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http://www.musicmattersjazz.com/

shop.deagostini.co.uk/featured/jazz-at-33-rpm

Click the company banners above to reach company websites.

We support individuals and organisations that produce quality hi-fi components, accessories and quality vinyl reissues. After receiving emails from fellow vinyl record lovers regarding various ‘reissue issues’ we decided to delve further. At this point we can confirm Music Maters Jazz provide unprecedented high quality reissues! DeAgostini also provide amazing quality for the price, hence the inclusion of links to these company websites at the top of this page.

There are many ‘reissue labels’ offering various recordings at various prices. We will not be discussing the likes of Dol or Doxy (briefly mentioned in opinion / music talk). DeAgostini, Pure Pleasure Records and Music Matters Jazz are in the spotlight here.

DeAgostini Jazz at 33 1/3 RPM

Starting off with DeAgostini’s Jazz at 33 1/3 RPM series. Four of the below albums were ordered 28 December 2016. After at least eight follow up emails and ten phone calls to their ‘so called’ DeAgostini customer care helpline and nearly two months later, they finally arrived. I was forced to collect these albums from my local Parcelforce depot 23 February 2017. DeAgostini had printed an incorrect address on the order even though I reconfirmed my address on several occasions. It is actually a miracle the albums arrived in one piece considering the flimsy thin loose layered card used as packing. DeAgostini customer services do handle problems politely and will not question problems you may encounter, however, their overall management of my order conjures images of management of the English football team at The Fifa World Cup!

Miles Davis - Kind of Blue John Coltrane - Blue Train Billie Holiday - Lady in Satin Dave Brubeck - Time Out
Julian Cannonball Adderley - Somethin' Else Wayne Shorter - Speak No Evil McCoy Tyner - The Real McCoy Oliver Nelson - Blues And The  Abstract Truth

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!

Artwork

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.

Sound quality

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 issues.

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 PPAN CTI6024)

The Dave Brubeck Trio featuring Gerry Mulligan - Blues Roots Milt Jackson - Sunflower

Artwork

No complaints here, you will receive almost identical to original artwork with extremely high quality inner poly liners.

Sound Quality

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 Jazz

Details to follow...

Herbie Hancock - Inventions  & Dimensions /  2disc 45RPM Herbie Hancock - Speak Like A Child / 2disc 45RPM Herbie Hancock - Takin' Off / 2disc 45RPM Lee Morgan - Search For The New Land / 2 disc45RPM
Pete La Roca  - Basra / 2disc 45RPM Stanley Turrentine with the 3 Sounds -  Blue Hour Wayne Shorter  - Adam's Apple / 2disc 45RPM Stanley Turrentine - Jubilee Shout!!! / 2disc 45RPM

Robin Francis
© Michael Valentine Studio Ltd.
October 2016 -

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