TAS Rated 4/5 Music, 4/5 Sonics in the July/August 2022 Issue of The Absolute Sound!
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Sometimes in the course of our exploration of potential titles to reissue, we come across a true gem that somehow escaped mainstream popularity. Our new all-analog HQ-180 of Matador by trumpeter Kenny Dorham and his quintet is the latest and perhaps most crystalline example of this. There has never been a single 180-gram pressing available. It has only been reissued (officially) once in 50 years. When you hear it, you'll scratch your head raw that this under-appreciated gem has been missing for so long.
Working with a soulful Jackie McLean on alto, a loose and swinging Bobby Timmons on piano, and the locked-in rhythm section of Teddy Smith on bass and J.C. Moses on drums, the playing is spontaneous, energetic and expressive. Check out the frenetic interplay between Timmons and Moses during the long trailing section of "Melanie".
"Dorham and McLean, two of jazz' most passionate and lyrical players, are in very good form here. Helped by a varied set of material and an energized Timmons, they have fashioned an album of surpassing interest." - Ira Gitler, Downbeat Magazine, April 1963
Recorded in a single day in 1962, Matador contains the sprawling epic McLean-penned "Melanie" (a suite in three parts), as well as Dorham's smoldering "El Matador" and a stirring take on "Beautiful Love". Throughout the session, Timmons, Smith, and Moses provide sublime support while Dorham and McLean trade sinewy solos. Emotional musical exploration ties to readily approachable post-bop structure that make for a snappy, yet heady, mix of tunes that put a tap in your foot while engaging your head and heart.
Chris Bellman cut Matador from the original analog master tape (one of the few that survived the Universal warehouse fire of 2008, lucky for us) and the sound is revelatory! Tight acoustics of the Soundmaker Studios provide tightened bass, crystal-clear drums and beautifully rounded tones from Dorham's and McLean's horns. This is another fine example of Impex Records cutting through the fat of modern music-making to reveal the very essence of the music and the giant talents who created it. We are elated to bring this sadly-neglected classic back for true believers to add to their collection and (maybe more importantly) to a whole new generation to discover for the first time.
"Kenny Dorham's Matador can safely claim the all too common distinction of being a classic among jazz connoisseurs while virtually unknown to the casual listener... A fantastic session by any standard."- Brandon Burke, AllMusic Guide
Another masterpiece from Impex Records, Matador is a real sleeper. Originally released in 1953 on the United Artist label and now back in print for the first time in nearly 50 years, this title by Kenny Dorham deserves an early nomination for the reissue of the year! Pressed at RTI on 180 gram vinyl and mastered by Chris Bellman, this is just about as good as post-pop gets. The interplay between Kenny on trumpet, Jackie McLean on alto, Bobby Timmons on piano, Teddy Smith on bass and J.C. Moses on drums will have your senses super stimulated with amazement and delight!... Smooth and tasteful yet with plenty of drive and imagination, Durham is in peak form here on Matador. I am a huge fan of his Quiet Kenny and Whistle Stop albums, but this might be my new favorite release in his entire catalog. The sound stage is deep and wide with extensive air and density. Top to bottom dynamics are off the chart. Instruments are presented with a lifelike pitch, timbre and tone that puts them right there in your listening room. As always, a super flat and quiet pressing from Impex greatly contributes to the overall inner detail and visceral involvement. I even love the art work on the LP cover! Congrats to Abey Fonn and the entire Impex team on another winner!"
At the end of the year, I fully expect this to be on my list of top five vinyl releases.
Mastered from the original analog tapes by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering, impeccably pressed, and housed in a beautifully crafted, ribbed paper stock tip-on jacket that's faithful to the original, the sound is lively and present, with great dynamic energy, excellent tonality, a wide stereo spread, a fine sense of the venue's space, and pillows of air around the instruments. Excellent, and a most welcome title.
- Numbered, Limited Edition
- Limited To 5000 Pressings
- Audiophile 180g Vinyl LP
- Available on all-analog LP for the first time in nearly 50 years
- First time ever on HQ-180
- Mastered by Chris Bellman from the original analog master tapes
- Original single disc jacket with ribbed paper tip-on over heavy-board stock
- Pressed at RTI
|Jackie McLean||alto saxophone|
- El Matador
- Melanie - Part 1
- Melanie - Part 2
- Melanie - Part 3
- Beautiful Love
- There Goes My Heart