The late pianist Bill Evans may be the most reissued jazz musician in the catalogs of audiophile record labels. There are reasons for that: He played standards, mainly ballads (many audiophiles shun the avant-garde), almost never in groups larger than trios (stereo systems often do best with small-scale ensembles). Whether by design or chance, his best recordings were miked by superb engineers. Perhaps because of that, proprietors of high-end labels have cherished Evans’s music with heightened passion.
Chad Kassem’s Analogue Productions has reissued most of Evans’s albums, some more than once. The pièce de résistance is Riverside Recordings, a limited-edition boxed set of all 11 albums Evans made from 1956–62, each mastered at 45rpm and spread out on two slabs of 200gm virgin vinyl—22 slabs in all. The highlights of that set are the two masterpieces from 1961, Waltz for Debby and Sunday at the Village Vanguard, both recorded live at that New York jazz club with Paul Motian on drums and Scott LaFaro on bass. Ten days later, LaFaro, one of the most innovative bassists ever, died in a car accident at the age of 25. Evans’s subsequent four albums for Riverside have moments of greatness, but they’re a mixed bag.
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The magnificent eight
The Story of the Grateful Dead, a 14-LP, 8-album collection of Grateful Dead recordings with booklet and deluxe packaging, from Vinyl Me, Please (VMP-A006, 2020), is intended as a curated sampling of the high points in the Dead’s extensive catalog. The first seven albums were cut from analog tape, while Without a Net comes from the original digital master. The sound is breathtaking.
T+A Solitaire P headphones and HA 200 DACheadphone amplifier
What I categorize as mainstream, dealer-based, fancy-pants stream-ers and big-speakers audio is actually only the gold-plated tip of a gigantic asteroid-like monolith that extends (underground) from New York to Hong Kong, from the Arctic Circle to Antarctica. This immense audio-social mass is mostly invisible to the Madison Avenue mainstream, but simple Google searches expose millions of proletarian audio-gear constructers (DIY’ers) working in shops, basements, and garages, scratch-building everything from turntables to tonearms to phono cartridges, to capacitors and vacuum tubes, to amplifiers, headphones, ribbon and electrostatic speakers.
MAKE MORE NOISE!
The title of this set—4 CDs and a book—comes from British suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst’s call to arms for women to fight for their rights: “You have to make more noise than anybody else,” said Pankhurst, who died in 1928.
EDITOR’S PICK - RECORDING OF THE MONTH
Landscape into music
It says something about the power of music that some individuals fading into dementia can still recognize the music they knew earlier in their lives. Not to denigrate new music, or music one hasn’t heard before, but our mental jukeboxes award top chart numbers to music that we have lived with over time. Those DJs making their playlists in our brain are the toughest of critics. They don’t care what anyone else might think, “Close to You” is staying in the rotation. Music and memory are linked.
Some great new reissues
For jazz fans, a new batch of releases in Blue Note’s Tone Poet series—vinyl reissues remastered with care and cut from the original analog tapes—is the reason for celebration.
PS Audio Stellar M1200
MONOBLOCK POWER AMPLIFIER
Marantz Model 30
KEF LS50 Meta LOUDSPEAKER
Into Max Evans's Hi Lo Country
Hit the road and discover the historic and mystic lands of New Mexico’s legendary author.
A Soldier's Vision
He lay wounded in the Iraqi desert, ready to accept his death. Then he saw and heard his future
GOLD CUP SOUTHWEST
When you roll into the local Quiktrip and one of Tucson’s finest looks at your shirt and asks if you know Corben Sharrah, you can only be in one city in America. Often coined as the loudest city in BMX, it doesn’t matter if there is a single fan or a gaggle of Tucsonans, they know how to bring the energy.
THE CONFOUNDING INSISTENCE ON INNOCENCE
TEN YEARS AFTER HER DEBUT STORY COLLECTION, BEFORE YOU SUFFOCATE YOUR OWN FOOL SELF, MARKED HER ARRIVAL AS A BOLD NEW VOICE IN AMERICAN SHORT FICTION, DANIELLE EVANS RETURNS WITH HER SECOND, THE OFFICE OF HISTORICAL CORRECTIONS, A TIMELY RECKONING WITH, AMONG OTHER THINGS, AMERICA’S HISTORY OF RACIALIZED VIOLENCE.
How DAYS’s Judi Evans Is Triumphing Over Tragedy
Twistin' the Years Away
A Very Special Tax Break
When a Detroit man heard a woman was about to lose her house, he opened his heart—and his wallet
DAYS: “STEVE” ENLISTS KAYLA'S HELP
Run To You: Kayla (Evans) is there for “Steve” (Stephen Nichols) in his time of need.
REVAMPED HEAVY DUTIES AND MIDSIZERS SQUEEZE OUT HALF-TONS AT TRUCK OF THE YEAR
Max Evans In Hollywood
At 93 years old, the award-winning New Mexico author is reflective on the movie business, actors, directors and his legendary friendship with Sam Peckinpah.