Album Reviews

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Malachi Lui  |  Aug 14, 2019  |  61 comments
Dexter Gordon led the Clubhouse session May 27,1965 with Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Barry Harris on piano, Bob Cranshaw on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums. Two days later Gordon recorded Gettin’ Around, trading Freddie Hubbard for Bobby Hutcherson on vibes but otherwise maintaining the same lineup. However, until 1979 the former didn’t see the light of day. What happened?

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 01, 2019  |  20 comments
Counseloring at Camp Ma-Ho-Ge near White Lake, N.Y. the summer of 1968 was, in the summer of 1969, my ticket to drive to the back of Max Yasgur’s farm traffic free and without delay. I knew the back roads—not that I thought I’d need to use them when we set out for this music and arts festival we’d seen advertised all spring and summer on the walls of the New York City subway system. How could we not go? The advertised line-up was almost too good to believe.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 26, 2019  |  11 comments
If you'd have told me a few years ago when Vinyl Me, Please launched, that within a few years the curated based vinyl subscription service would be at the top of the vinyl reissue heap, I'd have said you've been inhaling too many PVC fumes. But here we are with a vinyl reissue that's perfect in every way.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 06, 2019  |  17 comments
After calming down following the original Birth of the Cool review I took a deep breath and listened again. What's more i realized I had two more versions of the record: a Dutch Odeon pressing (lime green Capitol label) from 1972 (5C052 80 798) with a different cover that you can pick up on Discogs for a few bucks, and a mysterious one from I believe a German label called Good Buy (Good Buy 2 F 671045) released around the same time as Classic's, which remains the best sounding available and so costs well over $100 on Discogs.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 02, 2019  |  27 comments
First off, UMe touts this reissue as "...newly remastered from the original 1949 analog tapes for the first time since 1957." That's nonsense: Bernie Grundman cut this from the original analog tapes for Classic Records back in the 2000s. And I believe the RVG CD did as well (correct me if I'm wrong). Facts matter.

Malachi Lui  |  Jun 24, 2019  |  22 comments
Hours before its release, Tyler, the Creator tweeted a set of listening instructions to anxious fans about to hear his new magnum opus IGOR. “This is not Bastard. This is not Goblin. This is not Wolf. This is not Cherry Bomb. This is not Flower Boy. This is IGOR. Pronounced eee-gore. Don’t go into this expecting a rap album. Don’t go into this expecting any album. Just go, jump into it. I believe the first listen works best all the way through, no skips. Front to back. No distractions either.”

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 05, 2019  |  2 comments
Buddy Guy’s 1967 Chess release—his first— has nothing to do with San Francisco, nor was it recorded July of 1967 though the jacket says it was. No big deal. Someone (probably Leonard Chess) chose to reference San Francisco because “flower power” was happening and it seemed like a good way to grab the white kids’ interest. The recording date was chosen close to the original release date so it would sound current but in fact, this is a compilation that includes tracks recorded between 1962 and 1967.

Malachi Lui  |  May 25, 2019  |  14 comments
Following a turbulent decade battling personal demons in the 1950s, tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon had mostly faded from the jazz scene by the end of that decade; after all, he only recorded three sessions (two of which he led) in the second half of it. By 1961, however, he began a successful relationship with Blue Note that commenced that year with Doin’ Allright. The Los Angeles-native moved back to New York City for the third time, got rediscovered by jazz listeners, and led a quintet on this album that included Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Horace Parlan on piano, George Tucker on Bass, and Al Harewood on drums.

Malachi Lui  |  May 06, 2019  |  10 comments
Wouldn’t pairing a highly talented bluesman with one of the best house bands in the world result in a great record?

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 23, 2019  |  12 comments
It seems appropriate to review Rhino’s sumptuous 4 LP set Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace The Complete Recordings, her enduring gospel album recorded in a Los Angeles church and released in June of 1972 on Atlantic Records, two days after Kanye West’s Easter morning “gospel service” at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival before 50,000 fans.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 13, 2019  |  54 comments
AnalogPlanet editor Michael Fremer is not a classical music authority. If you didn't know that before watching this frantic, somewhat shallow video, you will after!

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 22, 2019  |  35 comments
Mobile Fidelity's One-Step reissue of Marvin Gaye's groundbreaking album What's Going On is long out of print but still deserving of a short review.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 21, 2019  |  6 comments
Blue Note's new "Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series" is part of the company's 80th anniversary celebration. Wayne Shorter's Etcetera is the first release in the series. Joe Harley, well known among audiophiles for his work with AudioQuest both as a press liaison (among other tasks) and especially for the series of all-analog AudioQuest LPs he produced back when vinyl was "dead", "hand picked" these "Tone Poet" titles and oversaw their production.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 16, 2019  |  9 comments
The boomer generation is firmly out of cultural control and rock is pretty much dead—not in terms of interest but in the same way big band music is dead—though back in 1980 when this Linda Ronstadt concert was produced and recorded for an HBO special, boomer power peaked.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 11, 2019  |  22 comments
One of the Anthony Wilson-shot photographs in the coffee table quality photobook housed within Songs and Photographs’s handsome, textured paper slipcase— along with the jacketed 180 gram LP (Goat Hill Recordings GHR-005)—is of a church’s red brick back wall, in front of which are three gravestones. The late afternoon sun casts against the wall three long offset shadows.

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