Album Reviews

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Michael Fremer  |  Nov 29, 2019  |  3 comments
Chet Baker was 29 years old when he recorded this album of vocals with occasional trumpet back in the summer of 1958 released today, 61 years later for RSD Black Friday.. He sounds like a kid. Actually you could argue he sounds positively girl-ish, which back then must have driven them pretty crazy—even crazier than did his chiseled, pugilistic face.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 27, 2019  |  0 comments
Newvelle’s Season Five Box is ready, but sorry, we’re behind so here’s coverage of Season Four’s box just in time for the subscription-based label’s Black Friday Record Store Day “open box” specials.

First the specials: eleven individual albums from the label’s first four years, including two from Season Four’s box, will be available exclusively from Wednesday, November 27th to Monday December 2nd, on the Newvelle website. There are albums from familiar names like the late Don Friedman and Ben Allison and others as well including from season four, Billy Lester’s From Scratch and Kenny Werner’s Church on Mars.

In addition, the label is offering during this Wednesday-Monday Black Friday RSD promotion, free shipping when you purchase the full Season Four box set.

Malachi Lui  |  Nov 27, 2019  |  18 comments
Before I get further into this follow-up review, a short disclaimer: other than the US Apple/Capitol singles of “We Can Work It Out”/“Day Tripper” and “Hey Jude”/“Revolution” (which, as expected, sound lousy), I don’t have any Beatles 7” singles other than this new The Singles Collection box. All my Beatles listening is on LP (the 2014 mono series, the Giles Martin remix LPs, and a few mono and stereo UK and European pressings) and the occasional lossless digital format, therefore from these recordings I’m used to great sound quality. My expectations for The Singles Collection (generously gifted to me by AnalogPlanet editor Michael Fremer) were likely different from most others’: sure, I expected the all-analog lacquer cuts to sound good, but sound quality on 7” singles isn’t the first thing I think about. With the 7” format, it’s primarily about the musical content, collectibility, packaging (when applicable), and finally, sound quality.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 26, 2019  |  8 comments
I'd be surprised if someone at UMe didn't look at the success of Blue Note's "Tone Poet" series and say to themselves "maybe the way to launch a Motown reissue series is to do it with the highest possible quality" because Motown/ UMe's new 5 LP Motown mono series duplicates in every way Blue Note's "Tone Poet" series: Kevin Gray cut from mono master tapes, RTI plated and pressed on 180g vinyl and the records are packaged in Stoughton tip on jackets.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 17, 2019  |  16 comments
Though you could argue that Bayou Country containing "Proud Mary" and "Born on the Bayou" was a better album, I'm going with Green River as a stronger, more consistent overall album (you remember albums, don't you?), which also had some hits like "Bad Moon Rising" (with it's refrain "there's a bathroom on the right"), "Lodi", which at the time made me wonder why Fogerty was writing about New Jersey and of course the title tune. In retrospect, despite the New Orleans musical setting, much of what Fogerty wrote was about his life growing up in Berkeley, Calfornia. But I digress.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 16, 2019  |  14 comments
How the original single LP of cellist Fournier and pianist Gulda performing Beethoven’s Cello Sonata in D (Deutsche Gramophon SLPM 138 083) ended up in my collection isn’t clear to me but I can narrow it down to either my college Beethoven symphony music appreciation class professor, or to Duane, the classical music expert at Minuteman Records in Harvard Square.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 15, 2019  |  29 comments
The Beatles The Singles Collection arrived the other day and it was opened with great anticipation and the embedded YouTube video was quickly produced in a single take before listening to a note. As you'll see when you watch, the packaging is "top shelf" and imaginative and Kevin Howlett's booklet notes are illuminating and useful. Using original artwork from around the world was a nice touch that every Beatles fan with appreciate!

Malachi Lui  |  Nov 15, 2019  |  5 comments
In 1964 while working for Canada’s National Film Board (NFB), filmmaker Gilles Groulx set out to make a documentary about winter, but instead used his then $75,000 budget to create Le chat dans le sac (English: The Cat In The Bag), an art house film about two lovers in early-mid ‘60s Montreal. An avid jazz fan as well, Groulx (through Jimmy Garrison) contacted John Coltrane to soundtrack the film. Coltrane agreed, and Groulx supervised the session at Rudy Van Gelder’s Englewood Cliffs, NJ studio. Instead of composing new material for the film (which he hadn’t seen), Coltrane, at Groulx’s request, re-recorded some of his older compositions such as “Naima” and “Village Blues,” after which Groulx, master tape in hand, drove back up to Montreal.

Malachi Lui  |  Nov 05, 2019  |  45 comments
Kanye West's devotion to Jesus is nothing new; it's a recurring subject throughout his discography. On his 2004 single “Jesus Walks,” he raps, “Now I ain’t here to argue ‘bout His facial features/Or here to convert atheists into believers.” In recent traveling-church-service performances with the Sunday Service choir, however, he changes the second aforementioned line to “we here to convert atheists into believers.”

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 03, 2019  |  7 comments
You know what they say about audiophiles: only interested in what sounds good, music comes in distant second place or they repeatedly play the same few records, etc. You’ve heard the bad raps. Yet here’s a box set of vintage (read “old”) recordings digitized and processed that’s brought more inquiries into my inbox than many so-called “audiophile” recordings.

Malachi Lui  |  Oct 11, 2019  |  5 comments
As I approached the check-out counter at Music Millennium with a standard black vinyl copy of IGOR, I told the cashier about my endless obsession with this album. “Don’t get too obsessed with these things,” he said.

“I’m afraid it’s too late,” I replied.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 23, 2019  |  134 comments
2012 wasn’t all that long ago and culturally not that much has changed, yet from that year to the September 27th release this year of the 50th anniversary edition of Abbey Road is how long The Beatles made records.

Ty Webb  |  Sep 22, 2019  |  6 comments
Yarlung Records has garnered accolades for its innovative series of 45 rpm records that feature a variety of classical and jazz artists. Expectations are bound to be high for its new LP If You Love For Beauty, featuring the talented mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke together with t
Michael Fremer  |  Sep 03, 2019  |  15 comments
This is the 45rpm version of IMPEX's 2017 33 1/3 all-analog reissue of Michel Legrand's somewhat overlooked musical and sonic treasure featuring many of the greatest jazz artists of the era. Nothing other than Legrand's passing has changed since the original reissue review, so I'm just repeating it, other than to add that it sounds even "Legrander" at 45rpm, though if you already own IMPEX's 33 1/3 version, it's not really necessary to buy it again, unless you must! An enticement might be the now glossy laminated jacket and gatefold booklet with a very useful and informed essay by KCRW's Tom Schnabel.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 30, 2019  |  5 comments
I've referenced this record in a few Stereophile equipment reviews but somehow neglected to give it the deserved full review. The adventurous pianist Jamie Saft steps back in time here to produce an album that on "Vessels", the opening original tune, should immediately remind you of the classic '60s Coltrane quartet, though I'm not suggesting the players are in any way trying to copy Coltrane, Tyner, Garrison and Jones.

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