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 (with various qualities) at various prices.
We will not be discussing the likes of Dol or Doxy (briefly
mentioned in opinion / music talk), or even Blue Note’s
75 Year Anniversary reissues (just not up to the mark regarding
overall dynamics and pressing quality)! DeAgostini, Pure Pleasure
Records and Music Matters Jazz are in the spotlight here.
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!
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 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)
No complaints here, you will receive almost identical to original
artwork with extremely high quality inner poly liners.
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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