Brew Moore: Quintet and Quartet (1956) Fantasy


Selection 1: Fools rush in (320 kbps MP3)

Recorded live in concert:  Quintet: Brew Moore (tenor saxophone) Cal Tjader (vibes) Vince Guaraldi (piano) Eddie Duran (guitar) Dean Reilly (bass) Bobby White (drums)  Concert, University of California, Berkeley, California, August 1955

Selection 2: Five Planets in Leo (320 kbps MP3)

Quartet: Brew Moore (tenor saxophone), Dick Mills  (trumpet), Max Hartstein (bass), Gus Gustofson (drums), John Marabuto  (piano)  Recorded January 15, and February 22, 1956 at Marines Memorial Hall, San Francisco.


Ralph J, Gleason says of The Brew Moore Quintet album:

These (songs)  all swing and even Brew, who is most critical of his own work (“I guess I never have been happy with anything I did”) had to say of this album, “It swings. You can say that.” Brew has two absolutely golden gifts. He swings like mad and he has soul. These are things you cannot learn by wood-shedding [practicing], or in any conservatory. You have to be born with them or learn them by living. Brew had them and he also has a priceless gift for phrasing. “Everything he plays lays just right,” one musician put it. It certainly does. …  When Brew says it, he says it simply, but it rings true. That’s the best way there is.”

A character who impressed beat generation writer Jack Kerouac, Brew Moore reputedly spent his very early musical years playing in sleazy joints behind burlesque acts,  giving rise to a sly biographical observation of the young tenor player, that it was not until the age of twenty-one that he first saw a naked woman from the front.

Always on the move, from the Deep South, to New York, the West Coast, and finally Sweden, Brew never achieved the fame that perhaps he deserved as much as fellow tenors, Stan Getz and Zoot Sims. The curtain fell for Moore in 1973 when he died following an accidental fall in a Copenhagen club.

Vinyl: Fantasy 3-222 original marbled red label

Though like many West Coast albums, lacking in the production values and lamination department, the cover is remarkable for its day.



Collector’s Corner

Souce: Ebay, from a Dutch seller last year, a record I never got around to blogging at the time. A modest score, but modest is the new exciting, really exciting not often seen on Ebay nowadays. I keep reading vinyl is dead., so how come so many people want it?

An in-flight magazine article was recently lionising the new High Resolution Audio format, of which I had never heard.

Sony says: “With the growth of High-Res Audio technology, we’ve now come full circle. By enabling digital lossless capture of original analog audio sources, it’s now possible to listen to performances exactly as the artist intended. Add in the decreasing cost of storage media, plus faster internet speeds and our ability to have music in its purest form wherever we go has never been greater.”

sampling rates

“CDs are standardized at 44.1kHz/16bit.  An alternative way of digitizing an analog source is a method called DSD (Direct Stream Digital) which captures sound information as a sequence of single bit values with an extremely high sampling rate of either 2.8MHz or 5.6MHz. This is approximately 64 or 128 times the sampling rate of CD audio and is simply known as DSD 2.8MHz or DSD 5.6MHz. For some engineers, this is the closest a digital file sample can get to an original analog source”

Of course some of us have already discovered the beauty of the original analog source, pictured left. It’s called vinyl. Or pretty close to it. The problem (or virtue) of vinyl is its lack of portability and lack of availability. But even if Sony engineers and others  have managed to close the gap in sound quality, there are some features I want to recommend to them to include in future High Res Audio players.

First,  an ” improve musician’s ability” calibration dial, which adds years of instrument practice to each performer.

Second, an “increase listener attention-span” feature, which disables track changing before it is complete.

Incorporating these two features, Modern Jazz on Vinyl may at last have a rival worthy of the name. May be you can suggest others.



22 thoughts on “Brew Moore: Quintet and Quartet (1956) Fantasy

  1. Aha, another outstanding Brew Moore post. I remember this album, ’cause you’re right: you already referred to it being on its way when you wrote this Brew Moore post; it was also where I left my comment about Dutch writer, Jazz DJ and Jazz drummer Jules Deelder who wrote a great poem on Moore.

    These two cuts are fabulous and I love the front cover, especially when you view it in full size 🙂

  2. One thing which has bugged me with blu-ray high-rez – which seems the way things are going for physical format – is that the digital signal will only exit via an HDMI cable and how many DAC’s have an HDMI input? none?

    Sorry if i have said this before but I am still a vinylphobe but my phono stage digitises the signal before amplifying and it sounds great and better than my old Ayre Phono and Pre – and much better than CD’s for example – I could go on but i need a bath!

    • Like they say. it takes two to tango.

      To my mind, it is impossible to separate the signal and its theoretical characteristics, from the capability of the replay system.

      For some years I experienced a game of leapfrog between the listening experience of cd and vinyl. During various upgrades of components and infrastructure one sounded better than the other, then the other way around. It was never “vinyl is always best”. It is only after heavy investment in the vinyl-end that at this moment it sounds much more musical. I dare say there are potential surprises around the corner.

      There is also a trade-off with convenience, which I am party to. I am pretty sure a separate turntable with a mono cart would sound better than my stereo cart summed by a pre-amp mono switch. I don’t dispute it, it’s just not “convenient” to go that route (space, affordability, divorce) Same must be true for other people – vinyl isn’t “convenient”.

      These are legitimate issues, life is a compromise. Given an infinite amount of time and money, any position could probably be upturned. However it is always interesting to hear other peoples stories.

      • I was surprised at the route I took last year – I had just thought about upgrading my power amp and had listened to the latest dogs whatsits ……. I do find it ironic as I have always preferred vinyl and now… I think one of the questions is how sensitive you are to differences in sound and at what point in the digitisation race (hz and bits) do we loose the ability to differentiate or care.
        Financially and convenience I wish I could just live with Cd’s.

        • Simon, I think one of the questions is how sensitive you are to differences in sound, and the other question is how addicted you have become to certain differences in sound. I know some people who have become addicted to the crackle of 78 RPM records or to the smell of century-old books. And I don’t blame them for that, not at all.
          But I wouldn’t blame the digitalisation race for any loss of ability to differentiate or care. I used to sit up late to listen to Willis Conover’s VOA Jazz Hour on shortwave, to catch some fragments of music, and I am stunned by the technological progress that has happened since then.

          • Eduard – you have a good point – and one I don’t know I will solve. What I do know is that I have tried CD’s since ’84 or thereabouts and cannot bring myself to spend serious money on a CD player. I think getting a mac or similar to store my digital music will give better results – I have heard impressive demos. Maybe when I reitre properly I will do that. When I retired post redundancy last year I cleaned, sleeved and re-shelved my records but have gone back to work. But there is a difference between listening at home and elsewhere as well. Too many variables. Gosh I could ramble on but this ain’t my blog – sorry LJC.

            • Ramble away Simon, this is one guest house which welcomes ramblers. I write some stuff, and then it’s interesting what other people have to say. On the whole I think it’s more interesting than watching song and dance competitions on television, or whatever else passes for mass entertainment nowadays.

            • Rambling permitted by LJC… so:

              To me, storing music on hard disks or sticks is a dreary thing, mainly because I just can’t do without record covers and labels. Apart from my LP and CD collection, I own a very large number of home-made CD’s which I have made to look like the “original” by adding their cover art, labels and liner notes en miniature. In other words, CD format to me is the minimum acceptable standard, even with those CD’s I have made using an MP3 source. I just can’t put up with badly misspelled “tags” and thumbnail representations as a source of, uhmm… information. BTW, I rarely listen to music in my car.

              • If I do go the hard drive route, which I feel is inevitable then I think it will be to store and access my Grateful Dead live CD’s more than anything else. But then life changes. But I do like the cover or booklet in my mitts. Shame about CD books with the strange colour schemes and small text just don’t go with my ageing eyesight.

  3. LJC, I can’t but repeat it again and again:

    “Sampling theory is often unintuitive without a signal processing background. It’s not surprising most people, even brilliant PhDs in other fields, routinely misunderstand it. It’s also not surprising many people don’t even realize they have it wrong…”

    (quoted from “”Sampling fallacies and misconceptions”, in:)

    Most important (please look at diagram shown on quoted website):

    “Sampled signals are often depicted as a rough stairstep that seems a poor approximation of the original signal. However, the representation is mathematically exact and the signal recovers the exact smooth shape of the original when converted back to analog.”

    Let me put it this way: Vinyl is beautiful, vinyl is valuable, it’s fun listening to vinyl the best way possible, I simply love it. But it doesn’t help spreading lies about modern recording technology in an attempt to idolize historical recording technology.

      • What you are suggesting is that the rough stairstep is what the listener is actually hearing (it is NOT – on the contrary, what he hears is an analogue signal very much the same as the one in Fig.1) …or else you wouldn’t take such delight in continually relying upon such material to give a fake description of “digital” sound. In fact, even your own 320 kbps could be so close to the original that, in all likelihood, you couldn’t tell the difference in a test situation. (There might be certain differences, e.g. in volume, due to the signal path – but you would still be at a loss telling which is which.)

    • eduard, i don’t think i understand this website. bear with me as i explain my confusion.

      i’m no genius, but i have a solid background in engineering and physics. you probably know all of this already, but i’m going to flesh out my concern for those who want to learn, i guess. digital, by definition, means discreet levels. there may be, for example, a 1 and a 2, but nothing in between. a 1.5 is unobtainable, as is the time 2:45:30 on a digital clock. in this case, digital refers to discreet voltage levels, which are translated by various electronics in a cd player or computer into a signal that is sent to the speakers, which vibrate the air according to the voltage-variance frequency, and your eardrums vibrate when that air wave gets to them and you hear music. cool. this means, again by definition, that there are certain voltage responses that a digital signal, no matter how rapidly sampled, will never send to the speakers, and thus never to my ear. but we can all agree that vibrating air is analog, and that is what the musicians sent to their microphones back in the days of blue note. so a musician could send a “1.5” but the digital sampling will interpret it as a 1 or a 2, depending on its rounding specs, in the playback. we lose information. how can anything be digital and analog at the same time? it seems to me that it can’t, yet that is exactly the claim the site makes at the end of the day. perhaps you can clarify.

      now, my question for you:

      does that matter? depends who you ask. i can barely hear it and hear only a minor difference when listening to fine audiophile equipment. i prefer vinyl for the collectible factor, enjoyment of original documents of music, etc. but some people, such as apparently LJC, can hear it very well. why would he lie about such things? is it a placebo effect? maybe, but why does that bother you? you can enjoy your music however you like, and so can LJC, and it hurts no one, as he thinks he is getting a nicer listening experience. he isn’t one of those smug audiophiles who scoff at headphones. he just has opinions. like all of us. where’s the harm in this? even if there is no real difference, which i doubt, it is at least good for the economy to buy such things! 😉

      and finally, an observation: the “spectrophile” comparison on the website is absurd and is extremely damaging to the credibility of the overall argument. no one (or few people), when discussing analog vs. digital sound, are interested in going outside the range of hearable sounds (unless you count sounds that are feelable, which matter, such as very low bass, etc.). they are discussing a better resolution of the analog signal INSIDE the digital realm. they do not, analogously, “want to see ultraviolet”. a better example of their argument would be: “i see red and orange but i wish i could see a little red-orange too.”

      i’m just trying to understand/discuss. i hope no offense is taken.

      • No offense taken, Gregory. I’m not quite sure what you mean by “this website” – it’s my post you are referring to, right? But I never claimed that anything can be “digital and analog at the same time”, did I? All I wanted to say was what comes out of your speakers is an analog signal created by a digital-to-analog converter. And this analog signal can be deceptively similar, to say the least, to the one that comes from the original analog source (such as a master tape). What you hear in the playback is analog. Your statement that “a musician could send a 1.5 but the digital sampling will interpret it as a 1 or a 2” is true in theory, of course. But putting it this way means over-simplifying something that is really much more complex. A musician never sends a 1.5 but he sends a cluster of frequencies that are reflected digitally in an immensely complex array of 1s and 2s (or rather, 0s and 1s, to stick to the conventions of computer language!).

        I have no intention of “going outside the range of hearable sounds”, so I think I quite agree with you in this respect.

        • the website i referenced was the one you linked.

          where is this digital to analog converter? i certainly don’t have one in my speakers or computer.

          i think, now the i reread everything, that we are having two different discussions. you are referencing the frequencies which the sampler picks up. certainly there is no need for the sampler to sweep down to 1Hz. no one makes such sounds. you are correct in that, theoretically, every frequency between, say, 30Hz and 40kHz, on an analog scale, will be sampled. that is true. i don’t THINK anyone disputes that.

          i’m talking about the RATE at which the music is sampled, not WHICH frequencies are sampled. and that is what the step graph refers to. when i sample at 320kbps, i am not hearing sound constantly, but 320,000 bursts of sounds all evenly dispersed throughout one second, and so one can argue, and quite effectively, that i am not hearing a smooth curve, but instead i am hearing chunks of the sound. a better graph analogy of the situation, if you are into math, would be a big sine wave with part of the graph simply not there (i.e. – equal to zero) every little bit. some claim they can hear this difference. i barely can, and it depends on what type of music i am listening to.

          • Sorry Gregory, for my initial failure to fully understand your point. DA converters are an integral part of CD players and computer mainboards/soundcards. And what you are hearing IS, in fact, a smooth curve. Let me again refer to the website:

            “Sampled signals are often depicted as a rough stairstep that seems a poor approximation of the original signal. However, the representation is mathematically exact and the signal recovers the exact smooth shape of the original when converted back to analog.”

            At this point, your big sine wave should reappear in its original (analog) shape, and this is what you hear. No chunks of sound, because the original has been mathematically restored to life. This, at least, is my humble understanding of the process, and I think it should be basically correct.

            By the way, I wouldn’t say the “spectrophile” comparison on the website is absurd. It’s not the comparison as such (which holds true, I think) but the crazy idea that we should go way beyond the visible/audible spectrum to get a reasonably decent result. And by decent I mean “impossible to identify in a test situation”.

            • And, yes, some information will get lost during the analog-digital-analog process. The question is: Which of the two media causes more loss – an analog vinyl copy, or a digital copy of the original master tape? This is where the debate often turns irrational. (Just between the two of us: LJC is not an audiophile fundamentalist.)

  4. Thanks for introducing me to another artist I wasn’t aware of. Your envisioning of ‘improve musician’s ability’ feature is interesting- but for me it would be a splendid dial that increased ‘improvisational genius’ rather than years of instrument practice (without compromising the quality of the underlying recording). There are lots of vital performers whose genius greatly exceeded their chronological age (at the drop of a hat, Tony Williams and Lee Morgan should get the ball rolling- but your distinguished readership should be able to think of many more young tigers).

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