The seminal Miles Davis “Kind of Blue”
was the first from DeAgostini 33 1/3 RPM series to grace the
shelves of WHSmith and other leading outlets at the beginning
of 2016. Further releases such as John Coltraine’s “Blue
Train,” Billie Holiday’s “Lady in Satin”
and Charlie Parker Quartet’s “Now’s the Time”
(to name a few) could also be purchased over the counter. Customers
were later directed to the DeAgostini website to purchase further
releases from the series. Pricing began at an unbeatable £4.99
for Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue”. Subsequent
reissues are priced from at an unbelievable £9.99 –
£14.99 including delivery!
DeAgostini album artwork is extremely high
quality, using thick card covers with ‘close as possible’
original colours. High quality inner poly liners are also provided.
As well as near to original artwork covers, DeAgostini also
include an album / artist information booklet with additional
photographs and info with each release.
We either own or have access to various ‘other’
versions of the above albums released in the last forty plus
years (original, direct metal & Japanese pressings). Detailed
mastering and pressing information regarding DeAgostini reissues
remain a mystery despite months of investigation. DeAGostini
staff understand very little about the albums they are selling
(understatement). However, the vinyl used is true high quality
180 gram vinyl resulting in negligible surface noise. As previously
stated, Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue” (Columbia CS
8163) was the first release from this series and is clearly
one of their best. Our previous re-issue copies of this album
from other sources have either been too bright or too thin (or
both) regarding instrument depth and detail. The opportunity
to replace previous worn copies was also top of our agenda.
The DeAgostini’s re-issue has a believable ‘just
right’ presentation. Instrument texture and overall detail
is spot on, with a ‘draw the listener in’ full stereo
soundstage. Unfortunately we did not find the same results with
John Coltrane’s “Blue Train” with the overall
listening experience being forced and bright (over-processed)
on many tracks.
Billie Holiday’s “Lady In Satin,”
The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s “Tine Out,” Nat
Adderlley’s “Somethin’ Else,” Wayne
Shorter’s “Speak No Evil,” McCoy Tyner’s
“The Real McCoy” and Oliver Nelson’s “The
Blues And The Abstract Truth” are all superb reissues
in their own right. Again, overall vinyl pressing quality is
excellent allowing for vocal, instrument clarity and energy
to shine through. There does appear to be a slight pressing
issue with Oliver Nelson’s “The Blues And The Abstract
Truth” with regards to various imperfections (or anomalies).
To date we have received two copies of this album from DeAgostini
that have consistent invisible ‘and visible’ scratch
As well as the excellent Miles Davis “Kind
of Blue,” we found Wayne Shorter’s “Speak
No Evil” and McCoy Tyner’s “The Real McCoy”
to be stand out albums here. Evidently, the DeAgostini reissue
copies stereo image presentation (specifically on the Blue Note
label) tend to be centralised with an extremely narrow stereo
soundstage (almost mono), however, this is more of an observation
and not necessarily a criticism. Individual taste and experience
will encourage the listener to either explore the DeAgostini
collection further, or opt for more costly reissues.
Pure Pleasure Records
Pure Pleasure Records have received outstanding
reviews from various high end publications regarding the quality
of specific albums from their catalogue (and for good reason).
Firstly, Pure Pleasure Records reissues are priced competitively
from around £13 - £35 (on average) plus delivery.
The Pure Pleasure Records reissue catalogue
is vast and varied. However, we have chosen just two for review.
The Dave Brubeck Trio featuring Gerry Mulligan “Blues
Roots” (Pure Pleasure Records Columbia CS 9749 - Re-mastering
by: Ray Staff at Air Mastering, Lyndhurst Hall, London) and
Milt Jakson’s “Sunflower” (Pure Pleasure Records
No complaints here, you will receive almost
identical to original artwork with extremely high quality inner
Pure Pleasure Records mastering and pressing
ethos is clear….
180gram audiophile vinyl albums –
Re-mastered by some of the best engineers in the world
Both Pure Pleasure Records & Speakers Corner Records have
their Albums processed and pressed at one of the best Pressing
Plants in The World!!
The Dave Brubeck Trio featuring Gerry Mulligan’s
“Blues Roots” was originally released in 1966 on
the CBS label. We do not have the original release or other
reissues to compare with Pure Pleasure Records reissue. however,
our ‘musical instinct’, sensitive mature ears and
experience tell us that Pure Pleasure’s cut is spot on!
Thanks to the true 180gram audiophile whisper queit vinyl,
you will be able to instantly tune into this eclectic collaboration
of Mulligan’s baritone saxophone, Dave Brubeck - piano
& honky tonk piano, Jack Six – bass - fender bass
and Alan Dawson - drums. Admittedly, not all the tracks on this
album are to my personal taste, however, the exceptional quality
of this album (recording, re-mastering & pressing) does
allow the listener to fully appreciate the exploratory nature
of the band as a whole (post bop / hybrid-blues)!
Various reissues of Milt Jackson’s “Sunflower”
are available online. The Pure Pleasure Records reissue is not
the best by any stretch of the imagination. Lacklustre dynamics
with a weird artificial ‘not quite stereo’ re-channelled
presentation. The life has been literally sucked out of this
(what should be) an amazingly vibrant musical experience. Superb
whisper quiet quality vinyl only reveals the tragic remastering.
It has been noted that many of these end up on Discogs awaiting
a less experienced vinyl addict to take the plunge.
Unfortunately we have found communication
with Pure Pleasure Records to be somewhat ‘challenging.’
We also found their general practise and professionalism to
be somewhat ‘questionable.’ For example, we purchased
Carmen Lundy’s superb double album “Soul To Soul”
(which is not a reissue). Unfortunately we discovered one of
the discs to be faulty (invisible scratch issue). We were advised
to return the single faulty disc “for their evaluation.”
Fair enough I guess. They confirmed ‘a small
scratch’ and advised they would replace the disc.
However, we not only had to chase them for delivery of the new
disc, we had to almost pester them to repay our cost of return
of the faulty disc to them (standard UK consumer law)! We also
later purchased the same album through another distributor.
The album arrived with a damaged picture cover. As the damage
was not ‘transit damage’ we requested a return /
replacement from the distributor, however, we were advised that
“the company” (Pure Pleasure Records) would
not replace or refund an album with a damaged cover, they would
only refund or replace if the vinyl itself was faulty!”
We were forced to pursue this via our legal team. We were reimbursed
for our losses eventually, however, this will explain our small
number of purchases from Pure Pleasure Records. Perhaps they
are happy that we don’t continue business due to our expectations...‘basic
manners’ and basic professional communication?
Despite the above strained experience, we
would still recommend ‘some’ of Pure Pleasure Records’
offerings. Carmen Lundy’s albums on vinyl are a MUST BUY
for anyone who yearn to listen to this supreme artist on the
format her voice was designed for. It would be an absolute dream
to be able to obtain her exquisite back catalogue on vinyl.
At present, choices for serious vinyl addicts in the UK searching
for quality vinyl at reasonable prices are limited.
Hopefully a change is gonna come!
Next spin on the table, Musicmatters
Details to follow...
© Michael Valentine Studio Ltd.
October 2016 -
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