- Cal Tjader’s recording debut arrives with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it throughout
- Compiled from two 10″ discs recorded in mono in 1956, this LP may not be true stereo, but it sounds great to us
- If you have a mono switch you can hear the single channel version at will, but we actually preferred the better space and width in stereo
- “Many of the most celebrated Brubeck devices can be heard on these selections: the almost violent shifts from lush lyricism to jagged block chord configurations; the curiously paradoxical intertwining of traditional song materials and advanced (for 1949, at any rate) musical ideas; the dynamic pyramids of sound that begin rather casually and grow to almost unnerving heights…”
Records that sound best this way:
This vintage Fantasy clear-blue vinyl pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the trio, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What the best sides of Brubeck-Tjader have to offer is not hard to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1956
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we’ve heard them all.
Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently, the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.
Tube smear is common to most vintage pressings and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.
What We’re Listening For on Brubeck-Tjader
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
- Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering — which ties in with good transient information, as well as the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the players.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Piano – Dave Brubeck
Percussion – Cal Tjader
Bass – Ron Crotty
Sweet Georgia Brown
Spring Is Here
I Didn’t KNow What Time It Was
How High The Moon
Heart And Soul
Too Marvelous For Words
About Brubeck-Tjader (from the album cover)
Many of the most celebrated Brubeck devices can be heard on these selections: the almost violent shifts from lush lyricism to jagged block chord configurations; the curiously paradoxical intertwining of traditional song materials and advanced (for 1949, at any rate) musical ideas; the dynamic pyramids of sound that begin rather casually and grow to almost unnerving heights; the introduction of fugue-like contrapuntal lines in improvised ensemble passages; the use of musical humor (listen to Dave and Cal on Avalon).
Dave has become somewhat more adventurous since his trio days, but these performances are as individualistically Brubeck as his most recent efforts. In fact, you could probably stir up a little controversy, even now, by playing this record for a random gathering of jazz critics. If not, it wouldn’t be Brubeck.
This collection represents the recording debut, too, of Callen Radcliffe Tajder, Jr. Cal, a member of the octet during the same period, was unusually sympathetic to Dave’s aims and, as a skilled drummer-vibist-Latin percussionist, enlarged the scope of the trio considerably.
– Dick Hadlock
Callen Radcliffe Tjader, Jr. (July 16, 1925 – May 5, 1982) was an American Latin jazz musician, known as the most successful non-Latino Latin musician. He explored other jazz idioms, even as he continued to perform the music of Cuba, the Caribbean, and Latin America for the rest of his life.
Tjader played the vibraphone primarily. He was accomplished on the drums, bongos, congas, timpani, and the piano. He worked with many musicians from several cultures. He is often linked to the development of Latin rock and acid jazz. Although fusing jazz with Latin music is often categorized as “Latin jazz” (or, earlier, “Afro-Cuban jazz”), Tjader’s works swung freely between both styles. His Grammy award in 1980 for his album La Onda Va Bien capped off a career that spanned over forty years.