The last time I played this album in preparation for a new shootout, which was some time in early 2020, I was not thrilled with either the sound or the music.
I found the lack of ambience and overall artificiality of the recording not to my liking. In the old days — the review below was probably from the early 2000s — my system was not remotely as good as it is now. I can play the space in a recording much better than I could then, and the lack of natural space now bothers me no end, when before it usually did not.
Live and Learn we say!
Many of Allen Sides‘ recordings suffer from a lack of ambience. The musicians do not seem to have much air around them to breathe. Many audiophile recordings, especially direct to disc recordings from the ’70s, are insufferable in this respect, with too much multi-miking and not enough studio space.
A good example of how some audiophiles with modern high-tech recording equipment but little in the way of experience or understanding end up producing records that are not remotely the equal of those that were commonly made twenty years before is this Bach recording by Virgil Fox for Crystal Clear.
Other records that are good for testing Ambience, Size and Space can be found all over this blog.
Two of the Worst
Of course, some of the most ambience-challenged records available today are on Heavy Vinyl. I could link to a hundred of them, but here are two that should get the point across well enough.
This album on DCC, like much of their dubious output, has very little of the breathing space of the vintage pressings we sell.
And the disgraceful label that released this title can be relied upon to press records that no audiophile with a decent stereo and two working ears should want anything to do with.
Our Old Review
Take the following review from decades ago with a very large grain of salt and don’t pay too much for this album if you see one around.
This is a long out of print Pablo LP with AMAZING sound and music. It’s one of those superb Allan Sides engineered recordings at Ocean Way, like Basie 88 Street. Demo disc quality sound is the result! With players like these, the music is every bit as good as any jazz record I know of. In other words, I really like this album.