Bill Evans Interplay (1962) Riverside US



Previously posted as UK Riverside copy September 29th 2011. Now, nine months later, “upgraded” to US pressing, though still only mono.

Track Selection 1 (as original post but the US pressing) Interplay (Evans)

Track Selection 2 (new): When You Wish Apon a Star (Washington Harline)


Freddie Hubbard (tp) Bill Evans (p) Jim Hall (g) Percy Heath (b) Philly Joe Jones (d)NYC, July 16, 1962


Bill Evans, outside his usual trio format, with the excellent Jim Hall and Freddie Hubbard together as the Bill Evans Quintet. Evans and Hall went on to record the exquisite “Undercurrent” together, with more of that telepathic communication reminiscent of Evans and LaFaro.

Vinyl:  Riverside RM445 US mono press

There was a post on the US Jazz Collector site at which the quality of pressing in different countries came into question. There seemed a tone from the American posters that the US originals were unquestionably best, or at least that is how I read it. You have to go head-to-head to make those kind of statements, so when the chance to pick up a US Riverside of Interplay came up it seemed an interesting test.

Though the MP3 samples here on PC speakers are not very discriminatory, you can test for your self the self-titled Interplay here as the US press, above , and the UK press of Interplay here below

Having done so you are now in a position of authority to write opinion about one scientific test of the same recording mastered and pressed  in the UK versus its original US press. In real life of course you don’t usually  have a comparison, so its a pretty pointless excercise. Still, it keeps me amused. The confounding problem, which we have found before, is the US pressing is quite a bit louder than the UK pressing, given I never touch the gain level on the USB turntable.

The most important difference of course is the US cover, heavy on symbolism of collaborative creative effort, while the UK Riverside merely poached the iconic picture of Bill which graces another album, Portrait in Jazz:

Naughty naughty.



Deep grooved US Riverside label, hand-etched matrix number typical of US Riverside pressings

Circle containing letter “M” after the catalogue number – engineer or pressing plant possibly.

Serrated edge! (click to view 1600px full screen)

I have seen a serrated edge a couple of times before, but can’t for the life of me remember which records and I am not going to pull all 800 out the rack to find out. It seems a strange way to finish a record, but I guess its a “signature” of one particular pressing plant.


Collectors Corner

Recordcollectorspeak :  an occasional educational series.

Today we learn a new word, the verb, to upgrade. This parses as

I upgrade, you upgrade, we upgrade, they upgrade, but, I have upgraded.


Future indicative voice: “I would like to upgrade my copy of Bill Evans Interplay, but I can’t find an  friggin’ original American pressing in the UK”

Present passive voice: “Whoooee I just upgraded my copy of Bill Evans to an American Riverside, but I still can’t find a friggin’ stereo copy in the UK”

Upgrade is a useful word to add to your stock of record collecting terms, though you will not need to use it very often. Friggin’ on the other hand, may be sprinkled liberally in every sentence.

Source: Ebay

Sellers Description:

This is a mid 60’s Riverside USA pressing. I have owned this since I bought it new in the 60’s and have looked after it and stored it carefully. I have been grading my records as best I can according to the “Record Collector Magazine” grading guide Condition:  Record:  VERY GOOD CONDITION +   Cover: VERY GOOD CONDITION”

LJC Verdict: He may think he “looked after it”, but, with the passage of time, one forgets. It has a few pops and fairly superficial scratches typical of those left by lightweight hobby hifi arms of the Sixties. He bought it from new so there is only himself to blame.  Condition graded as only “VG +”  which gives him some wriggle-room.The big problem with Bill Evans – such great music, played over and over again – you will hardly ever find “Bill Evans” and “near mint” in the same sentence.

It is in a lot better condition than my own records dating from the Sixties, most of which would struggle to reach VG minus. You didn’t “look after” records in those days: you were young and free, only neurotics “cared” for records.  You cleaned them with a snotty hanky, you scratched them because your portable Dansette record player jogged easily because it was portable, the friends you lent them to did the same or worse, so you balanced a threepenny-bit coin on the record player cartridge to stop the needle sticking.  Record care, Sixties-style.

Right is a picture of the stereo  I have not got and have yet to see. Stereo original Riverside just don’t seem to exist this side of the pond. Of over forty Riversides I have, only one is stereo. But I do have a picture of the stereo.



UPDATE: Record photos updated July 15, 2016


10 thoughts on “Bill Evans Interplay (1962) Riverside US

  1. Recently got an original US stereo of this. It has the serrated edge as well 🙂 Haven’t had a chance to clean it up and listen yet, hope to get around to that over the weekend. There is also the M in the circle in the deadwax of mine as well, so it can’t mean mono, since my copy is stereo. Perhaps the cutting engineer’s or mastering plant’s symbol…?

    • Yup, not M for mono, ill-informed speculation on my part, no surprise there really. I have checked all my sources for etchings but can not find any reference to an encircled letter “M” as any engineer, pressing plant or label. It is not “Monarch” which is an encircled MR.

      Anyone got any thoughts, I have an open mind, empty, some say.

      • Just got finished listening to my stereo copy. Sounds great. You have to crank it a bit, but it sounds good when you do 🙂 Perhaps the M is some sort of code like the Blue Note “9M”. Either way, great album. I like the Riverside stereos. The monos I have aren’t bad by any means, but the stereos just sound nice.

  2. Good joke, especially in my case, as the higher frequencies now have to compete with mild tinnitus! I dont claim to understand why, but thicker vinyl accommodates deeper grooves, leaving more space on the groove wall for the signal trace,which results in a louder signal.Its all a mystery to me. I keep thinking I should learn more about it, but then I think, stuff it, lets put on a record instead.

  3. Interesting about the difference in levels. If the signal from the cartridge is significantly different between the two, then this could mean that less vinyl is committed to the signal in the groove on the lower one. The higher frequencies in the latter would then be particularly susceptible to wear by repeated action of the needle.

    Of course for those much over forty this will not be a problem because our hearing deteriorates at the higher end of the spectrum as we age.

    This reminds me of a cartoon I saw many years ago in a Hi-fi mag where a guy is proudly demonstrating his new kit to a friend and instead of speakers has attached oscilloscopes.

  4. Ah, yes, the serrated edge… My Donald Byrd, Blackjack, has one as well. I have a few more copies with the same edge, but just like you: can’t tell at this point and the lads are over, the wife is out and the rosé is chilled, so I’ll have to check later 😉

    Anyway, a nice score, this Riverside. The difference in volume is indeed quite remarkable, but if you turn up the volume on the UK pressing to the same level as the US, the sound quality is more or less similar from where I’m listening right now. Still what matters is: you just upgraded to the real deal: an original pressing.

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