This vinyl-remastering of classic Jobim is stunning! . The nuanced engineering of Rudy Van Gelder is captured with vibrancy and range. The stereo separation is distinct with left-channel percussion and right channel piano in blissful complement. The electric piano tonality is diverse and the trombone is silky smooth. The original artwork, including the silhouette photo of Jobim smoking a hand-rolled cigarette is captured with a glossy finish. The vertical inside gatefold is one more example of why vinyl is resurgent. Sound 5/5 AudiophileAudition
Recorded in 1970 at Rudy Van Gelder's studio under the production auspices of Creed Taylor, the arrangement and conducting skills of Deodato, and the engineering expertise of Van Gelder himself, Jobim's Stone Flower is quite simply one of his most quietly stunning works.
Stone Flower is simply brilliant, a velvety, late-night snapshot of Jobim at his peak.
Around the year 1970, almost everything appeared to have been said about the style of music over the past two decades, which was a mix of samba and cool jazz. Adventurous musicians such as Luis Bonfa, Baden Powell, Charly Byrd, João and Astrud Gilberto, and the saxophonist Stan Getz lent fire and sentiment to the “new trend”. First and foremost among them was Carlos Antonio Jobim, whose catchy tunes such as the ticking, shuffling song "Desafinado" and the genial "One Note Samba" were heard all over the globe.
That the man from Ipanema still had a lot to say is proved by the present album, which presents Jobim’s creativity at the height of his maturity. Right from the very first number, where Urbie Green on the trombone 'sings' "Tereza My Love" so purely in the top register, it is clear that the late bossa with its typical rhythm is structurally far more refined than the early hot dance numbers. The melodies are woven through, as it were, with shining gold and silver threads of rhythm, and clusters of sound are light and airy. However, here and there, the musicians let their hair down, such as in the Latin classic "Brazil".
With that magician of sound Deodato as arranger and conductor, and Rudy van Gelder as recording engineer, this LP is certainly a Bossa masterpiece. There’s no more to be said!
Recording: June 1970 at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, USA
Production: Creed Taylor
1. Tereza My Love
2. Children's Games
4. Brazil (Ary Barroso)
5. Stone Flower
8. God and the Devil in the Land of the Sun
25 Years pure Analogue
AAA 100% Analogue This Speakers Corner LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only, from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head 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.
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!