Pure Pleasure / Columbia - PPAN CL1033 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl - Mono
AAA 100% Analogue - Audiophile Mastering - Pressed at Pallas Germany -
Mastered at Abbey Road by Sean Magee - Limited Edition - Columbia CL 1033
AAA 100% Analogue This LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only, from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head
I don’t have an original of the Ellington LP, but my copy of the Basie tells me that despite the aging of the tapes, Sean Magee did a masterful job remastering this music for Pure Pleasure. The pressings are über quiet, the deep, black background enhancing the music's low-level detail and dynamics.
This is ambitious music from the two greatest large ensembles in jazz history, and the presentation and sound of these reissued LPs are top notch.
Audio Beat Rated 4/5 Music, 4/5 Sound!
This music counts among Ellington's most well-realized "concept projects," all inspired by Shakespeare's work and filled with memorable melodies and ample opportunities for solos by Cat Anderson, Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, and Quentin Jackson. The Ellington-Strayhorn compositions treat their soloists like actors doing scenes and, in effect, playing parts, even quoting lines after a fashion — Clark Terry "plays" Puck in "Up and Down, Up and Down (I Will Lead Them Up and Down)," and Johnny Hodges turns in one of the most sensuous performances of his career for "Half the Fun," from Antony and Cleopatra.
Such Sweet Thunder was originally announced as a stereo and mono release, but only showed up in mono thanks to the technical problems inherent in early stereo in creating a concert-like ambience in which the performance seemed continuous. The music itself counts among Ellington's most well-realized "concept projects," all inspired by Shakespeare's work and filled with memorable melodies and ample opportunities for solos by Cat Anderson, Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, and Quentin Jackson. The Ellington-Strayhorn compositions treat their soloists like actors doing scenes and, in effect, playing parts, even quoting lines after a fashion -- Clark Terry "plays" Puck in "Up and Down, Up and Down (I Will Lead Them Up and Down)," and Johnny Hodges turns in one of the most sensuous performances of his career for "Half the Fun," from Antony and Cleopatra..
Instrumental music is basically abstract, but when a composer decides to write a descriptive work, he depends on his audience’s acceptance of the work’s description in the program notes. This concept is particularly important with “Such Sweet Thunder” for some of the movements were composed without any reference to Shakespeare, and others originally depicted different scenes and characters than those listed in the final program. For example, the opening movement shares its title with the album. The suite’s title came from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, but the movement’s original title was “Cleo”. And if that wasn’t confusing enough, Ellington typically introduced the movement by saying that it was inspired by Othello’s wooing of Desdemona! The piece could have described Cleopatra on her barge, but the Othello reading works better: To impress Desdemona’s father—and eventually Desdemona herself—Othello tells of his experiences as a soldier and slave.
He tells of being in a jungle amidst cannibals and men whose heads were below their shoulders. This is a great fit for Ellington, as “jungle music” was one of his early specialties. Set to a 12-bar blues structure, the opening movement features the plunger-muted trumpets that were part of Ellington’s repertoire at the Cotton Club. The piece also has a swagger that could represent the Moor’s confident walk, and while the mood softens during Ray Nance’s cornet solo—perhaps depicting Othello retelling his story to Desdemona—Sam Woodyard maintains the crackling backbeat throughout the movement. According to Strayhorn biographer Walter van de Leur (who has studied Strayhorn’s manuscript scores) this is the only instance in the suite where Ellington and Strayhorn wrote parts of the same movement. However, the measure numbers van de Leur lists do not line up with the bars as I’ve counted them from the recording. Forced to make an educated guess, I would say that Strayhorn’s contribution was the four-bar interlude between the fourth and fifth choruses. Without having the score in hand—and the score for this movement is reportedly incomplete—it’s hard to say for sure.
From a musicological standpoint, the most distinctive movements in “Such Sweet Thunder” are the four sonnets. Only two of the four pieces survive in autograph scores and both of those are in Ellington’s hand. It’s probably a safe bet that Ellington composed all four, as Strayhorn never claimed any of them as his own.
“This is ambitious music from the two greatest large ensembles in jazz history on Such Sweet Thunder and the presentation and sound of these reissued LPs are top notch.” –
Great to see Duke Ellington's Such Sweet Thunder reissued on the Pure Pleasure label. A beautiful, quiet, flat pressing on 180g vinyl, mastered perfectly by Ray Staff.
Great stuff. An essential Duke record, and the sound here is fantastically vibrant and full throated. Brassy bit, warm full bass, lots of air around the band, a great remastering job. Highly recommended. One of Duke's best.
“Cat” Anderson, trumpet
Ray Nance, trumpet
Clark Terry, trumpet
Willie Cook, trumpet
John Sanders, trombone
Britt Woodman, trombone
Quentin Jackson, trombone
Johnny Hodges, saxophone
Harry Carney, saxophone
Russell Procope, saxophone
Jimmy Hamilton, saxophone
Paul Gonsalves, saxophone
Sam Woodyard, drums
Jimmy Wood, bass
Duke Ellington, piano
1. Such Sweet Thunder
2. Sonnet For Caesar
3. Sonnet to Hank Cinq
4. Lady Mac
5. Sonnet in Search of a Moor
6. The Telecasters
7. Up and Down, Up and Down (I Will Lead Them Up And Down)
8. Sonnet for Sister Kate
9. The Star-Crossed Lovers
10. Madness In Great Ones
11. Half the Fun
12. Circle of Fourths
13. Such Sweet Thunder
Recorded at Columbia 30th Street Studios, New York.
Pure Pleasure Records
The Restoration of the Art of Sound
180g Vinyl Mastered From The Best Available Sources
At the beginning of the 90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the situation was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and, of course, Pure Pleasure all maintained a mutual, unwritten ethical code: we would only use analogue tapes to manufacture records. During the course of the present vinyl hype, many others have jumped on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source to master from: CDs, LPs, digital files, MP3s – or employed existent tools from the 80s and 90s for manufacturing.
A digital delay is gladly used when cutting a lacquer disc because tape machines with an analogue delay have become quite rare and are therefore expensive. When cutting the lacquer, the audio signal is delayed by one LP revolution against the signal, which controls the cutter head, and for this a digital delay is very often employed. Of course, the resultant sound signal is completely digital and thus only as good as this delay.
We should like to emphasize that Pure Pleasure Records on principle only uses the original master tape as the basis for the entirely analogue cutting of lacquer discs. In addition, the pressing tool is newly manufactured as a matter of principle. We only employ existing tools for manufacturing if an improved result is not forthcoming, e.g. the title Elvis Is Back, which was mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray, or several titles from our Philips Classics series, which in any case Willem Makkee cut from the original masters at the Emil Berliner Studios in the 90s. It goes without saying that we only used the mother and that new tools were made for our production. To put it in a nutshell: we can ensure you that our releases are free from any kind of digital effects and that the lacquer discs are newly cut.
There really is nothing quite like it. It’s the touch, the feel, you have to stop and stare, the cover, the real thing, even the smell.
Its tangible, you can feel it, see it, study it, muse/dream over it, it’s real, someone has spent hours and hours over its construction and presentation. Pure Pleasure Records is just that, Pure Pleasure and that is what it has set out to be.
The music and the physical record. Something to keep, treasure, admire and above all enjoy.Of course with vinyl it’s not just a record, it’s the cover, the sleeve notes, you are holding a unique package, produced by craftsmen.
Pure Pleasure Records bring you vinyl albums of quality Jazz - Blues - R+B - Soul - Funk, remastered by some of the best engineers in the world and pressed on 180 gram audiophile vinyl at what is probably the best pressing plant in Europe
Pure Analogue Audiophile Mastering
Plated and Pressed at Pallas in Germany on 180 Gram Virgin Vnyl
Released in Limited Quantities
Audiophile Vinyl - Made in Germany For over 60 years the family business in the third generation of the special personal service and quality "Made by Pallas" is known worldwide. Our custom PVC formulation produces consistently high pressing quality with the lowest surface noise in the industry. Our PVC complies with 2015 European environmental standards and does not contain toxic materials such as Lead, Cadmium or Toluene. Our vinyl is both audiophile and eco-grade!