Buy the original mono Kind Of Blue 6 eyes label, play it with mono cartridge - IMHO it's the best... the reissues just won't do... it's expensive but the reissues aren't cheap either ;-)
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Miles has produced such a wide range of work it would help if you revealed your favorites. This is an artist with an incredibly long career, releasing his first work in 1949 and continuing until his death in 1991.
Most of his original releases are on the Columbia label, but he worked with others, including Warner Brothers, Blue Note and Prestige.
The type and style of music varies radically through the years and by label. I love his offbeat work with Marcus Miller on "Siesta," although that style appears to be not as popular among other audiophiles.
The short answer: new releases are the same as for other artists, some are excellent and some not.
Speaking strictly on LP's, I have had excellent luck with Mosaic, Classic Records (both 33 &45) and Fantasy. Fantasy is home to record labels Prestige, Galaxy, Contemporary, Pablo, Riverside and Milestone. In my opinion, the $9.95 releases (typically called OJC or Original Jazz Classics) from Fantasy are excellent and compete with some of the high dollar pressings. Certainly a great place to start for not a lot of money.
Weny, Unfortunaltly, I don't have a mono cartridge, but it is on my wish list.
Albertporter, It makes a lot of sense that recordings will differ because of the volume of Miles works. I like most of Miles Davis, so your general guidence will indeed be a help. I don't know how many times I have had to purchased several recordings of the same title to find one with good sound.
you can buy Denon DL102 from audiocubes.com, i bought it - it's excellent!!!! the most great jazz is from the 50's, it's better to find a mono copy, not rechanelled stereo. even if stereo recording was done originally, I almost always found mono version better sounding. BTW, If I'm not mistaken Denon DL102 is only about $150, it's very good for the price!! and it doesn't need moving coil phono stage or any step-up's - it's high output - just to be connected to MM input.
I think Albert is an Audiogon G-d but he is dead wrong about OJC re-issues.Fantasy just wasted bad remelt vinyl that sounds bad and start to develope surface nolise after just a play or two.THEY SUCK!!All lp's pressed after mid sixties started to sound bad because instead of virgin vinyl that would often re-use wax (re-melt) mix batch stuff that was trerrible compared to the early sixties and before.But some companies like Classic Records,Acoustic Sounds,and other "boutique " places started to coime up with 180 gm-200 gm LP's that were very good somtimes say in the hands of master carftysman like Bernie Grundman who works for Classic and others produced 33 and 45 rpm (which are hassle to turn over but sound the best because higher rpm or tape speed means more info canb be pt down into grooves or tape per amount of surface area).In early 80's as Cd's came out Lp's conued to be bad but ofetn got worse because LP's were made from masters where they started with analogue tapes and then (badly) made transfers to digital tape and then used those for pressing LP's fooling the cutomer that "magic digital" would make Lp's sound better.Guys like Grundman make sure they go to original master tapes play them back on period correct equipment use stampers and master discs in addition to the magnetic tape all with the attempt to get the best sound.To me most engineers want to be the "5th Beatle" and add EQ,reverb,compression etc to "make it better" but usually just screw it up more.Guys like Grundman and select few try tokeep it intatc and as close tto roginal as possible.To prove my point pick up a copy of the great Tenor player Clifford Jordans CD on Mappleshade clalled "Live At Ethells".These guys make (and sell) thier won brand of wire use shotetst lengths with modifed mikes and go direct to two track digital tape.They use no soundboard so you get no filtering,EQ,compression,expansion,filtering etc and the results are spectacular.One misnomer that analogue types like me who will pay $500 for an oiginal pressing of an LP have is that digital sucks just because it's digital and that like the afore mentioned disastersous "digital LP's" of early 80's you can make a great LP froma digital tape.Venus recordings in Japan with their 24 bit "Hyper Magnum Sound" is just incredible.The all jazz label specializes in a few re-issues of well recorded tapes from 70's from say masters like paino gret Al Haig but mainly record thier own stuff.Check out one of the four Lp's done in neo-con peformance (for HIM-but that happens when we get older)by 60's avantegarde master Archie Shepp.He and his group recorded foutitles like "True Blue",True Romance (spacing on last two titles of all ballad material and Venus pressed(as they normally do) both CD's and LP's from digital tape.The LP's are clear and the Lp's give the music a tactile wonderousness that no $20K CD player can match.I get many of thir artists (like Phill Woods and Eric Alexander but mostlky keyboard players like Steve Kuhn and others) and it's a toss up.I sometimes prefer the CD's (gasp!) because they have agreater dynamic range that even the best analogue systems can't reproduce ((an LP is limited in soft to loudness by about 60 db or so while a CD player can go over 100db) but it's usually 45db and 90 db repectively).Yet the LP's are wonderfull so I argue with fellow idiots like me with our $5K tables that you can in fact make a great Lp froma digital source while many "purists" with a religous like intollerance say that only analogue can make great LP's.But CD's are fianlly coming into their won anyway since engineers have since about five to ten years ago started to really undertsand how to make a good CD,To wit check out and old Bowie RCA and the latter ones by Ryko.Or a Creednce Clearwater Revival from the 80's to 90's versus the 20 bit K2 process they started to use in very late 90's or about 2000.Now you asked about Miles Kind of Blue.That actually had about four or five different pressings from early 80's till about 2000 (I had early and and one later from South Africa and they both sucked).Finally they came out with one about the year 2000 that was correct speed that even the roginal LP's didn't have.Now it's as good as it get's unless you here the SACD but I have heard both one very expnsive gear and think the Red Book (standard CD) sounds about as good as the "high rez" fromat.If you want and LP you can try to fiond a Nm- one on Ebay that is a "six eye" (that is it has six of the CBS logo "eyes" on it.Later 60's and 70's pressings again had inferior vinyl and had three eyes on the red label.But if you want to get a REALLY clean 6 eye can set you back maybe $80 or over $100.These days (because of influx of newbies inpast two years) have driven prices through the roof.I have seen white and red radio distibution copies (mono of course it's 1959 and AM prevailed) go for $300!!!!The best bet is to get one of the 33 rpm 200 gm SVX vinyl copies from Classic Records which you can order on line or get at tower or if you have a nice LP rig and don't mind the interuption being more than once get the 45 rpm Classic Stereo 4 lp set which I believe has an the fourth disc in mono.That speed varioation I told you that wa corrected on the CD is probably the way the last batch of mono and stereo 33 rpm versions now availible.The speed was off ever so slightly because of a mistake when playing th tape back for the orginal cutting master but now whaat you get is the exact speed and pitch of classic of classics that can be bought from Classics.Ditto on the CD which you should have for the car anyway.Somehow I guess you can tell that brevity is not my strong suit ( and "nobody was expecting the Sapnish Inquisition...") but I ran a jazz section of a store that sold hi end equip[ment and CD's to boot and if somebody wanted (like I did with a great percentage of my paychecks) the wax version I knew about this to.Earlier soeone said get the mono and maybe this is how if I got one from Clasic and was planning to get the CD or SACD this is what I would do.Some cpmpanies did a poor job with newfangled "stereo" stuff in the 60's and while the three head stereo master Colombia came up with isn't bad- they were about in the middle of the pack interms of their use of stereo certainly not the worst but defitely not the best and this is how I sometiems choose to bid on originals on Ebay.A company like Phillips just happened to "get it" earlier than others.The most prollific and famous of all engineers Ruddy Van Gelder who did all the Blue Note and most of the Prestige LP's was himself only fair to middlin' in his spread and mike placement tastes and technique.But get the Classic LP mono or Stereo and the CD now sold in the stores unless you want to shell out AT LEAST about $100 for a six eye which is still of course the best.But the other two are pretty dammned good especially comapred to what we had availible to us in late 60's to really the late 90's.
P.S.gte some of the hard to find Venus stuff from artists you know or just order it on ebay.Get Archie Shepp "True Blue" and you'll hear on CD how good your stereo is.Not many LP's of Venus are on ebay but just look it up in catalogues like Muisc Direct and tohers or look up Cadence Records online and get it from the importer.They and the Classics are the best.That Clifford Jordan "Live At Ethells" on Mappleshade is easily found and you'll love it if you love "Kind Of Blue".Venus is way beter and way cheaper than the JVC XRCD's.Lastr siunce you mentioned "Kind Of Blue" and it's got Bill Evans on it get Eddie Higgins "Haunted Heart".That piano trio LP and maybe Monk's sideman Charlie Rouse "Unsung Hero" on CD or if LP "Yeah!" (which is 2/3rds the CD) and folks would buy anything I told them to making them vastly happier and pooer,my boss richer and me feeling like an Evangelist who knows he has saved a soul.
Chazzbo the Jazzbo
There are OJC vinyl reissues and there are OJC vinyl reissues. Of the many NOS ones that are still around (and there are lots of them-I've just bought some recently) many are very good sounding. Try to avoid, though, West German OJC pressings (clearly marked pressed in West Germany) and Scorpio pressings of OJC's (if there's a barcode on the OJC it may well be a Scorpio). Some of the OJC's are also taken from digital masters and may not possess the higher sound quality of those taken from analog masters-I believe those numbered above the high 280's or 300 mark are from digital masters.
I just bought a superb used copy of the OJC reissue of Benny Carter's "Jazz Giant" and it sounds superb; I'd like to hear an original, but the OJC is pretty impressive.
The 45 rpm vinyl reissues of the Miles Davis recordings that have been coming from Acoustic Sounds are very good, as are the several 33 rpm reissues from Classic Records. The 45 rpm reissues have all the additional sonic virtues one would expect from the 45 rpm mastering, and it's unlikely we'll ever hear these master tapes sound better on vinyl than they do in these releases. (Whether some of these master tapes have sound inherently to warrant the expense of the 45 rpm treatment is a different matter.)
Albert is an Audiogon G-d but he is dead wrong about OJC re-issues. Fantasy just wasted bad remelt vinyl that sounds bad and start to develope surface noise after just a play or two. THEY SUCK!! All lips pressed after mid sixties started to sound bad because instead of virgin vinyl that would often re-use wax (re-melt) mix batch stuff that was terrible compared to the early sixties and before.
That's a shame you've had such negative experiences with OJC. I probably have a hundred of these and my experience is more like Hdm's
I'd like to hear an original, but the OJC is pretty impressive.
Most of mine were bought in the 1980's, some when Fantasy did their blow out sale in the 1990's and was selling 3 for $10.00!
Even at $9.95, the good ones are a terrific way to get good jazz music. I've found the Columbia reissues to be much more spotty and digital sounding than anything from Fantasy.
Perhaps the best thing is for Psc to take a gamble and try a few. We have a local book store that frequently buys record collections and I've picked up OJC's for as little as $4.00. If nothing else it's worth auditioning the music at that price.
I too bought OJC when they had their blow out sale and I find the pressings to be outstanding. I Bought mine through the mail from a dentist whom purchased the entire OJC vinyl catalog and sold them out of the warehouse. I don't have the problem Chazzbo has stated and we have discussed it in length on more than one occasion.
I just wanted to say thanks so much for all your help. I've been rooting through the record stores in Toronto all afternoon and I haven't found any yet, but I still have several stores to visit. I found three different copies of Kind of Blue, one pressed in Canada, one in Japan and one in New York--all Colunbia. I think the US is the origianl. So far that's all I have found.
I did find a good recording on the Blue Note lable --Something Else Cannonball Adderley. This at least has Davis in it.
Anyway, thanks to everyone here, I have a knowledge base to search with...Thanks