ERC Announces Monk's Brilliant Corners From Original Mono Master Tape

Electric Recording Company announced today the forthcoming "true mono" reissue of Thelonious Monk's Brilliant Corners featuring Sonny Rollins due some time in April. ERC's costly limited edition releases usually quickly sell out. This one's still available but for how long?

Just a few days ago Ken Micallef asked for my faves in the video elsewhere on this channel and I pulled this one out (in stereo) bought in 1964!

Lemon Curry's picture

300 British pounds? That was a cold shower

ArcAudio's picture

$300 is a steal. I would not hesitate if I were interested in such. $175 is about as much I will pay for a new single album at this point.

germanq's picture

The record is already sold out. It is one of the cheapest, only 300 pounds...

davip's picture

This is what's wrong with analogue audiophila -- these endless releases from dead black saxophonists -- and you can bet that this, along with the ludicrous 'audiophile female vocals' -- reflects on us in the outside world. Where is the £300 AAA 'ITCOTCK' release, 'Disraeli Gears', 'Parallel Lines', 'Grin and Bear It', 'Foxtrot', 'For Your Pleasure', 'Closer', 'Outlandos d'Amour'', 'Tarkus', 'No More Heroes', the mono Stones, etc., etc..?

Personal taste is just that, but this stream of 70-yr old jazz from smoke-exhaling guys 99.9% of people have never heard of (much less listen to) is navel-gazing only surpassed in absurdity by the selections that are trumpeted on open-reel (along with the $15k open-reel 'head amps' to go with this pointless onanistic experience).

Analogue audio provides a window into music that remains unsurpassed despite almost 40-yrs of 'perfect sound forever' and if we just let people hear what can really be in those grooves with music that they know and like then our discipline (and industry) would take-off like never before. We do not stand a hope-in-hell of doing that and effectively dig our own hole with this ceaseless dead-african-american-jazz-blues stuff, and analogue champions like the author of this piece could do much here.

Imagine a Kickstarter-Pallas-pressed release-by-release 10.000-press buy-in campaign with vinyl's greatest champion as its flag-waver. And it wouldn't need to be £300 either...

ArcAudio's picture

A couple of comments.

1. Just like any other product, there are super expensive special editions that cater to the buyers who have the resources to purchase. Much like the art world, people like saying I have number 75 of a 100 special run Ansel Adams print (or whoever). This version, along with many first pressings, etc, are purchased from people all over the world. A local store, last month, had a decent copy of a first edition Saxaphone Colossus which sold for $2000 to somebody in South Korea. So why not manufacture NEW products geared toward this part of the buying community?

2. You do not need a kick starter for such. You already have it. Mofi, AP, MMJ, Speakers Corner, ORG, Superior Vioduct, Tone Poets, etc. Plus, pretty much everything is available, now, in 24/96 and higher. Many releases may not be available in the audiophile format due to record labels not allowing the tapes/files be released outside of their own label.

I would love to have this ERC $300 version, however, I'm perfectly fine with the audiophiile releases that are much lower in price. One other thing, One may actually be better of in investing in something like this vs placing $300 in a zero interest paying savings/CD account. Just store in a safe place.

garyalex's picture

You know, some of us love jazz. Dismissing the work of musicians like John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Dexter Gordon, etc as "70-yr old jazz from smoke-exhaling guys 99.9% of people have never heard of (much less listen to)" is harsh, to put it mildly. Some people love jazz, love vinyl and want that music to sound as good as possible. As much as I'd like to purchase this Monk release I can't do it right now. But I'm still glad this music is available. And why is it necessary to mention ethnicity? What does that have to do with it?

James Romain's picture

Hear, hear!

Tom L's picture your comment if you hadn't thrown "black" in there.
Why would you care what color the dead sax players are?

BTW, Debbie Harry laughed in my face when I complimented her about the excellence of "Parallel Lines". That was right before she said "I've got my Fresca, let's get the fuck out of here".

MalachiLui's picture

i found that the part of the comment where the first guy threw skin color into the conversation as well as complained about female vocal releases before saying "where are the expensive reissues of the white men?" to be racist (in the first part) and sexist (in the second part). those things were wholly unnecessary.

culturcide's picture

I slept on your comment to reflect. I found it neither racist nor sexist... just amusingly provocative factual generalisations (and I love generalisations). As a lover of all things from Slayer to Sonny, Burzum to Blakey, Miley to Miles... I take your point. I have a lot of Audiophile LPs (including one ERC jazz release): double 45s, monos (played with a mono cart), lots of jazz, SAM records, Beach Boys, Joplin, both Elvises, Neil, Jimi, Cars, whatever... you get the idea. I find the Audiophile format plays out at its best with jazz. I think there's an airiness... room to breathe between the instruments that tends to really shine on these LPs. The others are all fantastic, but jazz really seems to shine. And maybe there's simply more money to be made from jazz collectors. I can understand that. Having said that, imagine ERC releasing the cis white Never Mind the Bollocks. I'd drop £300 in a mutha f'ing instant.

Michael Fremer's picture
It's an album by a dead black pianist. The dead black saxophonist was a side man. But if your point is that Beethoven, Bach, are wastes because they are dead and their music is "old", you really aren't making a point. Many of the records you cite have gotten excellent reissues on vinyl but in some cases the analog tapes aren't really useable. "Foxtrot" got an AAA reissue from Classic Records. You can buy a copy on DISCOGS for around $100 now.
James Romain's picture

Exactly - likewise Shakespeare, Melville, Fellini, and (just today) Penderecki. Dead? Yes. Not fully worthy of our attention? At your peril.

isaacrivera's picture

Several points to consider:

1) They are far superior to any previous edition. I have 2 and both are noticeably better than several other previous editions, both modern and vintage.

2) They cost a lot less than vintage out-of-print of same which likely are in bad shape.

3) Are all sold out after a few weeks, so clearly there's a market for them and, by definition, at least 300 people in the world who disagree with you.

4) Clearly they are not something most can swing monthly, but as a once-in-a-lifetime splurge, they beat a bottle of vintage Bordeaux or a fancy restaurant dinner because you can continue listening to them for decades.

5) Are 100% optional. You don't have to buy them, you don't need to be irked by them.

6) Being super limited editions, they are likely to appreciate in value over time. In fact, they do.

James Romain's picture

Your passion for vinyl is laudable - and your concerns for sometimes-bogus "audiophile" releases is well-founded. That said, you're dead wrong -- 1. Sonny Rollins - not dead 2. If you think that you cold hang with playing on Brilliant Corners, please post your performance. 70 years or yesterday -- doesn't matter - this is music that is inventive, vital, and alive -- and I'd put it up against nearly any jazz release of the past 70 years. Your propensity towards hyperbole is not conducive to strengthening your argument. The race angle...disturbing at the least.

Tom L's picture

...plenty of high-quality LPs of white men...Brubeck, Charles Lloyd, Chet Baker, Randy Brecker, Harry James, Bix Beiderbecke, Bill Evans, Dave Grusin, Michel Petrucciani, Bob James, Joe Zawinul, the list goes on and on. If all of these guys have not been given the "18 gram, 2 LP half-speed mastered for $300" treatment there are still a ton of terrific original pressings available for our enjoyment.
My whole point was that breaking down musicians by color or sex is pointless and somewhat offensive. It's the music that counts.

Roy Martin's picture

Including Charles Lloyd, an African-American, among the list of "white men," is a clever way of showing that race, etc. really doesn't matter when it comes to the music.

Tom L's picture

...Keith Jarrett in there, too!
Just writing too quickly.
Jarrett played at my college. One of the most amazing things I have ever witnessed.
They had this big Bosendorfer piano. Had it tuned, then moved it up a flight of stairs! Of course he showed up and was pissed off. He came out and said "This piano is way out of tune. I'll tune it myself by ear, go offstage to get in the right mood, and then play as I am contracted to do...but there will be no encore".
He really tore it up. Even the piano tuning was a demonstration of genius. Just incredible.

Trevor_Bartram's picture

Does the tape box photo mean these are from the original 1957 tapes?

If so, would Concorde allow those tapes to travel from the U.S. to U.K.?

Just hoping no one has been duped.

If you can't afford the ERC what's the next best LP version?

ArcAudio's picture

Speakers Corner generally uses the original tape "copies" that were originally sent to Europe for their releases from the US. Maybe these tapes are the same thing. Then again, valuable, one of a kind items are shipped around the world everyday.

Grant M's picture

I'm not sure that's correct, or what info you have to suggest it's common they use copies at Speaker's Corner. Kevin Gray has cut many of the Speaker's Corner titles in the USA, they are often plated at QRP, before being sent over to Europe for pressing. They're doing great stuff in my opinion.

ArcAudio's picture

There are some Kevin Gray exceptions. Plus, the Steve Hoffman stampers were used for their Elvis is Back release. Most of their content is mastered in house

bkinthebk's picture

Per ERC, they fly to LA/California to get the tapes and personally fly them to the UK.

isaacrivera's picture

Works exclusively form the original tapes: "Monks masterpiece is re born in True Mono from the original analogue tapes some 64 years since the original release."

rl1856's picture

A clean first pressing can be found for less than $300, if you are patient. Hint- a first pressing will have a white label. A clean AAA OJC copy or AAA Japanese copy will suffice for many. Genesis Foxtrot was mentioned in the comment thread as an OOP Classic reissue. NM UK pressings are easy to find for a lot less. Patience and diligence will be rewarded.