robert h.

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About robert h.

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  1. TOCJ "Works" CDs- Which ones are hardest to find?

    What it means is that collectors are collectors foremost. There are some here who do indeed quote Hoffman dogma that is for the most part grossly misinformed and there are indeed astute listeners but also those who are collectors of numbers. Those values you quote seem to me to represent collectability rather than musical value.
  2. Gary Burton Quartet Live w/Pat Metheny!!

    I like the record, but it lacks the fire of Burton's ECM period, and in truth, Metheny has become somewhat cliche'd in his playing, and Burton is not as inspired as he was in the ECM days, becoming more of a straight ahead player. That early ECM period was really more driven by the great Mick Goodrick than by Metheny, and Goodrick is a better player. Soundwise there is a letdown here with Burton being further down in the mix and lighter tonally and the bass a bit on the heavy side as seems fashionable these days. Nice one but the ECM titles with Goodrick and Metheny are the essentials.
  3. TOCJ "Works" CDs- Which ones are hardest to find?

    Having been through the early Blue Note CJ28 series - which are essentially pressings of the early McMaster jobs - and the TOCJ permutations - and on to the JRVG's - I vastly prefer the RVG in every case, in fact, long ago dumped any other version. The paranoia and dogma around so-called "compression" and "brightness" coming off the Hoffman board is just plain misinformation and people should take anything coming from there with a huge grain of salt. The TOCJ's are never taken from master tapes. They sound perfectly fine, but somewhat on the flat side, having none of the depth and width, or clarity of the RVG's. They are pleasant - soft sounding, easy, relaxed. Kind of bland that way. Great for bright tweeters and hard sounding digital players as they are indeed rolled off. Better than McMasters which I find very bland and uninvolving. But not nearly as good as RVG's. The RVG's have dynamics that these earlier versions do not. They have great depth and width, with a lot of air around the well delineated individual instruments that gives a real sense of being in the studio. They have bite and attack, but most of all, RVG has brought out a more accurate and realistic tonality where reeds sound like reeds and horns have real brass bite, not soft and diffuse like McMasters, but much closer to what those players really sounded like. Issues of narrowing the (rather pitiful) early stereo images and some uninformed notion of compression (they are indeed a bit louder but nowhere near brickwalled) pale next to the excitement and propulsiveness as tonality. I go for the tone every time. When I used B&W Nautilus speakers, which had rather horrid metal dome tweeters, the RVG's did indeed have more sizzle on top which I suppose could have been mistaken for shrillness of brightness. I suspect that criticism of the RVG's may stem largely from systems with expensive but not very good sounding tweeters. Collectors are just that and little more. The success of the RVG's in the marketplace indicates to me that many music lovers value the RVG's highly.
  4. Stan Getz

    Personally, I think Stan Getz' playing reach a much higher level in the late 60's through the 1970's, and for me, this is the prime Getz. Certainly Sweet Rain. Dynasty. Captain Marvel. Best of Two Worlds. Another World. Heading into the 80's, his playing had reached such technical heights that transcend earlier works. The Dolphin. Pure Getz. And near the end, Serenity, Anniversary. Sure, start with the classics, particularly the 1960's Verve dates, but don't ignore his great period from 1965 to 1975 and his magnificent indian summer.
  5. Best Of 2009

    There is LOTS of great jazz in 2009, this is truly a golden age of recorded music - as the CD format winds down there is still plenty of great music being recorded, if one cares to look. First, probably the best label in business over the last several years is Smalls Records, and they continue to pump out simply great jazz, well recorded, and not lite or smooth jazz like the majors do. Teddy Charles - Dances With Bulls (exceptional return of this great vibraphonist with a great band) Zaid Nasser - Off Minor (anyone who misses Zaid is just depriving themselves of one of the most exciting altoists of the century) Stacey Dillard - One (a great tenor in a fender Rhodes quartet!) Fat Cat Big Band - Angels Praying For Freedom (the modern big band lives, and is it ever a good one!) High Note continues to be the Blue Note of the 21st Century: David Newman - The Blessing (his last date is almost certinly his best) Jerry Bergonzi - Simply Put (Bergonzi looks to be the best tenor of the era, and his playing has, over his last few records, gone to a higher dimension) There are tons of indie labels putting out hot stuff: Azar Lawrence returned with Prayers For My Ancestors, a return to the spirit of his 1970's work with Tyner, and a great return at that! Billy Harper - Blueprints of Jazz V.2 - despite the attempt with the title to get completists to buy the others in the series, and despite some rather cheesy voice-overs on two tracks, any Billy Harper is cause for celebration, and this is no exception. David S. Ware - Shakti - Ware's best in years. William Parker - Petit Oiseau - another great AUM Fidelity recording from one of the few great artists still pushing the frontiers. Even available on vinyl! Charles Tolliver - Emperor March - far, far better than the atrociously mastered Blue Note date, this is Tolliver's Big Band they way it is supposed to sound, and it's dynamite! Fly - Sky & Country - a bit of a disappointment, a bit too arty for my tastes, but good. Much better on ECM this year - the Jarrett, the Rava, and the upcoming Andy Sheppard and Egberto Gismonit titles. Gary Burton's Quartet Live returns to the ECM - Pat Metherny era and is Burton's best in over a decade. Not to be missed. On the reissue front, this is truly an unprecedented ara. There are signs that the labels will break out of the pre-1965 catering to conservative boomers mentality and rediscover the 70's. In Japan, Billy Harper's The Believer and Marion Brown's Novermber Cotton Flowers have been well remastered and reissued, in very good sound, and these are both exceptional classic dates. Also from Japan, a number of classics not deemed worthy by their domestic label - Oliver Nelson's great Main Stem, Harold Mabern's Greasy Kid Stuff featuring a rare tenor appearance by Hubert Laws. Verve is doing a pretty good job these days - Stan Getz - Dynasty is superb, as Getz was really playing at his best in the mid 60's to mid 70's, Art Blakey's Soul Fingers, Ella In Hollywood, Gato Barbieri's Chapter Two - and all very well remastered. On the vinyl front, we are in a golden age. The Blue Note reissues from Music Matters and Analogue Productions, despite the participation of the reputationally challenged Steve Hoffman, is outstanding. Even better is the Impulse series, remastered by the great Bernie Grundman, on ORG. Speakers Corner continue to pump out great stuff, as do Pure Pleasure who have stepped up their game with exceptional sounding versions of Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite and Stanley Turrentine's Sugar. Not much to complain about from my end. There's lots, and lots of great music out there if you look for it.
  6. Record cleaning machines

    For a long time I had records cleaned on a Keith Monks machine which has for decades been considered the ultimate. I never really got the results I wanted, always feeling there was still lots left in the grooves that vacuum cleaning machines simply can't get out. I went to the GEM Dandy, George Merrill's cleaning rig, and there is a lengthy discussion of my cleaning regimen on my blog. The Dandy is a lot of work, and messy. Not wife friendly at all. But it gets far cleaner than anything else made. It is even possible to get the lead-in grooves quiet - which I have never found any other machine could do. As to fluids, I do use L'Art Du Son and it has a very cute perfumed smell. It is quite good. However, for deep cleaning jobs on older vinyl my first choice is the Nitty Gritty cleaner which I have found to be the most powerful out there. I often follow it with L'AduS. Never a bad idea to alternate fluids as no single fluid is effective for every situation. For new records, particularly pressed at RTI - such as the Music Matters, and the notoriously noisy Classic Records - I use FirstRv which is the only really effective pre-cleaner for new vinyl and very effectively removes pressing artifacts. First Rv is pretty good at getting the last bit of grit out of old records that gotten as good as they are going to get via my usual Dandy cleaning.

    Originals of Ballads were cut by RVG, and later reissues cut at Bell. I have the ORG Ballads and it is drop dead amazing sounding and worth every penny, The back to front depth is astonishing as its the clarity and tone of Coltrane's horn.
  8. Am I the only one here

    Very wise. I think over the years I've rebought most of the classical music I enjoy on either CD or download. But that had more to do with wanting to hear it without the clicks and scratches. In the end we all have different levels of tolerance for different things. I don't really notice differences in sonic quality a great deal - I'm driven hairless by any physical interruptions which I know others can listen past. It's a common misperception that vinyl is by definition noisy. It certainly is hugely more labor intensive than CD, but with a fair bit of elbow work and a good cleaning regimen, it is possible to get just about any (non-damaged) LP perfectly quiet. I have 40 and 50 year old vinyl, all bought used, that I have got very quiet. Vacuum machines aren't good enough, and are expensive to boot. That's the tradeoff. A lot of manual effort for a glorious sound. My LP setup cost about 15% of my digital setup. Sounds 300% better. As to rumble, wow and flutter, etc. these are primarily setup issues and can be minimized if not eliminated with a bit of work. I'm not crazy about physical interruption either, which is why I couldn't wait to go to CD. If I knew then what I do know, I could be a lot wealthier today.
  9. Verve Originals, complete list

    None of the Verve Originals have any bonus materials - they wouldn't be "originals" if they did. The Gato Chapter Three is a smoking hot big band date and was previously best served by a Japanese K2 remastered CD.
  10. Am I the only one here

    Much as I would like it to be otherwise, CD just does not sound as good as vinyl, and nowhere is that more profound than with classical music. But I agree with you that it would be a shame to miss a lot of great Lyrita music if vinyl is not in the picture.No sense being dogmatic about it, the music is the thing.
  11. Kind of Blue reissue

  12. Am I the only one here

    Most of the Lyrita catalogue has been issued on CD in the last two or three years. A substantial amount of it is available for download from e-music. Not of much interest to those for whom vinyl is a premium medium; but it's there in other formats. I've replaced most of my 1970s/80s Lyrita LPs from one source or the other (preferring to listen via CD). What I wrote is: "never well served on CD". The early CD reissues were average sounding at best, and the more recent attempt to revive the brand simply repressed those earlier titles without any attempt at sound upgrade, and new issues of titles not previously released on CD were still not anywhere near up to the standard of the original vinyl. Lyrita, in their day, were legendary for the sonic quality of their recordings - many felt them to be far and away the best. To really hear the Lyrita sound, get the vinyl - but they still go for fairly high prices on Ebay, although most are relatively easy to find. And I suspect that Lyrita on CD has now gone dormant again. The bankruptcy of the major UK distributor has played havoc with classical distribution in the U.K., bringing some smaller labels down with it.
  13. Am I the only one here

    Although I have a fairly good classic selection on CD, the best is still on vinyl. In particular, there are lots of EMI UK recordings that never made it to CD, primarily of out of the mainstream stuff, as well as some outstanding Decca material. Never was fond of Living Presence primarily due to performance and repertoire. I have a fairly good collection of legendary Lyrita vinyl. Lyrita has never been well served on CD. Overall, the reality is that CD has never been able to capture string tone properly. Vinyl from analog tape is where the real tone lies.
  14. What vinyl are you spinning right now??

    Personally I have been listening most to the 2 amazing reissues of Coltrane Live At The Village Vanguard and Ballads on ORG 45 rpm. Just killer sonically, the best these could ever sound. Also been spinning the 45rpm reissue of Giant Steps which is good, but limited by the source and the hard l/r panning where Coltrane is completely on the left. Picked up the Speakers Corner reissue of Ben Webster and Associates which is excellent. Listened to Sonny Fortune's Awakening last weekend which is a great, great modern record. Also took a spin on Herbie Mann Hold On I'm Coming on vinyl, a great group with Fathead. Had a nice run with Coltrane's Expression on Japanese vinyl, a green label pressing that is very, very good. Next up I have a few King Blue Notes waiting for a spin and some Billy Harper Baystates.
  15. New ECM vinyl releases in January

    I have both the Jarrett and Rava vinyl and they are superb pressings and sonically just simply killer. A beautiful return to vinyl for ECM.