Kenny Burrell Midnight Blue on Classic Records

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More Midnight Blue


Sonic Grade: D

Pretty flat and lifeless. You would never understand why audiophiles rave about this recording by listening to the Classic Records pressing.

We played it up against our best, and as expected it was nothing to write home about. Since Rudy has remastered and ruined practically all the Blue Note CDs by now, you will have your work cut out for you if you want to find a good sounding version of Midnight Blue. This sure ain’t one.

Of course we would be more than happy to get you an amazing sounding copy — it’s what we do — but the price will be five to ten times (or more) what the Classic costs. In our opinion it’s money well spent, as you will see in our review below.

Since the Classic conveys very little of what the musicians were up to whilst recording the album, our advice is to cross it off your list of records of interest. It’s thirty bucks down the drain.

One of our good customers had this to say about his Hot Stamper pressing:

By the way side 2 of Midnight Blue bested every other copy I played including the 45 RPM Blue Note [Analogue Productions] reissue. The 45 RPM is very good. You know that technically it is right, but at the same time it’s missing something. When I listened to the [Hot] stamper copy you dug up for me I found it a little noisy at first and wasn’t sure if I could live with it. However after returning to the 45 RPM there was no enjoyment, so I dropped the needle on the stamper one more time, and then I heard it…

I know what you mean about these modern reissues “missing something”. No matter how well mastered they may be, they’re almost always missing whatever it is that makes the analog record such a special listening experience. I hear that “analog” sound practically nowhere else outside of the live event.

Thanks for your letter. 

From a recent Hot Stamper listing:

Originals VS. Reissues

I’ve never heard an original Blue Note pressing with this kind of resolution, sharp leading edge transients, tight, articulate bass definition, and on and on.

Collectors routinely pay hundreds of dollars for original copies that don’t sound nearly as good as this one.

Which is fine by us. We’re not in that business. We’re not selling the right labels; we’re selling the right sound. There is a difference. Collecting original pressings is easy (albeit expensive). Collecting good sounding pressings is hard; in fact nothing in the record collecting world is harder. But if you actually like playing your records as opposed to just collecting them, then the best possible sound should be at the top of your list and the rarity of the label down at the bottom.

Further Reading

…along these lines can be found in commentaries linked below.

This commentary, entitled The Beatles on Parlophone — Yellow & Black? Or Is Boxed Better?, takes up the issue of original versus reissue for The Beatles.

This one discusses jazz recordings on the Contemporary label.

And of course the idea that the originals are always better than the reissues is just another Record Myth.