Newvelle Records Is An Exciting New Curated Vinyl-Only Label Featuring Jazz Greats (fact-corrected 2/4/16)

Newvelle is a new vinyl-only jazz label founded by Elan Mehler and Jean-Christophe Morisseau. Mr. Mehler is a New York jazz pianist and composer who has toured worldwide and has released five albums. Mr. Morisseau is a Paris-based business executive with a twenty-plus year background in international global business development.

The business model consists of a curated subscription series of original albums by top jazz musicians, one shipped every two months.

The first six albums, already recorded are:

Frank Kimbrough Quintet
Jack DeJohnette Solo Piano
Noah Preminger Quartet featuring Ben Monder, John Patitucci and Billy Hart
Don Friedman Trio playing the music of Booker Little with Phil Palombi and Shinnosuke Takahashi
Ben Allison Trio featuring Ted Nash and Steve Cardenas
Leo Genovese Trio featuring Esperanza Spalding and Jack DeJohnette

The business model is ".... based on building an exclusive community interested in hearing this music in the best possible presentation."

Mehler and Morisseau have produced all six recordings, which are mixed and ready to press on 180g vinyl at MPO in France. All feature artwork by Bernard Plossu on 400 gram matte gatefolds with accompanying poetry by Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith. Jacket layout is by Parisian designer Antoine Leroux.

Mr. Mehler and Mr. Morsseau recently visited, bringing with them a test pressing of the Frank Kimbrough Quintet release and a lacquer of Return, the Jack DeJohnette solo piano album. Scott Hull at Masterdisk cut the Kimbraugh lacquers, while Alex DeTurk mastered the DeJohnette lacquer I heard and he will be cutting lacquers for the remaining titles..

All of the titles were recorded digitally at 88.2/24 bit in New York and the full resolution files will be used to produce the final records. The sonic goal appears to have been full dynamics with textural and tonal purity as opposed to the more distant "instruments in a room" approach. The result is immediacy and intimacy and in the case of the DeJohnette, as I remember it, presented from the musician's point of view.

Grammy Award-winning recording engineer, Marc Urselli provided these technical notes: "All our recordings are done at EastSide Sound in New York City where I use mostly vintage and some tube microphones, all analog and some tube pre-amps and all the inputs are run through and summed through an entirely analog console (a Harrison Series Ten B) that has no AD’s or DA’s anywhere. We strive to keep our signal chain as short and clean as possible.

The medium of the recording is Pro Tools HDX with the latest HDX converters and we always record everything at 24bit 88.2kHz, never less than that. For mixdown I use uniquely the analog console, which is fully automated and digitally recallable so that we have the best of both worlds available: analog sound and digital automation and recall. This means we can save the mixdown files and moves of a mix but the sound is never converted to digital within the mixing console, which also serves as the summing. I use an analog spring reverb and on occasion a Lexicon 480 reverb. At no point do we use digital in-the-box summing.”

Looking at the talent and the project's top to bottom high quality, this is a subscription series worthy of your consideration.

While the two founders have put considerable time, effort and money into taking the project to this point, completing it will require Kickstarter funding, which began Monday, January 26th. The project's funding goal is $32,393. As of today, one day later, a little over $8000 has already been pledged. There are "goodies" for those willing to commit more than the approximately $378 one year subscription cost. You can also buy individually Meantime, the Frank Kimbrough release, for around $70 (all prices are listed in Euros, which is very close right now to the U.S. dollar). The label has made 100 copies available of which 83 currently remain. It will be the only individually available album.

For more information please visit the label's website and watch this embedded video from the Kickstarter page:

Superfuzz's picture

6 records over the course of a year, one every two months, for $350. I wish them the best of luck.

gbougard's picture

350 divided by 6 is nearly 60 bucks per album
Intuition dictates that this is entirely nuts, but having said that, who knows...

rshak47's picture

on the New Velle website and signed up for the 6-LP subscription. A little pricey per record, maybe, but certainly not exorbitant, and . . . one lives only once. Thanks to Michael for the heads up on this one.

vinyl listener's picture

... why record digitally when these are only released on vinyl ?

PeterPani's picture

I guess, because to record onto a computer file is cheaper, less trouble and easier to remix and to manage after the sessions. Anyway, I will not subscribe. I would subscribe and even be prepared to pay more than $ 350, if they would do everythin analog. I play my records on all tube, all analog equipment. If I get a digital recording from Newvelle than I have no reason to buy from them. There are plenty of other, more contemporary jazz recordings on HiRez around. All these new vinyl-producers, who want to jump on the bandwagon still have to learn, that true analog is only true, if it is all analog. And yes - their is a difference between HiRez and analog: to a true analog recording you will come back many times. HiRez will sit in the shelf after first listenings. Funny, that the digital format preserves the recorded content like new for all your life. But there is no sense in it, because nobody wants to listen to it very often.

gbougard's picture

AAA is a farce. You have perfect sounding recordings in DI-GI-TAL and who gives a s%$t as long as the musi and the vibes are good?

PeterPani's picture

yes, that's true

Michael Fremer's picture
AAA is not a "farce" and you do not have "perfect sounding recordings" in DI-GI-TAL.

However I agree with this part of what you wrote: "Who gives a s%$t as long as the music and the vibes are good".

Neither analog nor digital produces "perfection". Both have their issues. If you look at how these records were produced (new details added to the story), it's quite obvious that all involved strove to keep the A/D, D/A conversions to a minimum because those conversions are anything but "perfect sounding".

Every time you do one, you degrade the sound, just as every generation of tape transfer also does, but in a very different way.

sonnenwender's picture

Thanks Michael, I am in

teachscience's picture

Spring for some tape and do the job correctly. Analog from top to bottom.

elanmehler's picture

Hi, my name is Elan, I'm starting Newvelle records with my partner Jean-Christophe.
Thanks for your interest in what we're up to, sorry for crashing the comments section...

The decision to not record direct to tape is not an ideological decision, it's a personal one. We record at East Side Sound with Marc Urselli because I made a record there of my own in 2007 for Brownswood Records and Marc is the best engineer I've ever worked with. You have a lot more freedom in the studio when you're not burning tape. We're paying for two days in the studio when these artists could easily record in one because I like what happens in the studio when everything is in the can and there's a completely relaxed feel in the studio. I'd feel more like I was on a “bandwagon” recording to tape or 'through tape' with an engineer outside his comfort zone, for a result that I can't vouch for personally.

We're interested in making something beautiful. We worked with the best people we knew to make these records happen, from the musicians to the artists to the engineer to the mastering to the pressing. When we played the test pressings on Michael Fremer's system last week they sounded pretty amazing, and f you can't take Michael's opinion on that, why visit this site? If you'd like to learn a bit about our engineer Marc Urseli's equipment and signal chain, he explains it here:

The current paradigm for selling recorded music is broken. We need new ideas and new models for releasing music. I've always loved and preferred the sound of music on vinyl, but what I find exciting about the vinyl resurgence is that people are finding a way to connect with recorded music again. So this is our idea… We record at the highest level we can and release only vinyl records. We build a community of people who want to hear this music presented with every attention to sonic detail, in beautiful packaging and with curated art. We attract the best musicians by offering an upfront fee and complete ownership of the digital files and they give us a two year window where we sell exclusively to our members.

I hope that wasn't too ranty! I really appreciate the people that have joined us so far, and also anyone who takes the time to think and care about this music.

Superfuzz's picture

Hi Elan, what happens after two years? Will the records be available individually? And maybe from other retailers? Will digital downloads be made available?

elanmehler's picture

So after two years the artist is free to release digitally with another label or self release. Or stick the whole thing up on you tube. Its up to them entirely, as they own the digital master outright.

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rshak47's picture

as of a few minutes ago - - congratulations to New Velle. I look forward to receiving release no. ! !!

Tortolita's picture

Received the first release. Great recording hampered by an out of true centre hole that causes some tonearm wandering. No amount of Audiodeske cleanings could remove the grit in the opening grooves of the first track. This likely comes from the paper envelope used inside the records sleeve. But, wonderful recording, poorly executed by their pressing facility.

fstanke's picture


Could you expand on "Both have their issues" or point us to a link where that is covered?

"Theoretically" it seems to me that using a digital master to produce LPs would give us the worst of all worlds, i.e., the imperfections of digital and analog.

Also, could you list or give us link for all the companies producing all analog, new recordings, i.e., not re-issues (which are much appreciated but maybe have more visibility).