Blue Note Jazz Vinyl

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There’s been lot’s of talk in the media about the resurgence of analogue ‘things’ versus digital ‘things’ lately.

Actual books versus digital books, vinyl records versus streamed music, and even film versus digital photography.

I know of atleast one wedding photographer who shoots a roll or two of film at his weddings, often at the request of clients, who just love the look of film.

When I post process my images nine times out of ten I’ll run them through Alien Skin’s Exposure 7, to give them a subtle film look.

There are couple of books out explaining why we like analogue, but I won’t rehash what we already know.

Analogue just feels right. Human. Imperfect. Organic.

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I came by these babies on e-bay.

Both original, early, fist pressing Blue Note Jazz records.

Hugely collectible now, these guys aren’t cheap, and anything less than a mint condition example is a hit and miss proposition.

The record players of the 50’s and early 60’s had heavy tone arms and crude needles which wreaked havoc, making the ones that survived even more rare and hard to find.

What makes these records so cool other than their historic value has to do with the way vinyl used to be recorded, produced and pressed.

They’re in mono rather than stereo for a start, which is as analogue as it gets.

The Blue Note groups in the 50’s and 60’s were recorded ‘live in the studio’ and the instrumentation is largely acoustic.

The Engineer on most of these dates, Rudy Van Gelder, was able to get a ‘sound’ that few could match.

The vinyl was heavier than todays, so the grooves were deeper, and an early pressing meant the stamper used to press the grooves was newer.

First pressings are just one generation removed from the Master Tapes.

What does all that do for the sound?

Well you’d have to hear it.

The sound is forward, with more space between the instruments.

Cymbals fizz, bass is warm and not overblown. Horns are bright, and the detail is crazy good.

And yes, there’s the odd pop and a little crackle here and there.

Music at it’s most engaging save for a live performance.

That elusive sound that brings the band into the room.

And now I’m doing it myself.

Writing about something that really has to be heard.

I’m glad these things are still around, even though the really desirable examples are way out of my price range 🙂

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