. . .
Soundcheck – Old vs New
Stolen Moments Impulse Ampar 1961 Van Gelder mono master (replacement fresh rip)
. . .
Mono US AmPar original, LJC reviewed in 2011. Too early, time to make good with a proper review..
With music this good, let’s see if Tone Poet has a rival in the new Verve Acoustic Sounds Series.
Freddie Hubbard, trumpet; Eric Dolphy, alto sax, flute; Oliver Nelson, alto, tenor sax, arranger; George Barrow, baritone sax; Bill Evans, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Roy Haynes, drums. Recorded Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, February 23, 1961
A1. Stolen Moments (8:47)
A2. Hoe-Down (4:43)
A3. Cascades (5:32)
B1. Yearnin’ (6:24)
B2. Butch And Butch (4:35)
B3. Teenie’s Blues (6:33)
It’s not a stretch to put The Blues and the Abstract Truth in the same league as Kind of Blue, a perfect and cohesive whole, with Stolen Moments the jewel in the crown, and a common foundation in Bill Evans.
All Music: “Stolen Moments” is a thing of beauty that is more timeless as the years pass.
Nelson’s composition flows effortlessly from one segment to another, melody carried in carefully composed call-and-answer sequences between a variety of different voices and harmonies. As the opening melody slips sideways into the modal centre, Roy Haynes maintains the propulsion, Chambers walks tall, while Freddie lights up the sky, just so perfect.
Within the composed structure, windows open for expressive solos. Oliver Nelson is a solid performer on both alto and tenor, his elongated lines contrasting with Dolphy’s saturnine rapid-fire flute and Hubbard’s life-giving exuberance. Bill Evans playing is tighter and more rhythmic in a larger group structure, and his solo characteristically dances over the keys with beautiful cascading lines and figures. George Barrow’s baritone adds the depth and texture, and Nelson’s artful arrangements of the horn parts makes the group sound bigger than it is, with the suppleness of large small-group rather than regimented big-band. If ever there was an all-star supergroup, this is it, and Van Gelder captured it all.
Oliver Nelson probably was more succesful as composer / arranger than as a horn-player. Not to sell his playing short, but his compositions are a delight. More European-classical in form, but with very American swing, they stand on a par with George Russell and Charles Mingus: a strong core melody, executed through multiple voices, variations in mood and tempo, with space for improvisation.
This is my kind of jazz, a wave of genuine audiophile quality modern records, payback for many years of hifi investment, at last.
Verve Acoustic Sounds Series, mastered by Sterling Sound.
A landmark album, in equal measure, excellent compositions, excellent arrangements, excellent artists, excellent performance, and excellent recording. All that was needed was an excellent all-analogue quality mastering and cutting to bring it all together, which Sterling Sound have delivered. Presented in a beautiful rich gloss gatefold cover, this is an edition that has been worth waiting for.
RKS etching – cut by Ryan K Smith at Sterling Sound, Nashville, TN. Though Stirling Sound don’t mention it, as well as big name singers (Adele, Beyoncé) and heavy electric rock, Smith has a recent history of AAA acoustic jazz cutting, classic titles mostly for the ” Vinyl Me, Please” (MVP) Record Club, where Kevin Gray makes the odd appearance.
Van Gelder did all the recording and mixing to the final tape, as Michael Cuscuna noted about the Van Gelder tapes he rescued from the UA vaults, all you have to do is not #*#* it up. Of course some engineers went on to do just that.
With the audiophile benchmark established by Kevin Gray/Tone Poets, Abstract Truth comes sonically from the same stable. Wide stereo sound stage, full tonal and dynamic range, rich in detail pulled from tape, without compressed dynamic range and loss of upper frequencies characteristic of digitally sourced reissues of recent decades.
The wide runout indicates the same thinking as Gray about packing the music more densely towards the outer periphery of the vinyl by reducing the gain, permitting grooves closer together, to reduce distortion as the tonearm approached the record centre. When re-ripping the Acoustic Sounds and the Van Gelder 1961 mono, I reckon the original Van Gelder is about 25% louder, as expected, needing to push up the gain on the AS.
The original mono US original impulse has a quite different punchy presentation in its own right, but a sextet line-up, with its tonal variety of voices, gains an additional dimension here in stereo, and by 1961 Van Gelder had much improved his stereo mixing.
The icing on the cake, fantastic value for money for mint condition quality vinyl pressing. Irresistable.
Portrait of Nelson replaces the original gatefold sculpture artwork, I have to say, he looks uncomfortable and ill-at-ease. Pro photographers say they used to shoot around 20-30 frames, until the subject was relaxed, and only then put an actual roll of film in the camera. Ah, film, those were the days.
Harry M pictured these artists in their day, shares his remarkable archive of moments “stolen” at 400 ASA.
Oliver Nelson, Montreux, 1971
Verve Acoustic Sounds Series?
Just as we have the Blue Note Bermuda Triangle – Tone Poet, Blue Note and Music Matters Jazz, with RTI pressing, seems we have another player here under the Verve group umbrella: Acoustic Sounds, Chad Kaseem of our old friend Analog Productions, and QRP pressing. I don’t have a dog in this fight, I’ll buy anything from anyone if they can deliver All Analog quality from original tapes, of titles not already well served in my collection. Abstract Truth was one.
Definitive audiophile grade versions of the most historic and best jazz ever recorded, Verve Label Group and Universal Music Enterprises’ audiophile Acoustic Sounds vinyl reissue series.
Most of these Acoustic Sounds Series are mastered by Ryan Smith, apart from one by Kevin Gray.
Enough of the praise. A somewhat lacklustre choice of titles to launch the Series, looks more like the remainder bin at a record store, is that too cruel? Is it me, or are jazz singers are a little over-represented here? Four of twelve titles singers? The Bill Evans: Verve were late to the Bill Evan’s party, early Sixties territory held by Concord/ Riverside. Getz/Gilberto is not quite finger on the pulse, nor Armstrong/Petersen. The Coltranes we all have – several copies of. Only the Russell/US Decca catches my eye, as US Decca were not great pressings.
One in twelve is not a good result for LJC. The Verve selection feels supply-led – this is what we’ve got, rather than demand-led, here is what you want. Who chose and who approved this selection? A committee checklist, not a jazz buyer list. Amazon has its reissue jazz buyer algorithm on the pulse. I have five of six (the seventh, Sonny Clark is not released until August) this is what is actually HOT in the real money-changing-hands world, feels right. Sorry Ella, you are not on it.
The series for 2021 looks only a little more promising. Mingus will appeal to some, but even more Ella and Oscar Petersen? Is Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas on your wants list? Do you know anyone for who it would be? The Coltrane collaborations with Ellington and Hartman are anodyne, I have all the other Coltranes. . Just the odd title appeals, Roy Haynes/Roland Kirk is a potential beauty, but not until December, bummer.
- Ray Charles – Genius + Soul = Jazz (Impulse!, 1961)
- Gil Evans Orchestra – Out Of The Cool (Impulse!, 1961)
- Oliver Nelson – The Blues and the Abstract Truth (Impulse!, 1961)
- Sonny Rollins – On Impulse! (Impulse!, 1965)
- Bill Evans – Trio 64 (Verve, 1964)
- Bill Evans – Trio 65 (Verve, 1965)
- Charles Mingus – The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (Impulse!, 1963)
- Charles Mingus – Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus (Impulse!, 1964)
- Ella Fitzgerald – Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas (Verve, 1960)
- Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong – Ella & Louis (Verve, 1956)
- Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong – Ella & Louis Again (Verve, 1957)
- Bill Evans – At Town Hall, Volume 1 (Verve, 1966)
- John Coltrane – “Live” At The Village Vanguard (Impulse!, 1962)
- John Coltrane – Crescent (Impulse!, 1964)
- Duke Ellington & Coleman Hawkins – Duke Ellington Meets Coleman Hawkins (Impulse!, 1963)
- Oscar Peterson – Night Train (Verve, 1963)
- Oscar Peterson – We Get Requests (Verve, 1964)
- Duke Ellington & John Coltrane – Duke Ellington & John Coltrane (Impulse!, 1963)
- John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman – John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman (Impulse!, 1963)
- Roy Haynes – Out Of The Afternoon (Impulse!, 1962)
Basically, these guys:
(That’s me off the Christmas card list)
Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) is the centralized U.S. catalog and special markets entity for Universal Music Group, whose jazz catalogue includes EMI, Capitol, Decca, Blue Note, ECM, Mercury, Verve, Impulse and Pacific Jazz. UMe hold the strongest suit of jazz history, are the most active, and have unerring good taste in selecting targets for their Blue Note releases. Verve need to take note.
Concord Music Group own Prestige/New Jazz, Fantasy, Milestone, Riverside, Vee-Jay, Contemporary, Savoy, Debut, Volt, and Galaxy. They have not come forward with very much in the audiophile jazz resurgence, and are sitting on the Riverside Bill Evans legacy, Art Pepper, and so much other potential. Concord was owned by a private equity firm, Access Industries, investment vehicle of billionaire Russian oligarch Len Blavatnik. Concord’s strategic partner is …Starbucks, so expectations are not high for a Prestige revival any time soon. Or a decent cup of coffee.
Sony Music Industries own a small treasure chest of jazz recordings, primarily Columbia and RCA, but show little interest in exploiting it, which is a pity because of the extrordinary high quality and audiophile appeal of Columbia jazz recordings, Fred Plaut and The Church. Could they sound better than they already do? We need to know.
Warner Music Group is the remaining loose end, the Atlantic catalogue. They seem to have the least interest in their jazz legacy, besotted with rock history on the British Parlophone label: Led Zepplin, Fleetwood Mac, and David Bowie, a legacy of their aborted attempt to buy the EMI portfolio, what happens when the corporate Mergers and Aquisitions team are let loose on music history.
The good news is that The British Are Coming (back). The touchpaper has been lit, the British Jazz Explosion is in full swing, well, limbering up.
“Announcing a new jazz album series about British Modern Jazz. Featured classic 1960s & 1970s albums and sought-after tracks of artists include Michael Garrick, Stan Tracey, Don Rendell, Mike Westbrook, John Surman, Harry Beckett, Mike Taylor, Kenny Wheeler, Michael Gibbs and more. Many are released on vinyl for the first time since their original release”
“The first two releases in the series are the 14-track, two-disc compilation Journeys in Modern Jazz: Britain 1965-1972, and the powerful swing-to-post-bop saxophonist Don Rendell’s sparkily urgent and sometimes meditatively Coltranesque Space Walk.On the generically wide-ranging compilation, a young Kenny Wheeler unveils his genius for balancing big-band clout and graceful melody on Don the Dreamer (from 1969’s Windmill Tilter), John Surman and John Warren show why the glowingly harmonised music from their Tales of the Algonquin album was so acclaimed, and the heat of Michael Garrick’s ingenious New Orleans-meets-post-bop groover Second Coming is fanned by the legendary Caribbean saxophonist Joe Harriott in scalding mood. Among many highlights, Michael Gibbs’ fusion of classical sonorities and vampy jazz-rock (Some Echoes, Some Shadows) signals eclectic jazz transformations to come in the years from 1970 to now.”