AAA 100% Analogue This LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head
Speakers Corner / Columbia - CL949 - 180 Gram virgin Vinyl
AAA 100% Analogue - Limited Edition - CL 949 Columbia
Mastered by Maarten De Boer at Emil Berliner - Pressed at Pallas Germany
Speakers Corner 30 Years pure Analogue
Featured in Michael Fremer's Heavy Rotation in Stereophile
The reissue does an excellent job of capturing the original’s warm aura, particularly getting right the spacious echo behind Philly Joe’s brush work on “Bye Bye Blackbird.” The reissue is actually cleaner and more extended than the original and represents more of a clarification of it rather than a revision. Coltrane’s sax doesn’t quite have the body found on the original but you can’t have everything. And you can bet the reissue is quieter than most originals you might find. A nicely done AAA reissue. MUSIC 8/10 SOUND 8/10 - Michael Fremmer Stereophile
Both of these LPs display the sonic acuity that makes analog playback the choice of those listeners who care most about fidelity. Miles Davis made so many great records in the decade between these two, and I'm not alone in hoping that Speakers Corner decides to re-release them - The Audio Beat
Miles Davis’s major label debut, recorded with his quintet in the fall of 1955 and late summer of 1956 while he was still under Prestige contract and released early in 1957, was not particularly well-received at the time, though it has grown considerably in stature since then.
Davis, John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers and “Philly Joe” Jones has been together as a group for over a year at this time, working both in the studio and in live performance. Miles had played the title track at Newport in 1955, rebounding from what the liner notes call a “health” problem, but which was an addiction to heroin that he kicked in 1953 or 1954.
The version of the gorgeous, bluesy Monk tune that opens and highlights the album both reprises the pensive, post-Bop sound of the earlier Birth of the Cool and was a harbinger of Miles to come. The opening bars, with Coltrane’s warm tenor wrapped around Davis’s jagged muted trumpet set a sublime tone for the tune and the album.
Though the 30th street studio recording is mono, great depth is produced, with Davis up front and the others cleanly layered behind. The second tune, Charlie Parker’s “Ah-Leu-Cha” is more standard uptempo hard-bop and the side closes with a stately version of the cool Cole Porter standard “All of You” that would be equally at home in a supper club as a jazz joint.
Side two opens with a pleasing, smoothly flowing but hardly memorable take on the standard “Bye, Bye Blackbird,” with Coltrane hinting at future harmonic and rhythmic strategies in his long, productive solo. Whatever Rudy Van Gelder’s legend, capturing a clean piano sound wasn’t among his strong suits, especially early on in his long career, so here, Red Garland’s piano, recorded by Frank Laico attains a welcome, woody clarity lacking on most of the Prestige Van Gelder sessions.
Compare Garland’s coherent, non-boxy sound on the suave, jumpy cover of Tadd Dameron’s “Tadd’s Delight” to any of the Prestige recordings.
The album ends with a swinging, unusual rendering of a Swedish folk song “Dear Old Stockholm,” featuring a nimble, driving Paul Chambers bass solo that’s also well recorded, particularly given the year, though otherwise there are hints of overload on a few peaks. Coltrane takes a long squiggly solo and Miles takes the melody back with an uncharacteristically complex muted trumpet solo and conclusion.
The reissue does an excellent job of capturing the original’s warm aura, particularly getting right the spacious echo behind Philly Joe’s brush work on “Bye Bye Blackbird.” The reissue is actually cleaner and more extended than the original and represents more of a clarification of it rather than a revision. Coltrane’s sax doesn’t quite have the body found on the original but you can’t have everything. And you can bet the reissue is quieter than most originals you might find. A nicely done AAA reissue.
MUSIC 8/10 SOUND 8/10 Michael Fremmer
At long last these early recordings, which Miles Davis set down for the Columbia label in 1955 and 1956, are available on LP again. And what is more, they were made without any alternate takes or second attempts, as is the custom these days. You can sit back and enjoy the six numbers in the order which the producer, probably in conjunction with Davis, decided upon. To be sure, all of the titles are well known and have been played a thousand times over in many different versions.
But what this Quintet (and here each and every individual musician is meant!) produces as regards inventiveness, thrilling improvisations and artistry is absolutely top notch. Davis’s vibrato-less sound is taken over seamlessly by John Coltrane – wonderfully demonstrated in the middle of "Bye, Bye Blackbird", while Paul Chambers’ showpiece is "Ack Värmeland du sköna" (aka "Dear Old Stockholm"). In the years 1955/56, bebop was the talk of the day, born witness to by the classics "Tadd’s Delight" by Tadd Dameron and "Ah-Leu-Cha" by Charlie Parker. Here, however, the improvised melodic strands are more moderate, pointing the way to the style that later became known as modal jazz.
Although "’Round About Midnight" as an album does not enjoy the reputation of "Kind Of Blue", this Columbia recording contains many gems which are well worth hearing. Recording: October 1955, June and September 1956 at Columbia’s 30th Street Studio, New York Production: George Avakian
In 1955, Miles Davis signed with jazz powerhouse Columbia Records and immediately began recording 'Round About Midnight. Although he was still under contract with Prestige Records, an agreement stipulated that he could record material for Columbia, to be released after the expiration of his contract with Prestige.
'Round About Midnight was the first recording with Davis's new quintet, composed of Philly Joe Jones on drums, Paul Chambers on bass, Red Garland on piano, and a young John Coltrane on tenor sax. Featuring standards like Bye Bye Blackbird and the title track 'Round Midnight, this record is considered by some to be one of the pinnacles of the hard bop era.
For a seasoned veteran or a jazz newcomer, this record represents the origins of post-bop modern jazz and is an absolute necessity for any vinyl collection.
Miles Davis, trumpet
John Coltrane, tenor sax
Philly Joe Jones, drums
Paul Chambers, bass
Red Garland, piano
1. 'Round Midnight
3. All of You
4. Bye Bye Blackbird
5. Tadd's Delight
6. Dear Old Stockholm
25 Years pure Analogue
Are your records completely analogue?
Yes! This we guarantee!
As a matter of principle, only analogue masters are used, and the necessary cutting delay is also analogue. All our cutting engineers use only Neumann cutting consoles, and these too are analogue. The only exception is where a recording has been made – either partly or entirely – using digital technology, but we do not have such items in our catalogue at the present time
Are your records cut from the original masters?
In our re-releases it is our aim to faithfully reproduce the original intentions of the musicians and recording engineers which, however, could not be realised at the time due to technical limitations. Faithfulness to the original is our top priority, not the interpretation of the original: there is no such thing as a “Speakers Corner Sound”. Naturally, the best results are obtained when the original master is used. Therefore we always try to locate these and use them for cutting. Should this not be possible, – because the original tape is defective or has disappeared, for example – we do accept a first-generation copy. But this remains an absolute exception for us.
Who cuts the records?
In order to obtain the most faithful reproduction of the original, we have the lacquers cut on the spot, by engineers who, on the whole, have been dealing with such tapes for many years. Some are even cut by the very same engineer who cut the original lacquers of the first release. Over the years the following engineers have been and still are working for us: Tony Hawkins, Willem Makkee, Kevin Gray, Maarten de Boer, Scott Hull, and Ray Staff, to name but a few.
At the beginning of the ‘90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the reissue policy was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC Compact Classics, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and others, including of course Speakers Corner, all maintained a mutual, unwritten code of ethics: we would manufacture records sourced only from analogue tapes.
Vinyl’s newfound popularity has led many other companies to jump 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 from which to master: CDs, LPs, digital files and even MP3s.
Even some who do use an analogue tape source employ a digital delay line, a misguided ’80s and ‘90s digital technology that replaces the analogue preview head originally used to “tell” the cutter head in advance what was about to happen musically, so it could adjust the groove “pitch” (the distance between the grooves) to make room for wide dynamic swings and large low frequency excursions. Over time analogue preview heads became more rare and thus expensive.
So while the low bit rate (less resolution than a 16 bit CD) digital delay line is less expensive and easier to use than an analogue “preview head”, its use, ironically, results in lacquers cut from the low bit rate digital signal instead of from the analogue source!
Speakers Corner wishes to make clear that it produces lacquers using only original master tapes and an entirely analogue cutting system. New metal stampers used to press records are produced from that lacquer. The only exceptions are when existing metal parts are superior to new ones that might be cut, which includes our release of “Elvis is Back”, which was cut by Stan Ricker or several titles from our Philips Classics series, where were cut in the 1990s using original master tapes by Willem Makkee at the Emil Berliner Studios. In those cases we used only the original “mother” to produce new stampers.
In addition, we admit to having one digital recording in our catalogue: Alan Parsons’ “Eye in the Sky”, which was recorded digitally but mixed to analogue tape that we used to cut lacquers.
In closing, we want to insure our loyal customers that, with but a few exceptions as noted, our releases are “AAA”— analogue tape, an all analogue cutting system, and newly cut lacquers.
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