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Customer Review

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SOUND, MUSIC: 5 stars. CD issue: just OK but DON'T PASS!, December 27, 2006
This review is from: Comp. Big Band Studio Recording (Audio CD)
Fresh Sound, Gambit and now Lonehill... These days it seems you can't go wrong with reissues coming out of Spain--they rival the meticulous Japanese reissues but for a fraction of those ridiculously priced Japanese CDs. And I haven't noticed any of the harsh, strident peaks that make you cringe listening to rush-job domestic issues.

This 78-minute Lonehill CD offers two albums plus a bonus American Broadcasting Network aircheck of this same Pettiford band live from Birdland, with Oscar introducing each of these three tunes. My first reaction to the live tracks was, "Wow, where'd they find THAT!" But you can tell from the flow of the announcing, there is much more of this broadcast that Lonehill simply could not fit on this CD. Thus you're left with a feeling of incompleteness, wondering where the rest of the broadcast is (couldn't find it online) and wishing maybe they should've saved the entire broadcast for a complete CD.

Another disappointment--and I've found this also with reissues by Spain's Fresh Sound--album artwork from the later LP is used for this CD, while the album artwork from the earlier OSCAR PETTIFORD IN HI FI is not shown and should've been, on an inside page, as the Japanese surely would have done. The original liner notes for each session are shown, but abandoned altogether are the rear covers--something the highly detail-strict Japanese always include, often in the form of a near-full-sized fold out replica. (Art Farmer takes many fine solos throught this CD. His quartet albums ART and PERCEPTION were recently reissued by Gambit on one truly magnificent CD that includes all cover art and notes, and that sounds as smooth and pristine as any Japanese issue I have ever heard; I've reviewed this one, if you'd like more info.)

This is somewhat neglected music, and it sounds better than ever--that is, clearer with much more detail, achieved through basic skilled and tastful mastering, not through the use of phoney reverb and digital "enhancement" technology. I have owned the LPs, so I can tell you the audio is 100% faithful to the original, which could only have been achieved through remastering directly from the original ABC-Paramount masters. Though these tapes have noticeably deteriorated slightly in only a few spots, Lonehill has performed a masterfully clean restoration on them. Whoever Lonehill's engineers are--they are not acknowledged in the booklet--you did a superb job. By the way, these recordings are from 1956 and 1957 (not '59 and '63); the '57 studio date is in its original stereo.

Musically, I'll just tell you, everytime I play this for people, they're pleasantly surprised at the freshness of the tunes, the feel and groove of the rhythm section, and in particular, Lucky Thompson's solos, especially when backed by the big band augmented with two French horns and harp--"Deep Passion," for example. It's been a favorite of mine since first hearing the excellent 1983 Jasmine (UK) LP reissues, which included Quincy Jones' 1956 ABC-Paramount albums THIS IS HOW I FEEL ABOUT JAZZ and GO WEST MAN, both essentially the Oscar Pettiford orchestra but with bassists PAUL CHAMBERS and CHARLES MINGUS. (Yes, both titles are currently available. THIS IS HOW I FEEL... is on Lonehill, although they did not combine it with GO WEST, MAN. A Phantom Imports, whose origin is listed as "France/Spain," offers a CD combining both albums.)

Another of Spain's great reissues is Fresh Sound's JOE GORDON EARLY SESSIONS--three LPs on one CD: Joe's introductory LP plus an Art Blakey LP and a Gigi Gryce LP, all originally on EmArcy 10" EPs. The sound is unmessed with, but you only get the Joe Gordon cover art. Still, highly recommended (have a look at my review).

Thanks for reading.
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Location: Rochester, NY

Top Reviewer Ranking: 274,830