Acoustic Sounds
Record Store Day 2024

This year's RSD offerings are among the best ever, especially in the jazz category. This is by no means "complete" coverage of what's available. For instance, there's a four LP Sonny Rollins set Freedom Weaver: The 1959 European Tour Recordings from Resonance that looks really interesting but that one didn't show up. The Record Store Day website has a full listing of what's going to be available. (Following posting this story the... Read More

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My old friend Ken Kessler What's App'd me sounding more excited than I've heard him in years! The veteran U.K. based audio and watch journalist told me a U.K. label Roller Coaster Records had just released a CD reissue of The "Chirping" Crickets that used similar tech to what Giles Martin used to remix Beatles albums in improved stereo, but Ken said for some reason it worked much better on this old Crickets album that was recorded and released... Read More

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April is Jazz Appreciation month so Rhino High Fidelity dispenses with the "one jazz one rock" formula and releases two jazz titles. Miles' Tutu and Coltrane's Olé. Copies in-house, reviews will shortly post. Read More

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Ella backed by a small jazz combo was an unusual musical setting for Ella in the studio, which makes this album recorded and released in 1961 a catalog standout. Pianist Lou Levy leads the quartet that also features guitarist Herb Ellis, bassist Joe Mondragon and on drums Stan Levey. Clap Hands...is also highly regarded for its excellent sonics, recorded somewhere in Los Angeles. Since producer and Verve founder Norman Granz was also Ella's long time manager and... Read More

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Miles Davis 1958

Last year, when record club Vinyl Me, Please announced their 11LP box set of Miles Davis’ electric period studio albums, I almost immediately preordered it. For hardcore fans, it seemed (and turned out to be) essential: a lavish box set of the albums from In A Silent Way through Get Up With It, cut by Ryan Smith and Joe Nino-Hernes from flat tape copies of the original masters and packaged in laminated tip-on jackets, it’s the perfect document of Miles’ most... Read More

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Had it not been for Paul McCartney’s drug bust, all four Beatles might have been together in the studio for the first time since the group broke up, recording engineer Bill Schnee recounts in this interview, referring to his time recording Ringo the Beatles drummer’s third solo album and first rocker following albums of standards (Sentimental Journey) and C&W (Beaucoups of Blues).If you’re familiar with Ringo you know it’s a spectacularly large, generous sounding... Read More

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The Alternate Blues

When Norman Granz organized and produced in 1980 The Trumpet Summit Meets The Oscar Peterson Big 4 (Pablo 2312-114), Peterson was fifty five years old, Ray Brown was fifty two, Bobby Durham was forty three, Joe Pass was fifty one, Dizzy Gillespie was the "elder statesman" at sixty three and Freddie Hubbard was the youngster at forty two. By today's age standards none of them were "old", but jazz at that point—at least the kind of jazz these... Read More

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New Order 'Substance' album cover

The past few decades have brought an array of New Order compilation albums, yet 1987’s Substance, the original New Order singles compilation, still reigns supreme. In a time when “greatest hits” releases are mostly obsolete, there are several reasons for this. One is that New Order were (are?) primarily a singles band who released their best work as five- to eight-minute 12” singles. Older fans’ nostalgia for Substance is also a factor, but most importantly, Substance... Read More

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The organizers of the Southwest Audio Fest in Dallas must have felt like Hannibal Smith, who used to say, "I love it when a plan comes together." Gary Gill and Lou Hinkley took a chance by selecting as the show venue the upscale Hilton Anatole and it definitely paid off. Upon entering the lobby, I quickly sensed I was in for a memorable show experience. The hotel's sheer size and impressive facilities could rival a Las Vegas resort. In addition to the... Read More

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Maria Schneider is the preeminent big-band composer and leader of our time. She’s been at it for a little over 30 years, recorded nine albums in that span, and this, her 10th, Decades—a lavishly packaged, limited-edition three-LP boxed set, on the Artist Share label—is a celebration, a sort of best-of anthology tracing her evolution. It also marks the first time any of her work has been pressed on vinyl, in this case 180-gram vinyl, the lacquers cut by Chris Bellman... Read More

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Schiit's Skoll phono preamp is a wonder of miniaturization and efficient product design, that much is certain. The photo makes it appear larger than it really is, which is approximately 9"x6"x1.5". Now, that's compact and perhaps not unusual in itself but consider that it features both single-ended and balanced XLR inputs and output connectors. There's even a multi-pin jack for the special wall-wart that provided the chassis both 24VAC... Read More

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Maintenance is really the most important part of owning anything you’ve invested in, isn’t it? Whether it’s a house, a car, a nice watch, some decent wine, whatever it might be, it’s important to keep it well-maintained, otherwise, that wonderful item can quickly turn into trash. This is especially true in the hi-fi and record collecting world. Everything requires a bit of upkeep and the more a user gives thought and effort to maintenance, the more joy and financial... Read More

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In the mid-2000s, Kaiser Chiefs finally exploded onto the post-punk revival scene. After a failed attempt in the music business as Parva, they scrapped everything to forge ahead with a new musical voyage. In a musical climate dominated by American groups like The Strokes and The Killers, Kaiser Chiefs provided a strong British influence, borrowing elements from Britpop and 70s punk rock. The group’s ability to craft stadium anthems, such as “I Predict A Riot” and the... Read More

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Cover of the LP "Three"by Four Tet

“Ambient is the space, the afterglow left when the centre has collapsed. It’s in the amorphous, beatless oscillations of post-rock, the multiple releases of abstract electronica which criss-cross the twenty-first-century skies like fading vapour trails. It implies an absence of subject.”David Stubbs, “Mars by 1980, The Story Of Electronic Music”, Faber & Faber, 2018, p304 Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet) is an English electronic producer who does not necessarily make... Read More

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Not since Veronica Swift's This Bitter Earth (Mack Avenue MAC1177LP) has a record cover been so at odds with what's in the grooves as this filled with funky covers Groove Note title from Vanessa Fernandez. Think of it this way: there are eleven tunes here from Childish Gambino, Prince, Lenny Kravitz, Barry White, Maurice White and a few others and the mostly celebratory funk is in the air (with a mellow stop over in Bill Withers territory), produced by a... Read More

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Acoustic Sounds just announced a fifteen Pablo titles reissue series, cut from the original master tapes and pressed at Quality Record Pressings. Mastering engineers include Doug Sax, Kevin Gray and Stan Ricker (obviously these are from existing metal parts). Pablo Records was the great producer Norman Granz's "swan song". Granz (1918-2001) created Clef, Norgran, Verve and finally Pablo. He was also Ella Fitzgerald's manager for decades until her... Read More

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