- This killer pressing earned solid Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- The brass and percussion are amazing on 2001 (and every other track), thanks to RVG, a many who knew how to do these kinds of big jazz productions better than practically anyone alive in 1973
- We had no idea there was space this huge in the recording until we played some of the better copies
- 4 stars: “Though overshadowed by ‘2001,’ the other tracks also hold up well today, being mostly medium-tempo, sometimes lushly orchestrated, conga-accented affairs that provide velvety showcases for Deodato’s lyrical electric piano solos… it still makes enjoyable listening.”
- This title from 1973 is clearly Deodato’s best album, and his best recording
- The complete list of titles from 1973 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.
Both sides are surprisingly sweet and Tubey Magical, nice qualities for a CTI record to have since so many of them are aggressive and edgy to the point of distraction.
Listen to the trumpet on the second track on side one — it’s so immediate, it’s practically JUMPING out of the soundfield, just bursting with energy. Rudy can really pull off these big productions on occasion, and this session was clearly one of them. If you have the kind of stereo that’s right for this music (the bigger the better) you could easily find yourself using this record as a demonstration disc. It’s very unlikely your audiophile friends have ever heard anything like it.
This vintage CTI pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely 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 band, 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 Prelude 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 1973
- 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 studio space
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.
The congas are present in the mix and very full-bodied — this allows them to really drive the rhythmic energy of the music. We know this because the copies with congas that were veiled or thin never seemed to get up go. The bass on these two sides was some of the best we heard as well.
The top is most often the problem with these CTI pressings. Both sides here seem to give you all the top end that was on the tape.
There is wonderful transparency and openness to the soundstage, as well as less congestion in the loudest parts. Also, Sprach (2001) is on side one of the album and it is killer here.
Digging That CTI Sound
Full, lively horns; rich, punchy, smear-free congas; fuzzy fuzzed-out guitars; as well as correct tonality and Tubey Magic in every area of the spectrum, what’s not to love?
The best copies are so much bigger too. There is no doubt you will hear the difference immediately. If you do a shootout with your best copy and ours plan on it being over practically before it starts.
Reaching Back to 2009
Dropping the needle on a random copy of Prelude early in 2009 we found ourselves pleasantly surprised by the sound. It was big, bold, spacious and extended up top. This is Rudy Van Gelder‘s work circa 1972 and that means it can be a whole lot better than many of the compressed-to-death, hard, sour and squawky recordings he made in the ’50s and ’60s.
Of course, he made plenty of great ones back then too, don’t get us wrong, but it seems that most audiophile reviewers don’t make much of an effort to distinguish the good ones from the bad ones. We’ve played plenty
What We’re Listening For on Prelude
- 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 so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also 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 instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Artists and Personnel
- Eumir Deodato – piano, electric piano
- Ron Carter – electric bass (solo on “Baubles, Bangles and Beads”), bass
- Stanley Clarke – electric bass (solo on “Also Sprach Zarathustra”)
- Billy Cobham – drums
- John Tropea – electric guitar (solo on “Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001)”, “Baubles, Bangles and Beads”, “September 13”)
- Jay Berliner – guitar (solo on “Spirit of Summer”)
- Airto Moreira – percussion
- Ray Barretto – congas
- Hubert Laws – flute (solo on “Prelude to Afternoon of a Faun”)
as well as a large number of horns, woodwinds, violins, violas and cellos
- Recorded by Rudy Van Gelder
- Arranged by Eumir Deodato
Creed Taylor Inc.
We’ve been really digging these CREED TAYLOR productions for years now. On the better albums such as this one, the players tend to sound carefree and loose — you can tell they’re enjoying the hell out of these songs. Don’t get me wrong — we still love the Blue Note and Contemporary label stuff for our more “hard core” jazz needs, but it’s a kick to hear top jazz musicians laying down these grooves and not taking themselves so seriously… especially when it sounds as good as this copy does.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.
A Must Own Jazz Record
This Demo Disc Quality recording should be part of any serious Audiophile Jazz Collection, assuming you like jazz fusion. Others that belong in that category can be found here.
Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001)
Spirit of Summer
Carly & Carole
Baubles, Bangles and Beads
Prelude to Afternoon of a Faun
Prelude is the eighth studio album by Brazilian keyboardist Eumir Deodato, released in 1973. With the signature track “Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001)” (an arrangement of the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey), Prelude would be the biggest hit Deodato and CTI Records ever had.
The album features guitarist John Tropea on three tracks, bassists Ron Carter and Stanley Clarke, and Billy Cobham on drums. The funk-influenced version of the “Introduction” from Richard Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra, entitled “Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001)”, won the 1974 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance and went to number two in the pop charts in the US, number three in Canada, and number seven in the UK.