THIS ISSUE: Is this UHQR release from Analogue Productions the best Kind of Blue ever?
Does the world need another audiophile reissue of Kind of Blue? This was the obvious question to ask upon news that Chad Kassem’s Analogue Productions was joining the party. The album’s arrival in the mail (yes, of course, I bought one) signaled that something special might be happening: the classy hard-box slipcase with the wooden dowel spine, the Stoughton tip-on gatefold jacket graced with well-reproduced session photos, a handsome booklet, and, finally, the LP: a 200gm UHQR pressing on off-white Clarity vinyl.
Does the package justify its lavishness? Is it worth the $100 price tag? Most importantly, how does it sound?
Little need be said about this Miles Davis 1959 masterpiece. It’s the bestselling jazz album ever, arguably the best jazz album, and the culmination of Miles’s experiments with modal jazz (structured on scales rather than chords). It’s a send-off, too, as Kind of Blue is the only studio album made by this entire band (Miles, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb); the members soon moved on, as did Miles’s music. There’s a purity to this music, which is almost completely improvised: Four of its five tracks are unedited first takes.
Finally, as recorded in Columbia’s spacious (and long ago demolished) 30th Street Studio by Fred Plaut (one of the greats but unsung, because Columbia never listed engineers on its credits), it sounds as lifelike as almost any Rudy Van Gelder Blue Note.
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