One of the first “Blue Note’s” I bought and liked was Grant Green’s great 1963 album Idle Moments. Up to that point most Blue Notes I had heard I thought were pretty insipid and wondered what all the fuss was about. And to be fair, at that time, I was just dipping my toes into the Jazz pond and hadn’t quite got it.
The copy I bought was one of a well meaning and good value series “mastered from the original tapes” by Blue Note (US), cut at Capitol Mastering. That must be some 15 years ago now. In the intervening years the Blue Note catalogue has been mined by three of the biggest and best vinyl re-issue lables in the history of Vinyl – Classic Records, Analogue Productions and Music Matters.
And so we find ourselves in 2014 with two HQ variations readily available – both I believe cut by Kevin Gray from the original master tapes. One, an Analogue Productions issue, sees the recording split over 4 sides and cut at 45 rpm (c 2009). While the new kid on the block was cut last year at 33.33 rpm and is on the Music Matters label. The word was that Kevin G has recently rewired his Mastering Cutting Complex and this had made a great improvement in the resulting output. Having been a believer in effect of different cables for over 30 years and more recently exposed to the benefits of (home made) silver cables last year I thought it was worth a comparison of these two versions of Idle Moments.
And yes there is quite a difference – however I am struggling to explain it – for at the end of the day I would be quite happy to live with either version. Just a few seconds after swopping over the records I stopped analysing and just listened to the music. What can I say? The MM version is crisper, the detail in say Joe Henderson’s Sax is much clearer and dynamic but at the expense of it sounding like the instruments as opposed to a band performance in a club. By comparison the AP 45 is more muted but atmospheric and I found it easier to listen to the whole. As to which is more faithful to the recording I have no idea – gut feel says you should take the best bits of both. I think a further listening session is required just to check my conclusion tho’. Oh and both records have been cleaned – but with the AP version having the benefit of a Walker Audio Prelude clean, which has the sort of effect of opening out the recording more than Disc Doctor MRC which tends to give sharper sound – writing this now I am questioning my sanity but what the ……
Also I am sure I read that Blue Note are also re-entering the vinyl market and righting the wrongs of these recent audiophile reissues – whatever that means.
Bottom line is that Idle Moments is, for me, a great early ’60′s Guitar led Jazz lp and am grateful of the re-issue boys bringing it to my attention. As for the numerous versions – there are so many great deserving recording still to be re-discovered that it would be nice to move on a bit – how about the Cecil Taylor Blue Note’s or Ornette’s Stockholm excursions? or even better move out of Blue Note for a while – and help ORG dig the Atlantic catalogue – Oh Yeah, Blues & Roots, The Clown????????????? just for starters.
I woke up early on Saturday morning and made straight for the Downs with my MTB on the car roof.
It is nice now the days are getting longer, the sun appears more frequently and the wind is less vicious.
What I hadn’t bargained for was various “rave” vans pumping out a heavy beat and blocking up the car park at the top of Ditchling Beacon. But hey ho there was space to park.
A fairly straight-forward figure of 8 (asleep) was the order of the day – just over 10 miles and 1100ft of muddy climbing, nice and taxing, but no overly so.
The ground conditions are getting better as the winter receeds. Although there were still some very goooooopy sections to make it 100% concentratio. One short climb I rode twice was different both times – the first time the mud was quite like plasticine – but some 45mins or so later it had thawed a bit in the sun and was much more slippery. Thankfully this time all the puddles I encountered we below pedal height!
I was aiming to go out again today but found my bike had a flat tire this morning and with the sun out warming the air I started on some overdue maintenance – I am now waiting for two new chainrings – it was not just the mud causing chain suck on my granny ring on recent rides but some not that pretty worn teeth.
Looking approximately north across the top of the South Downs
Yesterday the strong winds and rain were back, but Saturday was lovely. It meant that for the first time in over a month I found myself back on my MTB saddle on the South Downs. To be honest I wasn’t very adventurous in my choice of route – I chose well ridden paths, with an mix of surfaces and gradients to test the ground conditions and my fitness.
I stated at Foredown Tower heading straight up to the South Downs Way above Fulking. I then turned left towards Truleigh Hill. Left again down towards Southwick before turning left again almost back to the start. I then pointed myelf in the direction of Devils Dyke. Once there I decided to knock up some easy mileage on tamac down to the A27. I cut off road down to Hove Park and picked up the Old Shoreham Road back towards the start. Not quite 16.5 miles – but enough to make my legs feel tired.
The ground conditions were variable but almost all rideable – no muddy falls today – but I still got caught out by a couple of ponds across the path that were as deep or deeper than my bottom bracket – arrrggghhh frozen wet feet. One path in particular had changed since I last rode with a meandering foot deep gulley cut in it by the heavy rain, and another section was mud a foot deep where cattle had been milling round a gate in the bottom of a valley.
At the end I was muddy, tired, wet and happy!
Looking towards Worthing from above Southwick
Not an untypical scene in Amsterdam – bikes chained to railings everywhere
Several things this week have made me think about cycle helmets and cycle safety. And I hope you don’t mind me sharing them with you.
i) 4 times in the last week cars have cut me up while cycling to or from my local station – the last was this evening was on the road coming out of the station car park – a car overtaook me coming up to the T junction and pulled in while along side of me – what an impatient arse – I had lights on and high-viz jacket and backpack – luckily we didn’t hit – I took avoiding action. What the hell is wrong with these people – is it the effect of the long winter?????
ii) I was saddened but not suprised earlier this evening with the news that Michael Schumacher is unlikely to make a full recovery – yes I know he was skiing – but what would have happened if he hadn’t been wearing a helmet?
iii) It is one year and one day from when I almost killed myself coming off my bike – I had been “retired” almost 4 weeks and the weather had been foul – but I was determined to go for a ride – I had decided which train I was going to catch to the “downs” but was running late – instead on being sensible I hurried a bit and must have just misjudged a 90 degree bend – the road was slippery – my front wheel went – and I head butted tarmac at about 20mph. This is a bend I had cycled round almost every working day for 13 years. My helmet was somewhat compressed by the impact but saved my skull, my jacket and leggings were torn – but I was able to get up and walk about a mile to our local A&E. Nothing broken but it took me many, many, weeks to feel close to normal – and sometimes I swear in damp weather my head still aches at the point of impact – and I am not really sure If I am the same as I was before the accident. Which bring me to…
iv) Walking round central Amsterdam you can’t be help notice the cyclists and bikes locked up everywhere. What is surprising is the massive difference there is to both London and Brighton in behavior, dress and bike style. In Amsterdam the bikes whiz round pedestrians, cars and lorries like flies – yet no one gets angry. You do that in London and…… There were kids in kiddie seats, young and old alike pedalling fast, but not racing – was anyone wearing a helmet? NO! was anyone wearing high-viz clothing? NO! In London late last year there were a spate of cyclist fatalities in a space of a week or so, and a sorry tale of a kid who didn’t listen to his dad and then wasn’t able to listen to his dad. Is Amsterdam different? I thought I would look for some statistics on the web – wow there are some interesting comparisons – but what caught my eye was a quote from a woman who I think had moved from the US to Amsterdam, taking her cycle helemt with her but not using it in the 10 or so years she been there because it was safe because of the culture and acceptance of bikes – all I can say is don’t make a mistake – I have first hand experience and have seen others come off bikes with their helmets bearing the brunt of the damage.
I’ll come back to less serious stuff next time. XXXXXX
Messing about with the Vinyl Passion Dust Buster stylus cleaner I mentioned a few weeks ago – I started inspecting my stylus after playing each side or a record – and saw some interesting results. Most worrying was a white dusty residue going part way up the cantilver, found after playing a couple of new and cleaned records. As yet I haven’t identified the culprit, and not sure I ever will, but one was a brand new pressing from one of the top 2 record pressing plants in the US. At least the VPDB works a treat.
This, partially, led me to adding in a second layer of cleaning starting with a copy of Nina Simone’s US Colpix pressing of ‘At Newport’ (see earlier blog). Over this last weekend, as I didn’t really feel up to strenuous bike exercise, I conducted a limited experiment using The Disc Doctor’s Miracle Record Cleaner “For the sound you thought you bought!” using fresh DDMRC Pads on a DDMRC Brush, prior to “sonicing” them.
You can see the results in the photo’s below. These have made me stop and question what is the right cleaning process. When I next have time and feel like some mindless repetive task activity I will do some more controlled experiments. As someone said, clean, clean and clean again – not sure I have the patience for this level of attention that often but in the name of scienc……..
DDMRC Residue after cleaning Nina simone ‘At Newport”
45 mins later as the bubbles break down
DDMRC residue after cleaning a mix of new ‘old’ records and some not so old records – not quite as bad as Nina “At Newport’
Left; DDMRC residue after cleaning 10 pre-cleaned records
Right: DDMRC before use
6 month old RCM rollers and filter vs new
Quite a few months ago I had booked a trip to Amsterdam – it ticked the bill in value for money and bucket list points – not that I have actually written a bucket list – but hey ho off to Amsterdam we shall go…..
Well the trip and came and went last week – a break of less than 48 hours – just one night away – that seemed much longer.
Walking round Amsterdam soaking up the atmosphere (quite literally on Thursday with the rain).
Sorting out Vermeer’s from Van Gough and Rembrandt and trying mint tea.
Trying not to get mown down by a bike or falling in a canal.
The highlight was going to see the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra at the Concert-Gebouw, where they performed Beethoven’s 8th and 9th Symphonies, conducted by the marvellous Ivan Fischer. Arguably were were a bit too close to the stage – but the tickets were affordable – from our seats you could really appreciate the effort, musicianship and artistry. Seeing and hearing the 4 solo vocalists in the 4th movement of the 9th was thrilling and informative. All 4, Papatanasiu, Fink, Fritz and Finley were in fantastic voice that seemed perfect for the 190 year old score – but it is unfair just to highlight these 4, brilliant as they were, everyone seemed on top form. The long, standing ovation was well deserved and appeared to be appreciated – the violinists we were close to had moist eyes.
I will now be able to listen at home with a more informed ear on what orchestral music really sounds like.
Now to find a good concert programmes with Janáček’s Sinfonietta and then maybe Bartok’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta (hopefully by the Budapest Festival Orchetra).
Anyone for Cake?
Oops sorry I forgot camera’s were not allowed
So simple – so nice – mint tea.
Ssssh I am thinking.