Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

16

Eric Dolphy: Music Matters and Blue Note's 75th: Eric Dolphy's Out to Lunch

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
Those deep collectors of classic Blue Note titles are already well aware of Music Matters' impressive catalog of reissue titles going back to 2007. Aside from a vintage era release with Van Gelder in the dead wax, these reissues have been the gold standard for hearing Blue Note's iconic classics in their best light. Joe Harley and Ron Rambach, the masterminds behind Music Matters, both have a firm commitment to presenting this music in the best possible light.

Most recently, the label devoted their efforts to a series of 45 rpm reissues that eventually numbered well over a hundred Blue Note titles. For a major indicator as to the impact of this series, one need only look up the deleted titles on Ebay to see that many of them fetch prices well into the range of three digits. For this reviewer, my experience with these titles has been limited, as my previous turntable made switching to the faster speed a tedious task. Most recently, I acquired a new setup and grabbed a reasonably-priced 45 rpm version of Andrew Hill's Judgment that left me nearly speechless. In a nutshell, I had never heard every nuance of this familiar set until discovering this Music Matters masterpiece.

That brings us to Music Matters latest endeavor, celebrating the 75th anniversary of Blue Note. The twist here is that instead of the double LP 45 rpm format, Harley and Rambach have opted for a single disc at 33 1/3 rpm. The packaging has retained its integrity. The glossy gatefold cover features on the inside a full-size Francis Wolff photo on the left and four smaller shots on the right. Held in your hand, these hefty LPs exude boutique quality all the way.

With twenty releases planned over the next twelve months, I was able to obtain and spin a copy of the first release of the series, Eric Dolphy's iconic Out to Lunch. Without a doubt, the opening "Hat and Beard" threw me somewhat for a loop. Dolphy's horn speaks with a clarity that I have never heard before. In fact, as the main theme made its reprise towards the end of the tune, it first seemed like there might be a glitch with the pressing. Then it became clear that the clicking sound I was hearing was actually the tapping of the keys against the pads of Dolphy's bass clarinet.

On "Something Sweet, Something Tender," the unison lines featuring Dolphy and Richard Davis' bass have always sounded somewhat flat and muddled in previous editions. The three dimensional quality of the Music Matters disc helped to more clearly define each player's lines in a way that added a sense of depth to the music. This same sense of clarity could be heard with Dolphy's flute work on "Gazzelloni," the many textures of his organic approach more clearly delineated.

The musicians who most benefit from the Music Matters production are drummer Tony Williams and vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson. For Williams, the ride cymbal is key part of his creative muse and all the overtones can be heard here in a way that organically adds to the many textures of his drumming. His military snare beats on the title track have also never sounded so crisp and clean. As for Hutcherson, his vibes on pianoless dates can often sound brittle and cold. Not a trace of that to be found here. His solo entrance on "Straight Up and Down" is rendered with warmth and more of that three-dimensional transparency that is the hallmark of the entire set.

Although recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder is sometimes derided for his extreme panning and tendency for oversaturation, that argument is a null point here. Stereo separation sounded completely balanced, this new reissue becoming the reference for what modern technology can do with vintage material. Even though it probably goes without saying, this pressing was flat and dead quiet and without any anomalies whatsoever. Did I also mention that by cutting back to a single LP you cut the price by about 30% over the double LP 45s?

Duly impressed, this reviewer eagerly awaits further releases from this series. Some of the key Blue Note sides to get the Music Matters treatment in 2015 include Herbie Hancock's Empyrean Isles, Andrew Hill's Point of Departure, Larry Young's Unity, and Jackie McLean's Right Now.

UPDATED associated equipment used for evaluation:
VPI Scout 1.1 turntable with Soundsmith Carmen cartridge
Musical Fidelity A3CR amplifier and preamp
Sutherland Insight phono preamp
Bryston BCD-1 CD player
Bowers & Wilkins Nautilus 805 loudspeakers
Cardas cable and interconnects, Chang Lightspeed power conditioner

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Hi-Res Jazz
The Vinyl Post
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
Profiles
CD/LP/Track Review
DVD/Film Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Roads Less Travelled
Reassessing
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Musical Prophet:The Expanded 1963 New York Sessions

Musical Prophet:The...

Resonance Records
2018

buy
 

It's Magic!

Challenge Jazz
2012

buy
 

Out To Lunch!

Challenge Jazz
2012

buy
 

At The Five Spot...

Challenge Jazz
2012

buy
Out To Lunch

Out To Lunch

Blue Note Records
2011

buy

Related Articles

Read The Atlantic Years The Vinyl Post
The Atlantic Years
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: July 12, 2018
Read Beloved of The Sky The Vinyl Post
Beloved of The Sky
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: June 24, 2018
Read The Holy Trinity of Soul: Three Craft Reissues The Vinyl Post
The Holy Trinity of Soul: Three Craft Reissues
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: May 13, 2018
Read Way Out West: The Deluxe Edition The Vinyl Post
Way Out West: The Deluxe Edition
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 4, 2018
Read Other Worlds Other Sounds The Vinyl Post
Other Worlds Other Sounds
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: March 9, 2018
Read Passion, Grace and Fire The Vinyl Post
Passion, Grace and Fire
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "The Holy Trinity of Soul: Three Craft Reissues" The Vinyl Post The Holy Trinity of Soul: Three Craft Reissues
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: May 13, 2018
Read "Beloved of The Sky" The Vinyl Post Beloved of The Sky
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: June 24, 2018
Read "Other Worlds Other Sounds" The Vinyl Post Other Worlds Other Sounds
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: March 9, 2018
Read "The Atlantic Years" The Vinyl Post The Atlantic Years
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: July 12, 2018
Read "Way Out West: The Deluxe Edition" The Vinyl Post Way Out West: The Deluxe Edition
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 4, 2018
Read "Linda May Han Oh: Talent and Dedication" Catching Up With Linda May Han Oh: Talent and Dedication
by Angelo Leonardi
Published: September 11, 2018
Read "Kerava Jazz 2018" Live Reviews Kerava Jazz 2018
by Anthony Shaw
Published: June 1, 2018
Read "Hanging With Corcoran Holt" Radio Hanging With Corcoran Holt
by Nick Davies
Published: May 15, 2018
Read "The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums" Book Reviews The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums
by Steve Provizer
Published: March 3, 2018
Read "How do you use All About Jazz & Jazz Near You and how would you like to see them improve?" The Big Question How do you use All About Jazz & Jazz Near You and how...
by Michael Ricci
Published: February 15, 2018
Read "Jazz of the New South Africa, Part 1" Radio Jazz of the New South Africa, Part 1
by Seton Hawkins
Published: November 11, 2018