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COLTRANE'S BLUE NOTE ALBUM IN FAIRLY GOOD MONO SOUND
on May 18, 2012
Two discs-42 minutes each approximately. The booklet contains a short essay on Coltrane's life in music up to this album, and on through to his death. Every Coltrane/jazz fan has heard this album, recorded in 1957. Besides Coltrane, it features Lee Morgan-trumpet, Curtis Fuller-trombone, Paul Chambers-bass, Philly Joe Jones-drums, and Kenny Drew-piano. You may feel the monaural version is worth less-for reasons listed below. This set (especially in mono) is somewhere between 2-3 "stars", so approach accordingly.
The stereo version is clean and punchy-without sounding harsh. There's an open feel to the sound, being in stereo-but fans (like me) may also be interested in hearing a monaural version of this great album. Overall the sound doesn't have the "open space" feeling as heard in the stereo version. However there's a fullness, an evenness to the sound that's missing in stereo.
In mono each instrument can still be heard easily. The highs from Morgan's trumpet are a bit harsh sounding-as if the trumpet had reached the highest recording levels. But when he stays out of the higher registers, the sound is fine. The lows are full without sounding muddy.
I'm assuming that the source for the mono album (if not both) is from a good vinyl source. Listening without headphones I can't hear any horrible sonic anomalies-sometimes apparent when even a good vinyl copy is used as the source. With headphones I detect some occasional slight anomalies-so if you're a true audiophile-you may want to pass this by. I wish someone would release this in mono from a good source-maybe one day.
So, if you're curious to hear this seminal album in mono, and/or want it for your Coltrane library, this is worth purchasing-as long as you understand that it's not anywhere near a perfect recording. And the low price (as of this writing) makes it worth a listen-as long as you know what you're getting.