Seeking to offer definitive audiophile grade versions of some of the most historic and best jazz records ever recorded, Verve Label Group and Universal Music Enterprises' new audiophile Acoustic Sounds vinyl reissue series utilizes the skills of top mastering engineers and the unsurpassed production craft of Quality Record Pressings. All titles are mastered from the original analog tapes, pressed on 180-gram vinyl and packaged by Stoughton Printing Co. in high-quality gatefold sleeves with tip-on jackets. The releases are supervised by Chad Kassem, CEO of Acoustic Sounds, the world's largest source for audiophile recordings.
Included in the December 2020 title releases for the series is the striking New York, N.Y., a high point for influential jazz composer and arranger George Russell. Russell, was an early proponent of "modal jazz," which featured fewer chord changes and encouraged soloists to improvise on the melody not on the harmony.
For this 1959 classic Russell assembled an all-star orchestra, including pianist Bill Evans (a frequent participant on Russell's recordings), Art Farmer, Bob Brookmeyer, John Coltrane, and Milt Hinton, among others. Singer Jon Hendricks provided a beatnik-style stream of consciousness narration that opened and closed the truly unique performance.
"Each step in our production process - from title selection to mastering, pressing and packaging - is designed to meet the highest standards, and we want everyone who hears these albums to feel the love and hard work we put into everything we do," says Chad Kassem CEO of Acoustic Sounds.
How does it sound? Generally, very good: the soloists and rhythm section are vivid, palpable; bass lines (by Milt Hinton or George Duvivier) are clear, plucky, and woody; the drumheads pound, the cymbals shimmer. Two caveats. First, as with many (but far from all) early stereo recordings, the instruments are crowded into the left speaker and the right speaker, except for Hendricks, who narrates upfront and center, and the nonsoloing horn players, who are spread a bit in the center to the rear. (There's a convincing illusion of depth.) Second, when those nonsoloing horn players blow loud, the engineer (unidentified) hits the compression button; the dynamics don't bloom. (It's better than distortion, but still ....) These flaws, at times annoying, don't disrupt the pleasure. The tapes were otherwise fine to begin with, the mastering by Ryan Smith of Sterling Sound is probably as good as possible - this LP sounds much better than previous reissues - and the music overwhelms any flaws.
- Acoustic Sounds Series reissue from Verve/Universal Music Enterprises
- 180g Vinyl LP
- Mastered by Ryan K. Smith at Sterling Sound From Original Analog Tapes!
- Pressed at Quality Record Pressings
- Stoughton Printing gatefold old-style tip-on jacket
|Gene Allen||baritone sax|
|Al Cohn||tenor sax|
|John Coltrane||tenor sax|
|Benny Golson||tenor sax|
|Hal McKusick||alto sax|
|Sol Schlinger||baritone sax|
|Phil Woods||alto sax|
- Big City Blues
- East Side Medley: Autumn In New York / How About You
- A Helluva Town