MPS Reissues Bill Evans, Clark Terry, and Dizzy Gillespie on Vinyl

Recently, when I visited the MPS Records website, I got the feeling the label might be in a transition of some sort. I’ve reviewed some of its vinyl releases, and wanted to find information about any upcoming LP releases, as well as details about the availability of reissues on reel-to-reel tape. Since those links no longer appear on the site, I can only assume that MPS is reevaluating its position about both formats. The three recent vinyl releases from MPS I discuss here make me eager to hear more from the label’s back catalog.

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Vinyl Rules -- Joe Jackson, The Dave Brubeck Quartet, The Tragically Hip

A little more than a year ago I visited my friend Mike, whose audio system is similar to mine. We both like vintage tube gear, and he has a matching Eico power amp and preamp. He recently had his mid-1980s AR turntable refurbished, and his CD player is a Yamaha CD-N500. We settled down to an evening of drinking wine and listening to music, most of it on vinyl. Mike’s is a great-sounding system, and he’s since made some upgrades, including a pair of Klipsch Heresy speakers. I’m eager to make the long drive to hear it again.

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Two Guitarists and a Drummer

John Abercrombie, born in 1944, is among the generation of jazz guitarists influenced by the rock music of the 1960s. Jimi Hendrix had an especially strong impact on jazz players of his generation -- his use of distortion, volume, and feedback soon found its way into their music, as the sound and force of rock music became part of a fusion of jazz and rock that almost immediately came to be called, simply, fusion.

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Tom Waits, the Pretenders, and More Miles on Mobile Fidelity Vinyl

Vinyl has made such a strong return that even I’m surprised. I’ve kept the LP faith for more than 25 years, during which time the format has often been declared dead. Hip-hop probably did its part to help keep vinyl alive, and people like me -- baby boomers who began collecting vinyl in the 1960s -- kept at it. We bought LPs both old and new, while reissue labels and the few surviving pressing plants made sure we’d have new vinyl to add to our collections.

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ECM Records, More Vital and Innovative than Ever

Every jazz fan who grew up in the 1970s knows ECM Records, the German record label that Manfred Eicher established in Munich in 1969. Its first release, Free At Last, was by American jazz pianist Mal Waldron, and in the years since, Editions of Contemporary Music has released music by many other American jazz musicians, including Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, and Jack DeJohnette.

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Intervention Records Reissues Three Joe Jackson LPs

When many of us bought Joe Jackson’s debut album, Look Sharp!, in 1979, we couldn’t have anticipated that it would be the first of a career that has turned out to be noteworthy for its ambition and variety. Like the two musicians to whom he’s often compared, Elvis Costello and Graham Parker, Jackson has a firm grasp of pop styles, from garage rock to Motown, and presents them with raw passion and precision.

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Intervention Records Reissues Everclear and Stealers Wheel on Vinyl

Intervention Records, which reissues carefully remastered albums on high-quality vinyl, has a very informative website, but my question for the label’s founder, Shane Buettner, wasn’t answered there: Why Everclear?

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Is It Just Me, or Are CDs Too Loud?

It’s not exactly news to readers of SoundStage! Hi-Fi that audiophiles are unhappy with the way recorded music sometimes sounds. I’ve reviewed discs by the Black Keys and My Morning Jacket that I liked musically, but found disappointing sonically. As with any aesthetic experience, how we react to a recording is subjective. Some audiophiles didn’t like the sound of Tom Petty’s Mojo. I found it within acceptable bounds for a rock’n’roll recording, where impact and sizzle are part of the experience.

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MPS Records Reissues George Duke on Vinyl

When George Duke died of leukemia in 2013, at age 67, he left behind a large and varied musical legacy. He led almost 40 sessions and was a sideman on many others, including 18 Frank Zappa releases and records by Al Jarreau and Jean-Luc Ponty. While I would have expected to see his name on LPs by drummer Billy Cobham, I was surprised to find him listed on recordings by Michael Jackson (Off the Wall) and Deniece Williams (Let’s Hear It for the Boy).

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Analogue Productions Reissues Jeff Beck, Herbie Hancock, and Nina Simone

Nothing pleases me more than when an audiophile label reissues titles that deserve careful treatment. Analogue Productions has long produced new versions of records that deserve to be heard at their best, such as its reissues of classic albums from RCA Living Stereo, Prestige, and Blue Note, but sometimes AP goes off in less predictable directions. These three albums were long overdue for the careful remastering and pressing that make Analogue Productions such a great label.

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