Recording quality effect on listening pleasure ...

I love jazz but admittedly I have a problem listening to early gems (say 40s through the early 50s) because the performances typically weren't recorded as well as during 50s and 60s. Now, I fully realize there were some terrible recordings during that time but for the most part I feel the quality of the recording improved substantialy in the later years. The disturbing part is that these wonderful performances are going unlistened to (at least for me) because I can't get past the quality of the recording. Is this just me or does anyone else feel the same way?

Many thanks,

Have you listened to the Music Matters Blue Note reissues mastered by Steve Hoffman? These are among the greatest recordings I have ever heard and the music represents the best of American Jazz.

You did not mention if your primary playback was LP or CD, but if you can spin LP's, I encourage you to try these.
recorded music is what it is. enjoy the song...and don't worry about something you can't control....woody herman, benny goodman, and glen miller rock too.
I feel the same way... I am leery of recordings before, say, 1955. I have noticed some VERY good sounding recordings made as early as 1957. In fact, some recordings made around 1959-62 sound better than music recorded around a decade later... who knows why.
This is probably not the site to say it,but it's only the music.Get the best music and continually upgrade your ability to play it back.The greatest music,whatever you feel that may be,will touch that part of your soul that seeks it regardless of playback issues.Conversely no matter how good your playback,mediocre is mediocre.
"The greatest music,whatever you feel that may be, will touch that part of your soul that seeks it regardless of playback issues." Cassey 33

Very true! And, a great system increases that joy immensely. Nonetheless, I recently was floored by a recording of Rosa Ponselle (1920's) which I have listened to on lesser systems, and did not understand why she was considered so great, but when I heard it on my current system, it really did it come through.

I side with you on that end

Charlie Parker recordings don't do it for me
too murky - yes there's something going on but I can't feel the emotional end when it's so condensed and buried in poor sonics

Lester Young from the same period sounds much better and I'm more inclined to listen to him. Some of the old early Duke Ellington is moving and can nearly overcome the sonic end - but why not hear a later period piece or live reworking in all it's sonic glory

The period of jazz I most enjoy is late 50's early 60's Miles, Coltrane, Mingus, Bill Evans, Horace Silver, Blue Note etc
the sonics really unlock the performance magic
Rudy Van Gelder was one to really get the right recording studio sound early

Albert's Blue Note 45 series suggestion is dead on

if you like this period might I suggest the following dvd series - jazz icons

dvds from late 50' to early 60's some stellar sound from mostly european venues who taped these for tv
it's like being a fly on the wall
really great stuff

the coltrane and art blakely ones are my faves
and sound surprisingly good
To increase your pleasure I would put some of your favorites on cd and then process and clean them up with some sound software, especially the stuff that Steinberg makes.
Well JP, seems that I couldn't agree more with you on this one. I've got a lot of stuff that I absolutely love, but because the quality is so compromised, I will only listen to it in the car, as I really don't care what the sound is like there. In other words, I refuse listening to it on my system. Sure I like the music, and that's what it's all about. But what's the point of running a Ferrari on
diet pepsi? Case in point: I recently bought a remastered Mission UK cd which, I have been waiting and waiting for. Well I got it. The original sounds better than the remastered. I was like "what the hell"? what is the point of remastering something, if it ain't gonna better
the original? The original remains in the house while
the remastered got the boot to the Tacoma.
you know a lot of great movies were made in black and white. Probably some of the best movies ever but I still can't watch them. I like my movies in living color. That being said, music is different. I grew up cherishing bootleg records and tapes of live performances. Sure the quality sucked but if the show was great it really didn't seem to matter. now that I'm older and my stereo costs thousands of dollars I don't have the patience for inferior quality recordings like I use too.
Cheers to that, Dredhead!
'Recording quality effect on listening pleasure ...'

100% NO.
I have more problems with newer stuff,say, stuff made in the last 10~15 years, both music and movies.
JP,I'm with you.
I probably have been spoiled by decent systems and a Goldmund turntable and having collected recordings since the late 60's- but it's now a fact that I will no longer listen to a crappy sounding recording, no matter the quality of the music. There's a ton of excellent music out there, I like to listen to that which also sounds pleasing to my ear. I guess I figure I've listened to enough distortion and poor sound for this lifetime.
(On the other hand I am a backpacker and will still XC ski and tent in sub zero weather which friends find crazy, but I'm a northern boy, and I guess I still haven't had enough).
To each his own does say it all, doesn't it; especially in this hobby - and music in general.