TAS Rated 4/5 Music, 4.5/5 Sonics in the May/June 2020 Issue of The Absolute Sound!
When someone such as Ry Cooder, who delved deeply into traditional sources, just names his LP "Jazz", it is unlikely that one will hear avant-garde music. Actually, in the numbers gathered together here the investigative guitar man dedicated himself more or less to almost forgotten music. Historically informed, yet not adhering to the original instrumental ensemble, this ostensibly antiquated music enjoys a brilliant renaissance. Just like in an album of charming black and white photographs, the old-fashioned style shines out brightly, such as in "Big Band Bill", which (hardly by accident) is modeled on the jaunty swing of Django Reinhard, but does not imitate him. Cooder's slightly acidic-sounding guitar mixes homogeneously with the delightfully rustic sound of the tuba and a bluegrass mandolin ("Face To Face..."). The typical Caribbean rattle of the marimba enters into a pleasant dialogue with the warped sound of the slide guitar. Folksy bliss in three-four time ("Happy Meeting In Glory") stands confidently on a par with the merry, self-willed saxophone ("In A Mist") and with the poetic, dreamy and meditative guitar ("Flashes"). And just listen to how the classic number "Davenport Blues" - with its emphasis on the woodwinds - grooves along with the vibraphone and tingly inner parts. This sound is both filled with the spirit of Bix Beiderbecke and, based loosely on Mingus, will sooth the Jelly Roll Morton-soul of its fans.
Recording: 1977 at Amigo Studios, North Hollywood
This Speakers Corner LP was remastered using pure analogue components only, from the master tapes through to the cutting head.
This new version from Speakers Corner was mastered by Kevin Gray and sounds significantly better than the original. There is lots of air around the instruments lending a more three-dimensional feeling to the presentation. The soundstage is a little deeper, the sound of the tuba and bass saxophone are lush without lacking in dynamic impact.
Reportedly, [Cooder] felt unsatisfied with this record, but given how ambitious the undertaking was, that was perhaps inevitable. Sensible listeners know that artists often feel this way about records the rest of us think are masterful, and surely that is the case with Jazz.
- 180g Virgin Vinyl
- Pure Analogue Audiophile Mastering
- Made from original analogue master tapes
- Pressed at Pallas in Germany
- Big Bad Bill is Sweet William Now
- Face To Face That I Shall Meet Him
- The Pearls / Tia Juana
- The Dream
- Happy Meeting In Glory
- In A Mist
- Davenport Blues
- We Shall Be Happy