Track Selection: “Eleven Wives” (Rip from Vinyl) >
Alternative source: “Eleven Wives” (Rip from CD) >
Avishai Cohen (b); Shai Maestro (p) Mark Guiliana (d) recorded Gothenberg, Sweden 24-8th September 2007
Avishai was a discovery playing with Chick Corea, and has a dozen excellent and stimulating CDs, of which I have all. After a decade on the US jazz scene, he returned recently to his native Israel. He took the Antibes Jazz Festival by storm the other year and his live appearances have been enthusiastically received in Europe, so may be he will return to these shores.
A brief excursion out of my usual timezone of 1956-66 but occasionally you need to step outside to see what else is going on.
“Not so fast, Londonwhatsyourname – this isn’t American jazz of the Fifties and Sixties!” Yes it is LondonJazzCollector here, you haven’t suffered a browser hijack. One of the odd times I stray beyond 1970, Avishai Cohen has been one of the few contemporary modern jazz musicians I listen to, along with Brad Mehldau, Erik Truffaz and occasionally Chick Corea.
I’ll let the CD reviewers do the heavy word lifting as regards the music: “Metric modulation and complex polyrhythms that gradually evolves into a Latin-flavored, clave-fueled workout”…” virtuosic soloing and lockstep harmonics that find the trio playing tricks with time and space in a wholly intuitive manner. Cohen’s bass work throughout is consistently inventive; he thoroughly enjoys toying with dense, interlocking rhythmic surprises…” Yeah. He’s good.
Usually this more recent jazz comes on CDs. You have no choice, as that is the format it comes in. I was surprised therefore to see one of Cohen’s best records “Gently Disturbed” pressed on vinyl. As I already owned the CD, as a vinyl fan, I thought I’d give the vinyl a go.
What a disappointment. This modern vinyl is significantly worse than the CD. Digitally recorded, digital production throughout, and then contracted to a bucket shop to plop it onto vinyl at the end. Weak and lacking presence, the insistent driving percussion of Mark Guiliana is reduced to the ticking of a grandfather clock, and it makes this exciting composer/bassist sound dull.
Listen to the same track ripped from CD for comparison (as an aside, which is a little louder).I expect the trendy Kensington “RazDaz” record production staff don’t have the slightest idea what they have done, and why should they? It’s vinyl, vinyl’s cool. No it isn’t, if listening feels like being hit around the head with a wet Kleenex. Hey dude, what happened to the top end??. It’s crap.
A great album on CD but I wouldn’t bother with vinyl. It’s pointless. The CD is in this case much more lively and engaging presentation, and you can enjoy the music more and have the convenience of CD. I had the same experience with the Sam Rivers Blue Note “Inventions and Dimensions” CD, where the late 70’s vinyl Blue Note by United Artists (its only release) is a total audio disaster. Lesson learned: vinyl mostly beats CD except times when it doesn’t.
Now back to the 50’s and 60’s…