Recently Released Albums

These albums were pressed at 45 RPM on 180 gram audiophile quality vinyl.

The Mysterious Film World of Bernard Herrmann

Bernard Herrmann With The National Philharmonic Orchestra

ORG 151 / 45 RPM / 180 GRAM / 2LPs

Audiophile reissue of London Records SPC21136.

Remastered by Bernie Grundman, Hollywood, CA.
Pressed at RTI in Camarillo, CA.
Double gatefold jacket.
Limited, numbered edition.

Bernard Herrmann was an American composer best known for his work in composing for motion pictures. Herrmann is particularly known for his collaborations with director Alfred Hitchcock, most famously Psycho, North by Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and Vertigo.

Originally released in 1976 by London Records, this album was recorded by the composer early in 1975 and has proved to be one of the more enduring parts of Bernard Herrmann’s catalog.

During the early to mid-’70s, Herrmann began re-recording many of his earlier scores at Kingsway Hall in London with the National Philharmonic Orchestra. The sound glitters, some of the brightest and richest audio of its period (attested to by the album’s being part of Decca/London Phase 4 Stereo), and the performances have a dignity and intensity that makes the music — drawn from the key parts of Herrmann’s scores for the Ray Harryhausen-created fantasy films The Three Worlds of Gulliver, Mysterious Island, and Jason and the Argonauts — seem even more serious and profound than it originally did.

Herrmann tends to take the tempos slower than he did in the original scores, which gives him and the players a chance to open up the detail and nuances in the music, bringing out their surprising depth and complexity. What’s more, the players sound like they’re having the time of their lives playing it.

TRACKS:

SIDE A
Music from the Columbia Picture “MYSTERIOUS ISLAND” (Herrmann)

01. Prelude (1:57)
02. The Balloon (2:52)
03. The Giant Crab (3:37)
04. The Giant Bee (2:52)
05. The Giant Bird (3:04)

SIDE B
Music from the Columbia Picture “Jason and the Argonauts” (Herrmann)
01. Prelude (2:35)
02. Talos (2:19)
03. Talos’ Death (2:42)
04. Triton (3:15)

SIDE C
Music from the Columbia Picture “The Three Worlds of Gulliver” (Herrmann)

01. Overture (2:26)
02. Minuetto-Wapping (2:04)
03. Hornpipe (1:20)
04. Lilliputians 1 & 2 (3:22)
05. Victory 1 & 2 (1:28)
06. Escape (:39)

SIDE D Music from the Columbia Picture “The Three Worlds of Gulliver” (Herrmann)

01. The King’s March (2:00)
02. Trees (2:25)
03. The Tightrope (3:03)
04. Lovers (2:54)
05. The Chess Game (1:25)
06. Pursuit (1:50)
07. Finale (1:03)

Coltrane Plays The Blues
John Coltrane

JOHN COLTRANE, soprano & tenor sax
McCOY TYNER, piano
STEVE DAVIS, bass
ELVIN JONES, drums.

ORG 195 / 45 RPM / 180 GRAM / 2LPs

Audiophile reissue of Atlantic 1382.

Remastered by Bernie Grundman, Hollywood, CA.
Pressed at Gotta Groove, Cleveland, OH.
Double gatefold jacket.
Limited, numbered edition.

TRACKS:

SIDE A
01. Blues To Elvin (7:52)

SIDE B
01. Blues To Bechet (5:44)
02. Blues To You (6:25)

SIDE C
01. Mr. Day (7:56)

SIDE D
01. Mr. Syms (5:19)
02. Mr. Knight (7:30)

Liner notes from the original release:

Since John Coltrane left the Miles Davis group and began playing the soprano saxophone, his reputation as performer and leader, as well as the controversy surrounding his work, has revolved largely around his status as an experimenter and leader of the jazz avant-garde. This is, of course, legitimate enough, but those who place emphasis on the experimental, particularly Coltrane’s detractors, ignore the point that like another controversial musician, Coltrane’s friend Ornette Coleman, John’s work is quite firmly based in jazz tradition.

When Coltrane plays a club, it is always particularly interesting to hear the last set of the evening. Earlier sets will almost invariably find him playing the two pieces on which his reputation with his most recently converted fans is based, My Favorite Things and Greensleeves. With these, he established himself as the most important jazz soprano saxophonist since Sidney Bechet and Johnny Hodges, and affected a general renaissance of the instrument. People expect to hear these two tunes, and since the pieces still fascinate Coltrane, he always complies. The last set, however, generally starts at around two in the morning, when the audience is composed of hardcore believers. Coltrane almost always chooses to play tenor that set, and almost always plays the blues. One such blues, which may not even have a theme, sometimes serves as the basis for an entire thirty or forty-minute set. At these times, Coltrane is startling in his affinity to the rhythm-and-blues players in the local clubs across the country – not that he honks or screeches, but in the depth of his intensity and in the similarity of his feeling. To hear him play at such times, and to watch his concentration, can be a nearly shattering experience.

By now, as the avant-garde controversy rages around him, some tend to forget that Coltrane’s great initial reputation was made as a blues player. Almost without exception, the dominant jazzmen of our time – Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, the members of the MJQ – have strikingly personal approaches to the blues. So has Coltrane, who is by now an all-pervasive influence on the jazz scene. One of his early recordings, Blue Train, is a nearly classic example of his style, and a powerful, almost menacing performance. Indelibly impressed on the minds of many listeners are the blues performances of the Miles Davis Quintet and the Thelonious Monk Quartet, when Coltrane’s tumultuous outpouring of notes provided brilliant contrast to the sparse, classic styles of the leaders.

After Coltrane formed his own group, he understandably showed somewhat less preoccupation with blues. In his new position as leader, he wanted variety in his material, and searched for different ways to make his music, in the word he is fond of using, “presentable.” He became more involved with composition, which inevitably led to pieces in different forms. His researches into Indian music and the raga led to concern with the problem of playing pieces which contained as few chords as possible, Again, it was easy to forgot that Coltrane has written several blues in a dark minor style that is a trademark with him and that has been quite widely imitated.

For all these reasons, it is a great pleasure to see the appearance of the present album at this time. I doubt that it was recorded in an attempt to prove any sort of a point. If Coltrane takes any attitude toward his critics, it is one of puzzlement, as he sees himself highly praised for the same reasons which others employ to dismiss him. Further, Coltrane is a quiet, rather shy man, almost the antithesis of his music, who tends to find what he plays far less exceptional than do his listeners.

He is quite certain, though, about what he wants, and this is reflected in his choice of associates. The “lyricism,” as he terms it, is supplied by the heavily chordal pianist, McCoy Tyner. Since he sometimes plays without piano, as on two numbers in this set, it is important that the bassist, Steve Davis, has an acute knowledge of harmony. Perhaps the most remarkable member of the group, aside from Coltrane himself, is the fantastically complex Elvin Jones, probably the most challenging drummer now playing. When someone once remarked that many musicians would be unable to play with Elvin, Coltrane answered, “Sometimes I can’t play with him.” There are several notable examples in modern jazz of unusual empathy between soloist and drummer – Thelonious Monk and Art Blakey; Sonny Rollins and Max Roach; Miles Davis and Philly Joe Jones – and certainly the Coltrane-Elvin Jones combination is as unique as these.

All the pieces on this set are by Coltrane, and the album is unusual in that the feeling of sameness that could have so easily resulted from the same four men playing six blues has been neatly avoided. Quite subjectively, I find the album contains considerably more variety than many sets of standards and originals recorded by five and six-piece groups.

Blues To Elvin opens with a near-gospel piano figure, followed by Coltrane on tenor in one of his most basic blues solos of recent years, similar to the startling work he was doing in the late fifties, with only the occasional use of harmonics to mark it as a more recent performance. This track alone is a more meaningful credential than most blues players can produce.

Blues To Bechet played on soprano saxophone and accompanied only by bass and drums, is, for this listener, the favorite of the set. In his short, simple phrases, Coltrane hauntingly evokes Bechet, gradually leading into a passage which is an accurate definition of the advances he has introduced on the instrument, and then returning briefly to the traditional style shortly before the close.

The furiously paced Blues To You, played on tenor without piano, is strictly contemporary Coltrane. It reflects a performance practice he is fond of in clubs, stretching the basic blues harmonies to the limits of atonality, and then culminating the excitement in exchanges with Elvin Jones.

Mr. Day is the best example on the set of the hypnotic use to which Coltrane puts bass and piano behind his own instant frenzy. The piece itself is in the Eastern-minor vein of such other of his compositions as Dahomey Dance.

Mr. Syms, which again features soprano saxophone, is cast in a form Coltrane has made striking’ use of in the past: the minor blues with a bridge. In this instance, the bridge is quite similar to Summertime, a favorite Coltrane piece. He limits himself here to opening and closing melodic statements which frame a McCoy Tyner solo.

The final track, Mr. Knight, is in its piano figure and rhythmic basis, a synthesis of West Indian and African music, To this, building on a theme employing a bare minimum of notes, Coltrane adds his own Indian-influenced approach, making a unique cultural-musical blend.

Each of these tracks is fascinating in itself, replete with the emotional commitment which is perhaps Coltrane’s single most identifiable quality. When placed together, as they are here, the six pieces not only comprise an unusual and satisfying listening experience, but effectively document the fact that one of the most restless experimenters in jazz has far from exhausted the possibilities of the music’s oldest form. — JOE GOLDBERG 

Upcoming Albums

Coming soon at 45 RPM on 180 gram audiophile quality vinyl.

Bizet: Carmen and L’Arlesienne Suites

Ansermet with L’Orchestre De La Suisse Romande

ORG 157 / 45 RPM / 180 GRAM VINYL / 2LPs
Audiophile reissue of London Records CS 6062

ALBUM CREDITS:

Remastered by: Bernie Grundman, Hollywood, CA.
Pressed at RTI in Camarillo, CA.
Double gatefold jacket.
Limited, numbered edition.

Release date: July, 2019

Recorded at Victoria Hall, Geneva
Composed by: Bizet
Conductor: Ernest Ansermet
Orchestra: L’Orchestre De La Suisse Romande

TRACKS:

Bizet: Carmen – Suite

SIDE A
01. Prelude, Act 1 (3:20)
02. Prelude, Act 4 (Aragonaise) (2:05)
03. Prelude, Act 3 (Intermezzo) (2:30)
04. Prelude, Act 2 (Les Dragons d’Alcala) (1:35)

SIDE B
01. Scène Des Contrabandiers (Act 3) (3:45)
02. Habanera (Act 1) (1:40)
03. La Garde Montante (Act 1) (3:40)
04. Danse Bohème (Act 2) (4:15)

Bizet: L’Arlésienne – Suite

SIDE C
01. Prélude (6:25)
02. Minuetto (3:00)
03. Adagietto (2:45)

SIDE D
01. Carillon (4:25)
02. Minuet (4:00)
03. Farandole (3:30)

Aaron Copeland: Appalchian Spring & Billy The Kid

Dorati with London Symphony Orchestra

ORG 144 / 45 RPM / 180 GRAM VINYL / 2LPs
Audiophile reissue of Mercury Living Presence SR 90246

ALBUM CREDITS:

Remastered by: Bernie Grundman, Hollywood, CA
Pressed at RTI in Camarillo, CA.
Double gatefold jacket.
Limited, numbered edition.

Release date: September, 2019

Recorded at Watford Town Hall
Composed by: Aaron Copeland
Conductor: Antal Dorati
Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra

TRACKS:

Appalachian Spring (1945 Suite)

SIDE A
01. Very Slowly(2:46)
02. Allegro (2:44)
03. Moderato: The Bride And Her Intended (3:25)
04. Fast: The Revivalist And His Flock (3:52)

SIDE B
01. Allegro: Solo Dance Of The Bride (2:49)
02. Meno Mosso (2:19)
03. Doppio Movimento: Variations On A Shaker Hymn (3:20)
04. Moderato: Coda (3:38)

Billy The Kid (Complete Ballet)

SIDE C
01. Introduction: The Open Prarie (3:37)
02. Street In A Frontier Town (3:30)
03. Mexican Dance And Finale (8:49)
04. Prairie Night (Card Game At Night) (2:47)

SIDE D
01. Gun Battle (1:52)
02. Celebration (After Billy’s Capture) (4:54)
03. Waltz From Billy The Kid (4:46)
04. Billy’s Death (1:11)
05. The Open Prairie Again (2:17)