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sonnyhill

Sam Rivers's "Contours"

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wow I hear I mean I don't hear what you mean. The bass is often so slight it seems purposeful. I will be listening to the vinyl over the weekend. Great music, great album. You go Sam.

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I got the 8 CD Bill Evans Riverside set from zweitausendeins last year (Remember those deals for about 25 bucks? What a bargain!)

It was only a bargain if they sent you 12 CDs! maybe you need to do a recount... ;)

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The bass on the mosaic does not sound bad to me.

For me too!!

IMMO there are too many people and machines involved in a recording and mastering/remastering process, is not easy to find the guilty!

(and there are a lot variables in a home reproducing system too!!)

You have also to consider the ageing of master tapes.

I heard a Keith Jarret concert some years ago in wich he was complaining that todays cd players has too many bass frequency.

B-)

Edited by porcy62

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In the Rivers Mosaic box, the bass is also quiet on this session overall and on the solo in question. I personally don't think it sounds "bad" just a bit quieter than on many contemporary recordings. It's in the original recording, I'm pretty confident of it. Haven't heard the Conn yet but will soon and will comment on whether my opinion changes, but I doubt it.

RVG's approach during that time to me was defined in general by a relatively quiet bass level (another recent example: I just was listening last night to PORTRAIT OF SONNY CRISS done for Prestige, but another RVG recording of about the same vintage, and the bass is defintely a bit lower than many engineers would have gone for). Perhaps this was because he tended to record everything a little "hot" and with bass pumped up it might have tended to overload/distort or "whump" in the lowest registers?

FWIW, I did pick up McMaster's Conn remastering of Andrew Hill's DANCE WITH DEATH last weekend and that sounds really good - nice full bass sound, although again not highly prominent - consistent with RVGs overall balance.

I'm not a defender of McMaster for sure - as far as I'm concerned BN ought to ask Malcolm Addey to do all their stuff, even in preference over RVG - but I do think he's greatly improved his work in the past few years.

Edited by DrJ

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I got the 8 CD Bill Evans Riverside set from zweitausendeins last year (Remember those deals for about 25 bucks? What a bargain!)

It was only a bargain if they sent you 12 CDs! maybe you need to do a recount... ;)

It is, of course, 12. I forgot when I typed the previous post, and didn't go and check as it wasn't the point. But I do have the complete set. (There were, of course, errors with some shipments, with, for example, a Miles Davis CD with a Bill Evans label. I got one of those. But zweitausendeins was happy to send the correct CDs and the problems were ironed out.)

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Has anyone actually compared the mosaic with the new reissue?

Just spent the last two hours closely A/B-ing the Mosaic with the Connoisseur of this session. To my ears, and on my system, the Connoisseur does sound better, but not by a whole lot, whereas the reissue of Fuchsia Swing Song does seem to mark a more significant sonic improvement in its Connoisseur format. Here are a few things I noticed:

• Carter's bass is recessed a lot of the time, but I'm guessing this is part of the original recording. The Mosaic might just have slightly more present bass.

• McMaster's signature brightness is still there, but some of the terrible brassiness that came through on certain notes of Hubbard's on the Mosaic — where it sounds like he was perhaps too close to the mike — are now rounded off some. (About this "brassiness": I'm speaking of the same "error" that could be found on the original cd version of The Soothsayer, and can still be found on the cd version of Clubhouse.)

• The warble in Hancock's intro to "Euterpe" is still there. Might be tape-stretch?

• The music is so damn good that it probably doesn't matter if the Connoisseur sounds slightly better than the Mosaic version ... though, to be honest, I do wish there was a TOCJ version of this album, my favorite Rivers on Blue Note.

Edited by Late

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• McMaster's signature brightness

From listening to my over 200 Blue Note LP's recorded and mastered by Rudy Vangelder, in my opinion, the signature brightness lies at RVG/Lion's feet.

Great comparison. I wish I had the time/interest in doing comparisons between original vinyl and a bunch of the CD reissues.

Edited by wolff

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... the signature brightness lies at RVG/Lion's feet.

You could very well be right on that. I guess I just hear a certain "trebliness" with McMaster remasters that I don't hear with, say, Addey's work. Man, I do wish Addey had his own "line" in the Blue Note run. Say, a limited edition "Afficionado" series! Imagination the possibilities! :lol:

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Can you name a few BN titles that Addey has done, and any other info so I can get the correct reissue?

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Can you name a few BN titles that Addey has done ...

The title that comes to mind first is Passing Ships. I know Addey also did the transfers for the original cd editions of Elvin Jones' Live at the Lighthouse and Cecil Taylor's Jazz Advance (originally on Transition).

Some of Addey's most amazing remaster work, in my opinion, is on the Randy Weston Mosaic Select (especially the unreleased quartet session with Cecil Payne), and the Gerry Mulligan Mosaic.

I'm sure others here can chime in with even more titles.

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PASSING SHIPS is almost unbelievably good sonically, given the vintage. I would say it could make an ideal "blindfold test" if you wanted to fool someone into thinking it was a brand new Andrew Hill session (assuming they hadn't heard it yet). It's that good - puts to shame 99% of current recordings.

Speaking of PASSING SHIPS being so good, I have often wondered how Addey did it. Not to take anything away from his skills, one thing that strikes me about that session immediately is the LACK of reverb, even though this was an RVG recording from the later 60's and many of his for BN around then were kind of awash in a reverb that I personally don't like much. But the point is there doesn't seem to be much way for people going back to those tapes to remove or de-emphasize the reverb, it must be on the original tapes (e.g. not added afterward). A good example is a date like McLean's DEMON'S DANCE - while some remasterings are better than others, ultimately this one is apparently never going to sound great because of that weird, spacey reverb that was used around then.

With PASSING SHIPS the reverb just isn't there, and that was definitely in Addey's favor...everything sounds crisp and like you're in a great listening room. So Addey gets props, but give it up for Rudy too, who showed admirable restraint with the reverb!

More Addey gems (not all BN but reissued at least by BN):

Blakey's THREE BLIND MICE Vols 1 and 2

Basie - CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD (more blindfold test fodder - this is the most realistic big band recording on CD in my collection)

Several Mosaics - Django, Kid Ory, I believe the 2nd Hodges set (stunning), and there are many more that I'm forgetting

Edited by DrJ

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So Addey, has not done any 1500, 4000 or 4100 series BN's?

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But the point is there doesn't seem to be much way for people going back to those tapes to remove or de-emphasize the reverb, it must be on the original tapes (e.g. not added afterward). 

The following comments by a mastering engineer, if true, explain a few things and is one of the reasons I have sympathy for people working with BN tapes.

Rudy did all his "tricking" right on the master tape so he didn't have to redub and lose a generation.. In other words, he didn't record something and re-dub it adding compression, echo, EQ, etc., he did it all live in real time while the music was being recorded.

Roy DuNann and Howard Holzer at Contemporary recorded everything flat and dry and the "tricks" were added during LP disk mastering.

So, a Contemporary master tape today sounds amazing while a Prestige or Blue Note master tape needs a little "reverse trickery" to get it to sound better.

Edited by wolff

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Yes, that was what I was assuming wolff as my ears told me it had to be so. Thanks for confirming!

To my ears Rudy didn't have a problem with over-trickery until about 1966-7 or so. Up to then, even though there is a bit more reverb than some others might use, his recordings sounded incredible to me.

Still, back to the original point - it seems interesting that RVG did NOT "trick" the original tapes of PASSING SHIPS, clearly...I don't know what that means, could it have been that he already knew that it wasn't going to be released? An oversight? Certainly other moderately large ensemble recordings he did from around that era (e.g. THE PRISONER) are floating in reverb. Odd.

Edited by DrJ

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You need to remember Rudy was an employed by the labels. Producers tastes must be considered. Producers must consider musician requests. Fashion changes. All these things must be considered.

In the '50s and early '60s RVGs on Savoy, Prestige, BN and Impulse had different qualities.

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Yes, all great points Chuck. I'm sure it's probably no coincidence that the Blue Note sound became more reverb-heavy right around the time that a similar pop sound was dominating the charts, and more immediately as Lion exited and Francis Wolff (aided heavily by Duke Pearson) took over.

As a case in point of different sounds for different labels, I was listening to Milt Jackson's JACKSON'S-VILLE recording on Savoy last night (1955 or 56, I can't recall which). That's a really outstanding, vintage RVG recording (not to mention the desert island quality of the music), and compared to his Blue Notes from around that period there is indeed a much drier sound. So much so that I was actually surprised when I went to the liners to find out "Who did this amazing recording?"

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To Chuck's point on the artist's tastes, is there any record of BN session leaders swaying and heavily influencing RVG's mix? I think of Sam Rivers as a musician sensitive to a wide range of sound dynamics, does anybody know what he thinks of Contours? Maybe he was only too happy to have Carter's faint presence, but the writing would not suggest that was likely.

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Snagged the Conn of CONTOURS yesterday and A/B'd it with the Mosaic version. Definitely the bass has been BOOSTED on the Conn compared with the Mosaic. Still quiet, and still I believe strongly something that was in the original recording, not something to "fault" McMaster about...he actually brought it up for the Conn, sacrificing a little clarity in the high end but overall the Conn is an improvement over the (perfectly acceptable) Mosaic remastering.

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I just picked up the this Conn and --wow!--wonderful music. My search turned up this very interesting thread. fwiw, my impression, prior to reading this thread, was that the bass was pretty well recorded, I tend to prefer the 'trebly' sound from Carter. Anyway, what a great date, Hubbard and Chambers in particular

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I have a New York stereo of the record; think the bass was thin but haven't spun it in a while. Not my favorite Sam Rivers session, but it's decent.

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Great session.

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Gets a big :tup from me. The NY USA mono LP sounds stonkin'. :)

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contours.jpg

The writing on this album so damn good. Both Hubbard and Hancock are incredibly focused, and inspired, by Sam's charts. (Listen to how Hubbard bends his pitch sharp, sharper, even a quarter pitch sharp on his "Euterpe" solo — to great effect.) And Joe Chambers is perfect for this music. Elvin Jones and Tony Williams, as perfect as they are in their own respective right, wouldn't be as ideal. (Steve Ellington certainly wouldn't be ideal.) Chambers adjusts his dynamics, in particular, for everything Hancock lays down. As I hear his playing, Chambers is coming out of Max Roach, but with less right angles and straight lines. Less metronomic rigidity. He's got to be one of the most listening-est drummers. He doesn't steer the music the way Williams does (or Art Blakey does). He reacts to the music, and then converses, not so much with his fellow musicians, but with the music itself.

This album blows me away every time I play it. I hope Universal Japan sees fit to include it in their ongoing SHM-CD series. It's well-recorded, and a fresh digital take is in order.

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On 09/10/2004 at 0:12 AM, Chuck Nessa said:

And we have the WINNER, ladies and gentlemen!

 

Please step forrward and accept the trophy for "actually wanting to hear a Ron Carter solo".

 

As true now as it ever was...

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