Pure Pleasure / United Artists - PPAN UAL 400 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl
AAA 100% Analogue - Audiophile Mastering - Mono
Mastered by Ron McMaster at Capitol Studios - Pressed at Pallas Germany
First issued as a United Artists LP in 1958, this reissue on 180-gram audiophile vinyl uses the mono master although it was recorded in stereo originally. Maybe the stereo master tapes were considered inferior or just lost completely? The mono sound however is first-rate with every instrument clearly defined and with a natural resonance. Brookmeyer seems to have been attempting to reproduce the easy, light but compulsive swing of the old Kansas City bands and in this he succeeds.
The leader sounds a little strained on Moten Swing although he comes up with a nicely pulsating solo segment on Travlin’ Light, a track that also benefits from Big Miller’s deep, resonant voice in the old KC jazz shouter tradition. Quinichette has his moments and his Lester Young inspired sound is certainly ideally suited to this sort of reproduction music but the most consistently inspired and impressive soloist here is Cohn. Perhaps because he is not really trying his natural style seems ideally suited to the Kansas City sound and his solos on every track are successful. The rhythm team of Pierce, Farmer, Johnson and occasionally Hall come up with a flowing post Basie style which keeps everything swinging compulsively from start to finish. Hall’s sound is more grainy and cracked than is usual with him on recordings of this vintage and although he wisely avoids trying to do a Freddie Green, he helps to fill out the natural swing of the band and is also a useful soloist.
Cool jazz meets swing on this memorable but long out-of-print LP. Valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, tenors Al Cohn and Paul Quinichette, pianist Nat Pierce, guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Addison Farmer and drummer Osie Johnson perform four songs associated with the late-'30s Count Basie Orchestra plus a couple of numbers ("A Blues" and "Travlin' Light") that are sung by the underrated vocalist Big Miller who was making his recording debut at the time.
Back in the 1930s Kansas City was a major jazz scene as it was home to Bennie Moten’s Band followed by the Count Basie Jazz Orchestra. Bob Brookmeyer, the virtuouso valve trombonist, who just passed away in the last several months, gathered in 1958 a largely Basie-oriented septet to do honor to the KC scene by recording several standards of the day including “Jumping at the Woodside,” “Blue and Sentimental,” “Moten Swing,” and Travlin’ Light.” In addition Big Miller, who was a featured vocalist with the Fletcher Henderson band, was brought in on vocals to sing on “Travlin Light” and “A Blues.”
The British audiophile LP label, PurePleasure, has re-released Kansas City Revisited. Long out of print, the label used Ron McMaster to handle the remastering, and chose Capitol Studios’ facilities to rework this swinging 1958 issue. For a 50+ year old recording, McMaster has done a fine job polishing up the acoustics. Jim Hall’s guitar solo sounds mighty nice on the opening Basie standard, “Jumping at the Woodside,” with sympathetic backing by the rhythm section of Addison Farmer on bass, and Nat Pierce on piano, though Pierce’s piano is a bit distant in the sound mix.
Big Miller (true name, Clarence), born in 1922 in Iowa, had a reputation as a blues shouter, and I found his voice highly reminiscent of Joe Williams, the baritone singer who helped invigorate the Basie band in the 1950s. Miller wrote “A Blues,” and he provides a impetus for the band to blow on this track, especially Brookmeyer’s gut-bucket solo followed by the Vice Pres, Paul Quinichette, and the inimitable Al Cohn. What a front line!
“Blue and Sentimental” closes out Side 1 with a slow ballad that lopes along with the saxes and Bob’s valve trombone sharing smoky choruses before Pierce shows his mastery of swing blues. The horns then take the tune out.
“Doggin’ Around” has Pierce matching Basie for economical introductory piano lines, setting the stage for Brookmeyer and Company to gradually up the ante and each shows their Kansas City credentials for dance hall and tavern excitement. Among the most famous of all the Basie book is “Moten Swing,” written by Basie’s mentor, Bennie Moten. Its relaxed swing set in motion by Addison Farmer and Nat Pierce, sets up the refrain from the horns that is instantly recognizable. Basie’s big band, of course, took it out brass heavy, while this septet led by Jim Hall’s guitar and the sax duo and trombone front line, massage the tune small group wise. Each horn gets its chance to shine and it’s tough to award honors with the talent pool here.
KC Revisited ends with another vocal by Big Miller on “Travlin Light.” Miller signifies how he needs little luggage since his baby left. Paul, Al, and Bob help him out proving its the quality of the man not his “baggage”. After all its just a matter of time till his love comes back…
For some old school light blues and swing, you can’t beat revisiting the early home of jazz before the boppers moved the scene farther East.
- Bob Brookmeyer (trombone)
- Al Cohn, Paul Quinichette (tenor saxophone)
- Nat Pierce (piano)
- Jim Hall (guitar)
- Addison Farmer (bass)
- Osie Johnson (drums)
- Big Miller (vocal)
Recording: October 1958 at Olmsted Studios, New York City, by Dick Olmsted
Production: Jack Lewis
1. Jumping At the Woodside
2. A Blues
3. Blue and Sentimental
4. Doggin' Around
5. Moten Swing
6. Travlin' Light
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!