This Columbia Red Label LP has DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND!
Call me crazy, but I DON’T THINK YOU CAN CUT A BETTER SOUNDING KIND OF BLUE THAN THIS ONE!
I’m fully aware of how outrageous a statement that is, considering the fact that this is a ’70s Red Label reissue. But I’ve long known of amazing sounding Kind Of Blue reissues.
Having played dozens of different pressings of this record over the years, I think I know this recording about as well as anyone. The tube mastered original Six Eye Stereo copies have wonderful, lush, sweet sound. I’ve heard many of them. The 360s from the ’60s often split the difference — less tubey magical, but cleaner and more correct.
But my point here is simply this: you can cut this record DIFFERENTLY, but you can’t cut it any BETTER.
If you cut it with tubes it will bring out some qualities not as evident on this pressing. But there will be loses as well. It’s a matter of trade-offs. There is no copy that will satisfy everyone, just as there is no speaker or amplifier that will satisfy everyone.
So what do you get on this copy? Zero distortion. Zero compression. 100% transparency. Amazing transients. The deepest, cleanest, most note-like bass with no smearing, veiling or added warmth. The sense that you are hearing every instrument sound exactly the way it really does sound.
You could almost say this pressing sounds like a master tape, not a record at all. Now don’t get me wrong. I love tubey colorations. I say so all over this site. And if I had to choose one pressing of this record to take to a desert island, I don’t know which one it would be. But there is no way that the qualities of this record exist on those early, tubey cuttings. They simply didn’t have the technology. The technology they did have is wonderful in its own way. And this record is wonderful in its own, very different, way.
$150 is a lot of money for a record that any jazz record dealer would be embarrassed to charge more than $20 for. But jazz record dealers don’t know anything about sound. They know about collectability. They know about price guides. They know their market — jazz collectors — and I know mine: audiophiles. This record has unimpeachable audiophile credentials. It has the sound in the grooves like you have never heard before.
And of course it beats the pants off of the Classic reissue, as good as that one is. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money for this album — widely considered the greatest jazz album of all time — then the Classic should do the job just fine.
The Giants Who Created Kind of Blue
- Bass – Paul Chambers
- Drums – Jimmy Cobb
- Piano – Bill Evans
- Piano – Wynton Kelly
- Tenor Saxophone – John Coltrane
- Alto Saxophone – Cannonball Adderley
Irving Townsend was the producer, Fred Plaut the engineer for these sessions that took place on various dates in March and April, 1959, in Columbia’s glorious-sounding 30th Street Studio.
It’s yet another remarkable disc from the Golden Age of Vacuum Tube Recording.
Fred Plaut was a recording engineer and amateur photographer. He was employed by Columbia Records during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, eventually becoming the label’s chief engineer.
Plaut engineered sessions for what would result in many of Columbia’s famous albums, including the original cast recordings of South Pacific, My Fair Lady, and West Side Story, jazz LPs Kind of Blue and Sketches of Spain by Miles Davis, Time Out by Dave Brubeck, Mingus Ah Um and Mingus Dynasty by Charles Mingus.