I agree with the sound quality, but the 4 CD's I had ordered quite some time ago, didnt last in my collection...I found the music a bit dull and amateurish.
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The roster might suffer a little bit but Pierre has one of the great contemporary piano players Larry Willis as his A&R man.I sold jazz CD's (or ranbnthe section in shop where we also aols B&W,Krell,Mac,Mid fi etc) and had four trust builders.Being fan oz Yoiung -Zoot.Cohn light line I would tell people get 1) Charles Rouse Unsung Hero on CBS.Was his awesome Epic LP "Yeah!" and half a Bethlehem LP he shared with Seldon Powell (We Paired our dues for thos still paying ofr opriginal pressings now there in the statosphere2)Eddie Higgins with Ray Drummond and Ben Riley" called hauneted Haet.As smooth and perfect as a lush romantic CD could be,Bill Evans (a freind of Higgins as he told me in a club once3) Any od the Venus "24 Bit Hyper Magnum Sound " CD's LP's (but get CD because of dynamic range.BBest horn players and piano guys recorded prefectly.Better than JVC XRCD.Try and of the 4 Archie Shepp Balld LP's all recoded by same group over few days .Chilling how life like.Lp's ad tatcile sound but again dynamic range makes it owrth CD.Also they re-released good stuff like some Al Haig Lp's like "I love You" off Interplay.As good as anything Classic has put oput in re0-issue and proves great Lp's cvan be sourtces fromdigital.bad one s like 80's stones LP's were gopod analogue acrewed up by the (5th Beatle-every engioneer whop can only screw thinsg up not improve origina;.Then they's tale lousy digital tranmsfers and make crappy LP's.All Red Book CD's have goten beter in past 5 to 10 years.Listen to CCR in 80's and new ones with K2 20 bit.Sam,e for the Fantasy/Prestige catalogue.Listen to new versus old Kenny Droham "Quiet Kenny".Night and day with first CD pressing or new Miles "Kind of Blue which is now correct speed.Only took them 4 maybe 5 re-issues to get it rgiht.but right after Venus are some Mappleshade's.Best is Clifford Jordan's
"live At Ethell's" which got setings right by disr\tance and like all Mappleshades usedown hi-end Moega Mikro line of shortest cables,,modified mikes and straight to two track tape.No board no EQ,no filter,bias etc.You can hear the fluter of fingers across the keys and breathing in the room.The CD of theirs to get.Trust me.
i own several maple shade recordings which i don't listen to. i would like to get rid of them.
from an audiophile perspective, the sound is wonderful. but the music is uninteresting and there is something about the sound that is not natural.
i would rather listen to opus 3 recordings or proprius recordings.
The roster might suffer a little bit but Pierre has one of the great contemporary piano players Larry Willis as his A&R man.I sold jazz CD's (or ranbnthe section in shop where we also aols B&W,Krell,Mac,Mid fi etc) and had four trust builders.Being fan oz Young -Zoot-Cohn- to say Hay Allen and Scot hamilton today light line I have alwayus enjoyed thos cats and players who could feel at home in aromatntic swing idiom or kick out the jams in the Webster Hawkins Gonsalens Rouse mode (kind of like ray Bryant on keys who could play in ANY idiom!).
I would tell people get 1)Charles Rouse "Unsung Hero" on CBS.Was his awesome Epic LP "Yeah!" and half a Bethlehem LP he shared with Seldon Powell ("We Payed our dues" for those still collecting/paying original pressings prices now that there in the stratosphere.Another great Charlie Rouse who mainly known as Monks last and longest side man (altter forming "Sphere" with Kneny Baron,Buster Williams and Monks drfummer Benn Riley.His final CD was a great swab song with Sihab Shihab ,The expoatirot multi reedist mster and they played thier asses off going out like the Lions they were on "Atablemates (Uptown Records) 2)Eddie Higgins with Ray Drummond and Ben Riley" called "Haunted Heart"t.As smooth and perfect as a lush romantic a trio CD could be,Bill Evans (a freind of Higgins as he told me in a club once)at his best level (no shit!) 3)Any of the Venus "24 Bit Hyper Magnum Sound " CD's LP's (but get CD because of dynamic range.Best horn players and piano guys recorded prefectly.Better than JVC XRCD.Try and of the 4 Archie Shepp Ballad LP's ("True Blue","True Ballds" etc) all recorded by same group over a few days .Chilling how life like they are and for me possibly the best recorded jazz ever from a sonic viewpoint.Lp's ad tatcile sound but again dynamic range makes it owrth CD.Also they re-released good stuff like some Al Haig Lp's like "I love You" off Interplay.As good as anything Classic has put oput in re-issue and proves great Lp's can be sources from digital.Bad one s like 80's Stones LP's were screwed up by the "5th Beatle"- engineer who see themselves as "the additional artist" and mess up a poerfectly good master.In the 80's these guys made bad digital transfers for CD and then used those digital tapes to make crappy LP's, when they perfectly good analogue tapes were still availible-but then "digital" was sexy.Since about 1995n engineers started to understand digital and all Red Book CD's have goten better.Listen to Creedence CLeawater Revivals CD's in 80's and new ones with K2 20 bit transfer.Same for the Fantasy/Prestige catalogue.Listen to new versus old Kenny Dorham "Quiet Kenny" CD.Night and day!! Or of course new Miles "Kind of Blue" which is now correct speed and sounds great! (I have 5 diferent CD pressings of that LP (including one South African)and each such one stinks until the last two and a slightly better Japan Press (but that is no gurantee as many know).Only took them 4 maybe 5 re-issues to get it right.
But right after Venus are some Mappleshade's.Best is Clifford Jordan's "live At Ethell's" where volume setings are achieved through seting the distance of performer to mike pre-recording (likew was done by Rudy Van Gelder and everyone in the 50's ( and long before) not knob twisting Like all Mappleshades they use hi-end Omega Mikro (The hi-end Mappleshades cable line ) with the shortest cable possible,modified mikes and STRAIGHT to two track tape.NO BOARD i.e.no EQ,no compression,no expansion,no filtering etc.The result is so clear You can hear the flutter of fingers across the keys on the Sax and breathing in the room.It's the CD of Mappleshades to get.Cliffford Jordan never made a bad CD under his name just some lesser ones.(also check out his wonderful "Two Tenor Winner " with with Junior Cook)But Mappleshades "Live At Ethells is a MASTERPIECE!!!!!!!!Trust me.I sold it for 6 years abd got 99 out of 100 people say it (and they) were incredible.If not they really wanted smooth jazz a'la Rick Braun or some crap like that.Not that I couldn't reccomend Fusion clasic like "Return to Forever" ot go back to the "Hot Fives and Sevens" but this tuff wasaccessibl;e and terrific.IMHO.
The program material from Mapleshade is OK, but there is something about the sound that bugs me. The midrange sounds a bit sharp and grates on my senses after awhile. I do agree that they are nicely dynamic with great extension, but that midrange is just not right. I never play them and throw the catalog into the recycle bin without reading it.
I have several Mapleshade CDs, and I've gotten rid of several Mapleshade recordings. Recording quality is exceptional and music is hit and miss. I now only buy Mapleshade after I've had a chance to listen to it.
One in particular that I listen to often and use to audition equipment with is Blue Rider Trio - Harp, Steel and Guts
BTW Mrtennis I might be interested in buying the ones you want to get rid of. PM me with a list and pricing
Tellin you guys if you dig jazz just get one Mappleshade Clifford Jordan's "livbe at Ethell's" if only for sound quality and one vut tht has humerous vocal rendition of Lush Life and within it conyains an angelic solo"If anybody who ha1s knocked labelk they would point this out as the exception and the "keeper".Either that or you just don't like jazz.
I own a quite a few of them. In fact prcatically a whole catalogue. The sound quality is 'very different' than mass market and even some other audiophile label. In that the recordings have very realistic timbers, ambience, pace (when music is involving)and dynamics. Most of the times. I, too, feel at times that mid range does sound a little off neutral (or as Mr T describes it, a little funny).
I recorded at Pierre's and have since done alot of my own live to 2 track recording. The more minimal and the higher the quality/transparancy gets, the more everything shows up. The same with the system; but it gets tweekier and tweekier, more critically balanced. I used to think Live at Ethels' and The Blue Rider Trio were bright. Now that my system has progressed I'm not so sure. On the other side of it, another long time demo of mine is Sara K's Closer Than They Appear on Chesky. It's very smooth and au naturel with only a stereo mic, so you can trust it as a reference, with a wide range of frequency and timbers. The first cut'll show up all kinds o' stuff including problems in the bass with the big ol' upright. As my system has progressed, it shows up the understated sonics of the Chesky nicely with increased transparancy while not adding edge to the dangerously revealing Mapleshade stuff. Mapleshade uses a stereo mic AND usually additional spot mics so the perpsective can be a little broken up on a revealing system.
Another of Pierre's to try is Portraits in Ivory and Brass with Larry Willis on piano, Jack Walrath on trumpet and Steve Novosel on upright. There's some beautiful tunes on there with some very delicate interplay and excellent sonics. The second track is an original minimalist piece with Jack blowing a conch and then his trumpet into an open piano with the sustain pedal down. The effect is stunning both aesthetically and sonically.
Live at Ethel's was one of Pierre's first attempts. Huge sonic strides have been made since then. It's very difficult to strike an appropriate balance between close and natural distance and it's generally not what most audiophiles might expect in that if you literally place a stereo mic where the audience might usually sit it'll be way too distant for most types of music. If you put the mic close enough to compensate for the loss of even a top notch system it'll give an exagerated stereo image. If you use spot mics your perspective gets wacky and you start running into phase problems eroding natural timbers. In the end you do what you can and you make your choices. Pierre chooses a pespective that puts you in the room with the musicians as one of them, an intimate choice that humanizes the event revealing every detail of the instrument as well as every zit.
Another issue is that Pierre (used to at least) use Stax electostatic headphones for monitoring while recording. These provide almost no isolation and he cranks them so he can discern live room bleed from what goes to tape since he sits essentially in the same room as the musicians. In my experience, this can skew the sense of balance. This coupled with his pursuit of detail compels him to mix the spot mics too high so the percusionists array of tinkly things will be right in your face for instance, along with a 3 foot wide, close miked singing head.
Re: buying for sonics, with all due respect to the sentiment, what's sad is that there aren't more recordings with better sound. But it's a big world with room for everyone's priorities. eh? It's also sad that the ego in us wants to take potshots at other's to bolster a false sense of security. If all of us guilty of that were to quietly say "aye" none of us would have ears left to listen to our CDs, audiophile or not.