Regular readers will be aware that I write about modern jazz, much on CD, that has found its way into my music collection. Delivering a point of view on the music is my goal and I don’t worry too much that I am not normally writing about an early pressing on vinyl.
That’s not to suggest that I don’t appreciate a great vinyl copy of a set and there are some classics that I know I will love and thus will seek to obtain. Via the excellent London Jazz Collector site I learned of high quality modern pressings of classic albums and what follows is a reply from me on that site as part of a huge body of correspondence about modern reissues and obtaining sonically satisfying copies of hard to obtain originals without paying high prices.
My first order from Music Matters arrived from California, mid-week. The service was excellent and I’m delighted with my new pristine 33 1/3 copies of Blue Train and Cool Struttin’. They sound superb on my upgraded system and I intend to buy more of their reissues. Having attended a shootout between an Analogue productions and white label pressing of Brilliant Corners last weekend, I can now appreciate that the treble on some original pressings of some discs may sound more ‘brittle’ and that some of the low end bass may be compressed or absent. I am perhaps fortunate to prefer the fuller sound of the modern re-masters over the authenticity of a shrill original, where that is the case (but I know I may be waving a red rag amongst some of the bulls here).
In relation to collecting music to play, rather than collecting objects of value, simply to own, the MM reissues offer me an ideal upgrade path. If a recording is not available other than in a less sonically pleasing version, I will obtain that copy and hope, perhaps, to upgrade in the future unless something else uses up my disposable money. Back in the olden days in the North of England, the only way to get hold of some great Northern Soul singles was to buy ‘pressings’ (essentially greatly inferior bootleg copies of originals). I’ve still got quite a few and although I know they are not quite the real thing, I still treasure them but have no desire to upgrade. In the case of some Jazz reissues we get the dual benefit of great sound, packaged with great care at a fraction of the probable cost of a scratchy dog-earred copy of early pressing obtained via the collectors market.
But each to their own path, provided it actually involves listening to and engaging with the music.
I’m aware that some settle for nothing less than original first pressings, often preferably in mono. However, their pockets are likely to be far better lined than my own. For the time being it will be MM and similar pressings for me when I’m looking for a vinyl edition.