Art Blakey – Meet You At The Jazz Corner of the World – Volume 1

More Art Blakey

More Albums on Blue Note

xxxxx

  • The first in this superb 2-volume live set makes its Hot Stamper debut here with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • Tubier, more present, more alive, with more of that “jumpin’ out of the speakers” quality that only The Real Thing (an old record) ever has
  • Credit goes to RVG once again for the huge space that the superbly well recorded combo occupies
  • “Here all ears are tuned to the proverbial “jazz corner of the world,” better known as Birdland, where the quintet serves up a healthy sampling of its concurrent catalog… a welcome addition to the library of most any jazz lover.”

*NOTE: While no mark is visible, 20 light crackly swooshes are heard in the middle of track 2, The Opener.

This Blue Note 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 audience at Birdland jazz club, 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 Meet You at the Jazz Corner of the World, Volume 1 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 1960
  • 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 Meet You at the Jazz Corner of the World, Volume 1

  • 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.

The Players

Art Blakey – drums
Lee Morgan – trumpet
Wayne Shorter – tenor saxophone
Bobby Timmons – piano
Jymie Merritt – bass
Pee Wee Marquette – master of ceremonies/announcer

TRACK LISTING

Side One

The Opener
What Know
The Theme

Side Two

‘Round About Midnight
The Breeze And I

AMG 4 1/2 Star Review

This is the first of two volumes featuring the oft-documented late-’50s/early-’60s incarnation of the Jazz Messengers — with Lee Morgan (trumpet), Wayne Shorter (tenor sax), Bobby Timmons (piano), and Jymie Merritt (bass). As always, the combo is led by the aggressive skins of Art Blakey (drums).

Here all ears are tuned to the proverbial “jazz corner of the world,” better known as Birdland, where the quintet serves up a healthy sampling of its concurrent catalog. Although the live recording suffers from a bit of distortion — which appears to be on the master tape rather than being a manufacturing flaw — the overall quality of the performance significantly downplays any and all audio anomalies.

After a rousing introduction from Birdland’s master of ceremonies — the highly affable Pee Wee Marquette — the band introduces Hank Mobley’s easy-boppin’ and appropriately enough titled “The Opener” — which is punctuated by some stirring interaction between Shorter and Morgan. The syncopated blues changes that drive through Morgan’s own “What Know” reflect his abilities as the quintessential composer for these Jazz Messengers. He incorporates his solid swinging improvisational skills into an open and free exchange of sonic ideas, …