SH Spotlight Distortion free trumpets in the 20s-40s. But BLUE NOTE? WHAT HAPPENED? RVG Evil Neumann mics?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Feb 9, 2017.

  1. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Boy, there's plenty to criticize in some of these sonic decisions, but the music tends to be freakin great, made by great, creative solos perusing original visions like Wayne Shorter and Andrew Hill and Sam Rivers and John Coltrane and Miles Davis and Joe Henderson and Art Blakey and Tony Williams etc. I mean, I know we all have different tastes but jeez louise, we all have ears too. There are also some RVG recordings that have very wide soundstages, like Blues & the Abstract Truth. And what the heck is "Blue Note period" jazz, Blue Note recorded everything from Sidney Bechet to Cecil Taylor over a period of decades, there's no Blue Note style or period of music. I know a lot of people associate the label with hard bop and some of the kind of soul jazz organ and guitar dates, but at the same time Lion was recording unique a talents like Herbie Nichols and Andrew Hill and Wayne Shorter, guys persuing something individual and not really part of a trend or schoo., and little of it is bebop, a lot of it is hard bop, but if Miles Davis' first great quintet and Horace Silver are the epitome of hard bop, I dunno what "shredding" has to do with it. But if the only thing people hear in the earlier music of Charlie Parker or Bud Powell is an empty interest in speed, well, there's a lot they've obviously missed, certain at the very least in the harmony and breath to breath phrasing. I mean, I get Steve's frustration with some (not all) of the sonics, but I hate to see the conversation turning to dumping on the music, much of which is great and all of which was made by fine artists pursuing their craft and in a lot of cases, deep, original visions.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2017
  2. Did he name names? I'm sure a few people here would like to know. ..and if he can't name names then that 'observation' isn't really worth schitt. Maybe 'musos' didn't want to bother with Rudy and Alfred but a whole load of musicians did.
    NaturalD likes this.
  3. Lemon Curry

    Lemon Curry (A) Face In The Crowd

    Mahwah, NJ
    Steve, you off-handedly mentioned RAM here. I had read about phase issues for that album that became apparent when the mix was folded for AM radio play. Allegedly that's why they created the special mono mix that was released to the public a few years ago.

    Do you believe alignment was at the core of that phase issue? Maybe they figured that out in order to get the new mono mix right?

    Curious what you might know behind the scenes on this one!
    Kwai Chang likes this.
  4. Kwai Chang

    Kwai Chang Forum Resident

    Agua Dulce, Ca.
    ...more than 12...
    (many more)
    Thanks,'re a great host!
  5. Kwai Chang

    Kwai Chang Forum Resident

    Agua Dulce, Ca.
    Thanks, Lemon Curry!
    I love your avatar, your name...but, especially your RAM question!
    Did you first read about it in The 910??? (I did...)
    Never mentioned elsewhere.
  6. Michael P

    Michael P Forum Resident

    Parma, Ohio
    I can hear those snare wires on pop records too. Listen to the intro of "My World is Empty Without You" by the Supremes to hear them buzz while the kick drum was the only part of the kit being played at the time.
  7. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Considering how many did, on their dates as leaders, record with RVG :

    Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Horace Silver, Jackie McLean, Eric Dolphy, Lee Morgan, Lee Konitz, Cecil Taylor, Thelonious Monk, Randy Weston, Coleman Hawkins, Freddie Hubbard, Gil Evans, Dexter Gordon, Max Roach, Steve Lacy, McCoy Tyner, Grant Green, Andrew Hill, Jaki Byard, Archie Shepp, Kenny Burrell, Don Cherry, Jimmy Smith, Woody Shaw, Bob James, Grover Washington, Kenny Barron, Cedar Walton, etc...

    It's hard to imagine that "a whole load" of musicians didn't want to work with him.

    Maybe some didn't, and maybe most didn't have all that much choice about where they were going to record (or didn't much care). I mean were there major artists signed to Blue Note or Impulse or Prestige, the labels for which RVG did the bulk of his work, who didn't record at VG studios? Ornette Coleman, he recorded from Blue Note and Impulse in the '60s and after The Emtpy Foxhole, his first Blue Note that was recorded at Van Gelder, all the rest were recorded elsewhere. That maybe is conspicuous. Were there others?
  8. The Beave

    The Beave My Wife Is My Life! And don’t I forget it!

    No, once THAT signal is recorded, It's recorded. You can manipulate It, but you can't change the original signal.
    That's why I've been on this kick on obtaining old Jazz that was recorded and reproduced well on analog-meaning LP's right now.
    I've been concentrating on two collections, Mosaics 'Complete Commodore Collection' and the 'Complete Keynote Collection'.
    The MosIc set is a bit disappointing sound wise. I just expected more from the vinyl, but it still is a good listen.
    The Complete Keynote is a different animal all together. 21 LP's, pressed on the same semi translucent virgin vinyl you can see through when you hold it up to the light-just like the original Mofi pressings, the transfers are excellent. This box was pre-digital noise reduction and there is no evidence that much, if any futzing around was done. So much good Jazz from the Classic 40's era it's not even funny.
    And it's true Mono, which is very important here, some of the fake stereo I've heard is atrocious. A true encyclopedia of Jazz, and I got it off the bay a few weeks ago for $104. Seeing that a Vinyl Mosaic 4 or 5 LP set usually goes for about $150, it was an absolute steal.
    The beave
  9. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    kt66brooklyn and stereoptic like this.
  10. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    kt66brooklyn likes this.
  11. showtaper

    showtaper Concert Hoarding Bastard

    You also had to sell records or you disappeared. Musicians weren't buying enough records to keep a label
    recording you forever........
  12. Forum Resident

    New York
    Blue Note did record Sidney Bechet and other types of pre Bop stuff ,but did seem to stick with Modern and Hard Bop guys once they started putting out lps ,so most of there records are mostly one type of Jazz ,for example they never recorded west coast guys (yes I know Zoot is on a couple records ),or older Swing guys
    McLover likes this.
  13. Bytor Snowdog

    Bytor Snowdog Forum Resident

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    See the above difference?

    Thats simply not true. Izotope RX software repairs/rebuilds clipped wave forms.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Here is a close up of the waveform. Just look at the squaring off (clips) in the first pic, and then the same after running de-clip in the second pic. See how its rounded instead of squared? I am not claiming this procedure can fully restore a distorted recording into one thats as good as if it had been recorded properly. But it certainly is possible to fix some of the damage.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017
    lukpac likes this.
  14. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    I disagree, I don't think Conquistador and The Jody Grind, both recorded by Van Gelder for Blue Note in I think the fall of '66, are the same type of jazz in anything but the broadest sense, or Grant Green's I Want to Hold Your Hand and Sam Rivers' Contours, also recorded in very near proximity by Van Gelder for Blue Note.

  15. The new Steven Wilson re-mix sounds a lot better.
  16. Forum Resident

    New York
    well you got me on that, They did put out stuff that was more "commercial" and more Rock and Funk than Jazz in the late 60's Some of the latter Grant Green stuff is almost dare I say "Smooth Jazz"
  17. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Athens, Tennessee
    Can't fix overload splatter distortion like that. It's baked in. I call these "Jazzy Splatter Platters"
    The Beave likes this.
  18. johnt23

    johnt23 Forum Resident

    Yeah, +1 on this.
    Blakey in particular sounds like fireworks going off from 3 miles away. No concussion or weight, all "pop pop pop".

    McLover likes this.
  19. The Beave

    The Beave My Wife Is My Life! And don’t I forget it!

    That is just fascinating! It's amazing what some of these programs can do.
    Just as I thought that true STEREO couldn't be had from a mono source, but I was wrong, but I never thought there would be technology that would allow one to manipulate an audio signal......VISUALLY. it just boggle my mind.
    I stand corrected. Thank you for the info.
    The beave
    ILovethebassclarinet likes this.
  20. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    No question, a lot of the label's bread and butter was hard bop -- Horace Silver and Art Blakey and Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard, etc -- and "soul jazz" but Alfred Lion was nothing if not a guy who went his own way when he heard something he thought was interesting and unique so he recorded guys like Monk when there was no market for him, or Herbie Nichols or all those records on Andrew Hill that were really in a kind of style of his own, or all those great Sam Rivers and Don Cherry records that no one bought (it seems to me in the mid '60s the label was trying to play catch up on the new jazz and put out the Ornette Golden Circle stuff, and then signed him for new stuff, and Cecil Taylor and Don Cherry: high profile names in "the new thing"). But all through the label's history there was a range of styles and a lot of idiosyncratic players and composers who really didn't fit in a tidy way into any major stylistic trend got really opportunities there.

  21. I'm wracking my brain trying to think of who 'might', just 'might' be on a list like that, and I'm drawing a blank. Maybe Mingus, who I believe had a low opinion of recording studios and did his Candid stuff at Nola Studios, but he did have RVG record his Jazz Portraits for United Artists in 1959.
    After all, how many musicians would turn down paid rehearsal time? Bob Weinstock at Prestige would give guys cash up front for their dates so they could attend to their 'personal problems' if they had any, but from what I understand Blue Note had the most preferential terms as far as payment for sessions was concerned. Ike Quebec was a trusted and well-liked A&R man for the label and from what I've read from those people who were there or close to the action I don't hear anyone screaming that RVG was undermining their artistry with his crappy microphones. Didn't hear a peep out of Thad Jones for those 3 superb sessions of his. Freddie Hubbard is featured in the Blue Note documentary saying how pleased he was to be in New York, making it happen and getting a gig with Blue Note.
    Of course, privately maybe they thought they weren't getting the most from the equipment but if that's the case they kept quiet about it and for obvious and sensible reasons. I have to wonder whether the muso's who turned RVG down weren't the same musos who just weren't sufficiently talented enough to get through the door and make it count. As I said earlier, name some names, otherwise this is nothing more than specious hearsay.

    All I get from some of the less informed posts here is a sense of 'yeah, I knew it all along, a lot of those recordings sucked'.
    Now I'm all for being educated about the shortcomings of recording and how wonderful everything is nowadays. But what happened, happened. None of that music is going to be re-done or fixed ever. Whenever I hear Blue Mitchell solo on 'Peace' from Horace Silver's Blowing The Blows Away I prepare myself for that flubbed note at the start of his solo. That's a primarily musical and technical (not sonic) shortcoming and I often wonder how Mitchell or Silver or Alfred Lion felt about that one flaw in an otherwise gorgeous performance. Well, they didn't redo it, and who's to say if something else would have been lost on a technically superior but less spontaneous subsequent take.
    As listeners we have little say in what ends up on the shelves. I hate being shortchanged as much as the next guy but, love him or hate him, RVG was the conduit through which these musicians connected with us. Now if some folk want to spend their time bemoaning what went down in less enlightened times, and then not on every last blessed piece of vinyl, have at it. You fixate on the distortion and I'll enjoy the music.

    Absolutely. The bassist Bob Cranshaw said that his regular session work for Blue Note fed his kids and paid for his car. Alfred Lion was writing the cheques, not RVG. Pretty sure Bob was happy enough with his tone.
  22. Bytor Snowdog

    Bytor Snowdog Forum Resident

    Not all the artifacts can be fixed, sure. But the clipped waveform can.
  23. JohnO

    JohnO Senior Member

    Washington, DC
    Could you post 10 second clips of that before and after the fix?
  24. The Beave

    The Beave My Wife Is My Life! And don’t I forget it!

    Excellent post.
    The beave
  25. Bytor Snowdog

    Bytor Snowdog Forum Resident

    If Steve H. chimes in and says its ok I will.

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