AAA 100% Analogue This LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head
Pure Pleasure / Columbia - PPAN CS8341 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl
AAA 100% Analogue - Pressed at Pallas Germany - Limited Edition
Mastered at Steve Hoffman & Kevin Gray at Acoustech - Columbia CS 8341
Sound 9/10 Music 9/10 Michael Fremer Stereophile!
Ellington plays Tchaikovsky. You can't go wrong. . It doesn't get any more fun than this if you are an Ellington fan.
In 1960, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn arranged their own adaptation of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Suite for the Duke Ellington Orchestra.
Back in 1969, five years before Vince Guaraldi jazzed up Christmas music for "A Charlie Brown Christmas," Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn conceived of and superbly executed this delightfully good-humored jazz version of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker Suite."
Ellington and Strayhorn made up hip new names for Peter Ilich's originals, like "Sugar Rum Cherry" and "Toot Toot Tootie Toot" (Dance of the Reed-Pipes), but even without the novelty titles, you'd know The Duke was going for lightness and good humor.
The suite will be familiar to all, but the retelling as a jazz tale will be novel. The orchestra with Hodges, Carney, Gonzalves, Ray Nance and all the other great vets including drummer Sam Woodyard, swing their way easily through these rhythmically charged, nimbly struck arrangements.
My only criticism here are the short sides. Each is over too quickly.
The recording, produced in Los Angeles May through June of 1960 is clean, crisp and three dimensional, though the mix is more 3 track than stereo, with instruments panned fairly hard left and right with a prominent center fill and little to the its sides until you get to the hard left/right stuff.
Still, despite the somewhat dated staging, the recording quality itself is superb. The horns have a full, brassy swagger, the reeds plenty of buzzy warmth and Woodyard's drum kit is nicely developed with a juicy, woody rim shot that pops brilliantly and crisply chiming cymbals. Ellington's piano is also nicely recorded and there's an emphasis on close-miked percussion that helps make this an audiophile's delight.
A nice blend of direct, closely miked sound and chamber reverb produce a big, exciting picture you'll wrap your ears around with pleasure.
Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman's mastering and the quiet Pallas pressing make this reissue superior to the original, though if you have a clean one of those, you don't need this.
Though it was issued by Pure Pleasure last Spring, now's the time to remind you of this swinging Christmas record, perfect for right now!
I've been loving my original pressing for years. It's a record that comes out every Christmas. Get it and I guarantee it will become a tradition in your house every holiday season for years to come.
Duke Ellington's hard swinging Nutcracker Suite isn't a crossover or a novelty, it's a serious arrangement performed with the usual Ellington depth that is at the same time just a blast, and highly recommended whatever the season. Great remastering by Hoffman and Grey has a deep, wide soundstage and a big, driving, ballsy sound full of brass and wood. Five doobies.
Ellington's one meeting with Count Basie is also redone by Hoffman and Grey, and is another winner. This blows away even the most recent Sony CD mastering, as with the Nutcracker, a big, full, dynamic sound that puts every instrument clearly in a defined 3-D space with all the wonderful sonority of the Ellington and Basie bands. This one's a faceoff and a swinging contest, without a doubt. Everybody gets their shot and blows hard. Highly recommended,
Duke Ellington, piano
Johnny Hodges, saxophone
Harry Carney, saxophone
Paul Gonzalves, saxophone
Russell Procope, saxophone
Jimmy Hamilton, saxophone
Ray Nance, trumpet
Willie Cook, trumpet
Andrew Meringuito, trumpet
Eddie Mullins, trumpet
Juan Tizol, trombone
Lawrence Brown, trombone
Britt Woodman, trombone
"Booty" Wood, trombone
Sam Woodyard, drums
Aaron Bell, bass
2. Toot Toot Tootsie Toot (Dance of the Reed - Pipes)
3. Peanut Brittle Brigade (March)
4. Sugar Rum Cherry (Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy)
6. The Volga Vouty (Russian Dance)
7. Chinoiserie (Chinese Dance)
8. Dance of the Floreadores (Waltz of the Flowers)
9. Arabesque Cookie (Arabian Dance)
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!