster is amazing.I especially liked the 4 CD's/LP's made by Archie Shepp with John Hicks,George Mraz,and Idris Muhammad are incredible.They also proved to me you don't need analogue tape to make a great LP.They were pressed beautifully and have less dynamic range than the CD's are more "tactile".But the CD's are among the best I own and the stable they have from the recently departed Eddie Higgins to excellent singers or horn players makes them the label to always check to see if it is jazz you like.You know the sonics will be the best.Whether the new HD formats like Linn selling 24/192 streaming audio or the potential of Blu-Ray betters the Venus Cd's we'll see but I am sure they will keep up.Wish Mappleshade could have done as good a job (to get back to your inquiry) but they suffer from roster and perhaps some production issues in comparison and others have caught up in quality from point that Mappleshade started.Maybe Pierre will catch up. Chazz
I love to listen to their "Big Joe Maher: Mojo". A superb recording and very good music. But some other I got were a let down e.g. QuietLand. The recording is superb...but music is so-so. Reminded me of the Blue Coast Collection SACD that I personally feel is boring. In both the cases, the recordings are superb, but the music puts you to sleep :-( I will check for more music like the the Mojo CD, on MapleShade Records.
I never buy music just because of it's sound quality, but having said that I dearly love the mapleshade recordings of the Blue Rider Trio that I have - good music, combined with exceptional sound quality
The problem is that big artists get the "Commercial" treatment as far as sound is concerned. I know Pierre and I am sure he would love to do famous artists but where is the money up front coming from? Stockfisch is another label to look at: Chris Jones "Roadhouses and Automobiles" is excellent. Sells so well [LOL] I had to order mine from Germany. Also Yarlung records if you like Classical.
I have about 5 of their cd's. Each time I hoped I'd get something decent. But... Mapleshade is largely 3rd and 4th rate music recorded usually quite well. I'd say the sonics are 7-8 on a scale of 10 and the music is typically 2-3 on a scale of 10.