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Verve Acoustic Sounds Series Reissues

Discussion in 'music' started by poco a poco, Sep 1, 2020.

  1. poco a poco

    poco a poco I'm Jim

    I'm not sure how many people have started to buy this new "Audiophile" reissue series that seems to be closely following the Tone Poet reissues in concept. There are a few comments about it in the Tone Poet thread, but as the releases are now starting to be delivered and the series is supposed to be ongoing I
    thought I would start a new thread here for people to add ongoing comments.

    For reference this is (was) the proposed release schedule for the first releases, but the dates have slipped back on these mainly due to Covid lockdown measures. I received my copy of Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson on the weekend.
    Acoustic Sounds Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series:

    July 31 / Verve Records
    • Stan Getz and João Gilberto – Getz/Gilberto (1964)
    • Louis Armstrong and Oscar Peterson – Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson(1959)
    August 28 / Impulse! Records
    • John Coltrane – Ballads (1963)
    • John Coltrane – A Love Supreme (1964)
    September 25 / Philips Records
    • Nina Simone – I Put A Spell On You (1965)
    • Nina Simone – Pastel Blues (1965)
    October 30 / EmArcy Records
    • Sarah Vaughan – Sarah Vaughan (with Clifford Brown) (1954)
    • Clifford Brown and Max Roach – Study In Brown (1955)
    November 27 / Decca Records
    • Peggy Lee – Black Coffee (1956)
    • George Russell – New York, N.Y. (1959)
    I doubt I will be buying many of those listed above as I have most of the ones I would want in original or pretty good sounding copies. I passed on the Getz / Gilberto for that reason, but I thought I would get the Armstrong / Peterson to to see how these compare to the Tone Poets. Perhaps not a good choice as it turns out.

    So first the good news it arrived in tight shrink wrap with an audiophile hype sticker on the front that declares "Mastered from the original analog (sic) tapes by top mastering engineers". Note it does not say from Master Tapes. There has been quite a bit of controversy here with regard to exactly what the tape source is with these, especially with the Coltranes, where it fairly certain the master tapes were lost in the storage fires. The sleeve is a nice quality glossy gatefold with session photos inside, but the front cover looks like a scan to me rather than going back to the original art work as Tone Poet have tried to do. Good quality inner sleeve. MoFi type. The record that came from the sleeve was very clean and glossy and perfectly flat. No clicks or plops on playing, but it is not though as quiet in the dead wax as the Tone Poets.

    So how does it sound? Well a there are more than a few complaints about this record / recording on the Hoffman forum. Mainly in regard to distortion on on Armstrong's vocals. While I usually tend to find the complainers there often are making a big issue out of nothing that they then won't let go of (e.g. 'Wobblegate' on the Tone Poet of Blackfire) I do think there is some truth in it in this case, but perhaps a somewhat exaggerated? I hear some distortion, but it is only somewhat bad on the first two tracks on side one, in particularly the first track. I really hear it as Armstrong overloading the mike at times. He is recorded very close to it and tends to move in closer still at times. In that case it is on the mastertape. There are other tracks where I think some cartridges / setups may not track the sibilants on his voice properly and so this could give further distortion. My cartridge seems to do a good job though and They sound natural to me. There is quite good dynamics and and good space around the instruments, but I think the extreme top end has been has been pushed a bit to achieve a sense of 'air' in the room sound. This probably accounts for the very apparent (even to my aging ears) tape hiss. I have heard a similar upper frequencies lift in other Chad Kassm Acoustic Sounds recordings. The bass on this sounds a bit 'plumey'. The brief Trumpet outings (no overload here) by Armstrong and Peterson's Piano sounds pretty good throughout, although I would like a bit more bottom end on the piano.

    I think someone on Hoffman said it sounds like a 'vintage' recording and I would concur. Certainly earlier sounding than Van Gelder Blue Notes from this year. Overall it is not bad given what it is and If you like the music it is well worth having, but it seems a strange choice for an 'Audiophile Recording' and I think it would be unfair to compare this one on that basis to the Tone Poets. The Getz / Gilberto seems to be getting a more favourable reception. Perhaps someone here who has it would like to comment on that one?

    Edited to correct typo's.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2020
    Graham H and Seanm like this.
  2. Seanm

    Seanm pfm Member

    Thanks for this. It’s such an uninspiring choice that it’s hard to get enthused, so I’d kind of forgotten about these. I do need a decent Ballads though so might have a go and report back.

    George Russell though! That’s something.
    Graham H likes this.
  3. Graham H

    Graham H pfm Member

    But what a pity it has to be one of his dullest, least interesting albums. Wish it was Stratusphunk, Space Age Jazz or Ezzthetics, now that would be something - if only to hear Paul Bley and Bill Evans occupy the same space. Eric Dolphy too, and Hal McKusick probably did his most adventurous playing with Russell. I still find some of these early Russell albums fascinating.

    Initially I was excited at the news of this Impulse list, but my heart sank when I saw it.
    Theo and Seanm like this.
  4. Chas B

    Chas B pfm Member

    Well I want a nice copy of A Love Supreme but will wait for reviews on this release before buying. Fingers are crossed.
  5. daytona600

    daytona600 Registered User

    Mastered from the original analog (sic) tapes by top mastering engineers". Note it does not say from Master Tapes. There has been quite a bit of controversy here with regard to exactly what the tape source

    Sourced from 2nd gen tapes- Safety copy / Production Master etc as most went up in smoke in 2008 with the Universal Fire 17,000 mastertapes in total
    1st gen master tape versions are by Analogue Productions 2x45rpm

    The Getz / Gilberto seems to be getting a more favourable reception
    very good transfer very much like the old out of print Speakers corner / kevin gray version but not on par with the AP version ( When George Marino cut it, he also chose to correct the original mastering engineer's mistake so if you have an original, expect the channels to be reversed.)

    tape source is with these, especially with the Coltranes
    2nd/3rd gen production master found in universal vault in London
    main reason they do not carry the Analogue Production logo as not from original 1st gen master
    mikechadwick likes this.
  6. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    The Armstrong/Peterson album is a masterpiece, my £5 CD copy sounds amazing with no distortion at all. I have a couple of Armstrong Verve reissues on vinyl & they sound really good but both of the above were probably bought before the bonfire.

    Audiophile repressing are a bit of a racket.
    MUTTY1 likes this.
  7. poco a poco

    poco a poco I'm Jim

    Acoustic sounds has said that the Getz / Gilberto (33.3) issued here was cut by George Marino at the same time as the 2x45's, but a 33rpm was never issued by them. There are reports that it uses the original metal work made from this cut at the time. (Fremer confirms this in the comments to the Analogplanet notification of 11th June
    My copy of Armstrong / Peterson states mastered by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound.

    I have UK originals of both Ballads and ALS that were cut from the London Production masters that are supposed to be the source tapes for these reissues. They both sound excellent and with very little noise due to wear as I have owned them from new. My Ballads is the Mono version though (nothing wrong with this and sounding better than ever since I invested in a Mono cartridge) though so I might be tempted by this stereo reissue to see how it compares.
  8. Theo

    Theo pfm Member

    i've recently purchased an original mono US pressing of 'Stratusphunk' (at less than the cost of these remasters), and it sounds fabulous. Sometimes you can get lucky with original pressings of the more obscure releases.
    Graham H likes this.
  9. mikechadwick

    mikechadwick pfm Member

    "Unboxing" video - no mention of SQ:
  10. Graham H

    Graham H pfm Member

    Actually, I have a nice vinyl copy of Stratusphunk, it’s Ezzthetics and especially Space Age Jazz I am missing. Digital copies of the latter - and there is a confusing array of them, some with extra material - sound a bit grainy and distorted to my ears, so I’m going to see if a can obtain an early copy. I keep my eyes peeled at Jazzhouse, but haven’t tried Discogs for this one yet, even if it’s for an early CD copy before masters were possibly lost
  11. Martin M

    Martin M Crueller than April

    George Marino died several years ago, so the metalwork is not new.
  12. poco a poco

    poco a poco I'm Jim

    I am well aware he died. As I said the metal work was supposed to have been 'produced at the time' from the acetate cut then. Acetates deteriorate quite quickly so it is normal to plate and produce the metal work ASAP. Probably in this case for test pressings prior to the 33 release that did not take place in the end.
  13. poco a poco

    poco a poco I'm Jim

  14. mikechadwick

    mikechadwick pfm Member

    Picked up A Love Supreme & Ballads reissues yesterday. Both sound pretty fine (to me)!
    poco a poco likes this.
  15. poco a poco

    poco a poco I'm Jim

    I'm still considering whether or not to spend (waste) money on at least one of these as I have UK original pressings of both and in theory at least these are from the same UK copy mastertapes ? These both sound very good and my copies are still clean and quiet. It probably all comes down to the the quality of the mastering. I may get Ballads as my copy is the mono (nothing wrong with that) and the reissue is stereo as it would be interesting to compare.

    Of the future issues listed so far I either have an original or good copy or they don't really interest me. I hope in future the choice of reissues is more inspiring.
  16. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I took a punt on the A Love Supreme just to see what it is like. I have a superb sounding old (late-60s-early-70s) Japanese pressing but unfortunately it mistracks on the last track side two. The previous owner must have loved it and played it to death. Annoying as it is otherwise a stunning copy with amazing presence to Coltrane’s sax, very like an original American RVG cut I guess. I’ve had the Speakers Corner of this one and I really understand why people love it so much, but it is just too warm and chilled-out for me. Coltrane has bite, edge, soul, even anger and frustration, and it needs to explode from the speakers. The Japanese cut retains this power and attack so I’ll be interested to see how the new Acoustic Sounds fares. It should be good if it is based on the recently discovered tape that was the source for the Deluxe Edition CD, but I don’t know if that is the case or not.

    PS I’ve got a Canadian Spartan original of Ballads which is a bit crackly but sounds amazing. Again such astonishing presence, dynamics and attack. I suspect it is the same cut as a US Impulse. The only proper US original Coltrane Impulse I have is Ascension (edition II), and that is just a full onslaught, as it should be! I’d kill for proper US originals of ALS and Crescent, but they are getting far too spendy these days.
  17. poco a poco

    poco a poco I'm Jim

    My only two Coltrane Impulse US originals are 'Crescent' and 'John Coltrane Plays ...' both A/B with the Van Gelder stamp. Both are excellent, but have some light surface marks as I kept them in the original paper inner sleeves for years.

    I would also kill for a US original 'Ascension' as mine is a much later reissue.
  18. mikechadwick

    mikechadwick pfm Member

    The only vinyl of ALS that I have is the Japanese 200g reissue from 2004 - I haven't had a chance to compare that to the Acoustic Sounds version. I bought too many albums on Friday (including 6 Kraftwerk reissues) and I haven't had a chance to plough through them all yet! The only "original" Coltrane I have is the UK 1970 Impulse pressing of Selflessness.
  19. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    The Acoustic Sounds ALS turned up today and it is superb. A proper glossy paper-on-board/tip-on sleeve that is not far off the quality of an original US impulse, though spoilt by a bar-code on the rear (should have been a sticker on the shrink-wrap!). I had a quick A B between it and my ‘67 Japanese King pressing, which as stated earlier is rather worn, but remarkably ’in yer face’ as to my mind Coltrane should be. The AS sounds clearer, a bit more balanced, but thankfully keeps the presence, Coltrane is still in the room. Certainly not a syrupy audiophile pressing, it has some bite to it. Highly recommended, and a total bargain at the price given what originals go for now.

    I think I’ll be having the two Bill Evans albums when they come out. I’ve got a US stereo original of Trio 65, but the surface is rather odd, I have a feeling someone tried heat-flattening it at some point and went a bit too hot! Plays ok, but with some noise. I’ve got both of them on nice early Japanese CD, but it would be good to have on really nice vinyl too.
  20. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili

    Awaiting my fourth LP version of A Love Supreme here. I’ve got two recent ones, the clear vinyl HMV limited edition and the Complete Sessions 3LP which seems to be the same mastering. Then I have a lovely Japanese pressing about 15 years old with very high quality gatefold jacket. Looking forward to this since I nearly bought the expensive Analogue Productions one on discogs a while ago.

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