Friday, September 3, 2010

Michael Fremer Album Review

And you thought you heard it all?

John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (reissue)
John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman
Impulse/ORG A-40 2 180g 45rpm LPs
Produced by: Bob Thiele
Engineered by: Rudy Van Gelder
Mixed by: Rudy Van Gelder
Mastered by: Bernie Grundman



Classic Collaboration Reaches New Sonic Heights
by Michael Fremer
September 01, 2010

If you didn’t know who was playing behind the honey-voiced Hartman on “They Say It’s Wonderful,” the opening track of this short, thirty one minute set, you’d probably never guess it was John Coltrane or that Coltrane asked Hartman to collaborate with him and his classic quartet on this mellow, relaxed and relaxing album, all of which was recorded April 7th, 1963.

Well, you’d probably figure out it was Coltrane when he finally solos, but for the most part he stays comfortably in the background and when he steps up to the mike, Hartman’s soothing vibe overtakes him, leading to sublimely graceful lines at the upper registers of his tenor.

It was Coltrane’s only lead turn recording with a vocalist. Hartman, more of a pop crooner than a jazz singer, was apparently hesitant to collaborate with Coltrane, though the two had briefly been in Dizzy Gillespie’s band during the late 1940’s. After seeing the quartet at Birdland, Hartman went for it and after hours at the club they chose and worked out all but one of the tunes.

Everyone lays back: McCoy Tyner’s lines are soft and flowing, Elvin Jones’s brushes softly caress the cymbals and Jimmy Garrison lays back too adding a subtle foundation. This is one hell of a lounge act—had it played one.

Only during the instrumental break on Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life” do the quartet’s familiar, muscular musical contours show themselves. It’s the set’s highlight, though there are no low points on this album that quickly became a best-seller (for a jazz album at the time) upon its release.

Rudy Van Gelder’s recording is sympathetic to the musical setting, with Hartman center stage, looming large and just kissed with reverb. Even Tyner’s piano sounds clean and well-textured, while Coltrane and Jones share a channel, with the tenor sax upfront and the drums pushed appropriately behind.

The ORG satiny paper over cardboard packaging is up to their usual high standards and this classic has never sounded better—and I compared it to my orange/black original.

Should you not wish to spend big bucks for the ORG and/or if getting up more times than you do during the night to pee just to hear this short album doesn’t appeal to you, consider the less costly Speakers Corner 33 1/3 reissue. It’s equally well pressed and mastered but from a tape copy and the drop to 33 1/3 takes a bit of a sonic toll particularly in terms of top end immediacy, but you’ll get to sit longer and left over cash to apply another worthwhile reissue.

That said, if you love this album, you won’t regret the extra expenditure or the four times up and down. Hell, if that really bothers you just get the CD and suffer in comfort!

Thanks to Michael over at  for the exclusive rights to reprint this material.

Copyright © 2008 & Michael Fremer - All rights reserved Reprinted by Permission

Vinyl Doing Well North Of The Border

I want to thank for allowing me the exclusive right to reprint this interesting story.  I love to hear about the virtues of vinyl!

The beat goes on in Durham Region

Vinyl records, once viewed as obsolete, now enjoying a renaissance

Al Rivett and Mike Ruta

The report of my death was an exaggeration. Mark Twain.

OSHAWA -- Longtime Oshawa record dealer Michael Star believed the death knell of the vinyl record was at hand three years ago.

He harks back to 2007, when it seemed almost inevitable the LP (short for long-playing records) was headed for the scrap bin, joining the likes of the long-obsolete eight-track. That year, Mr. Star said, only about 1,500 titles were put out by music companies on vinyl as the corporations continued to reel from sliding compact disc sales and digital downloads, much of which were of the illegal, free variety.

Instead of the death of vinyl, however, the exact opposite transpired.

Steady growth in pressings and sales occurred over the ensuing three years, with Mr. Star noting more than 10,000 titles have been released in the LP format so far this year.

Surprised? Even for the most die-hard of vinyl enthusiasts, it was an astonishing turnaround.

"That shocks me. I can't believe they're making so many," said Mr. Star, whose Star Records has been a fixture in Oshawa for the past 36 years. "I didn't think it would come back, but they're putting them out full blast now.

"I thought in the late 1990s and the early 2000s (the record companies) were going to kill it off, but they didn't for some reason. It just blows me away how many new albums are coming out (on vinyl) each week."

And, it's not just indy bands that have led vinyl's resurgence by putting out their music in the format, said Mr. Star. The super-groups -- from Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, The Doors and The Rolling Stones -- are re-mastering and re-issuing their back catalogues on vinyl.

Many of today's more high-profile bands -- from Them Crooked Vultures to The Foo Fighters -- have also joined the fray and are releasing their latest musical offerings on vinyl. Both groups' albums, said Mr. Star, are among his best sellers.

Why has vinyl records come back so strongly in bucking the trend of digital downloads and compact discs?

Mr. Star said what's old is definitely new again with the music-buying public. The vinyl loyalists have definitely kept the format from disappearing and, now, even the younger generation are buying into vinyl's warm sound.

"I think there are a lot of people who are dedicated to buying vinyl albums and there's the love of collecting certain artists on vinyl. If there's 10 albums by Neil Young (on vinyl), they want to keep buying them."


Connor Steele definitely isn't your typical vinyl record collector. He doesn't fit the profile of someone who's a mature adult who has grown up collecting vinyl. He's only 12.

"I like to collect LPs because they're old and they have a lot of meaning to me," said the Brooklin resident, who was browsing over the selection at Star Records with his father one summer afternoon.

"I can keep them forever and I can pass them on to my children. Instead of downloading music, this is the real thing; the quality is better."

Currently, he's got more than 200 LPs and upwards of 450 12-inch singles, mostly in the pop musical genre. His favourite musician is the late Michael Jackson, although he also owns a number of R and B and soul albums.

He's happy vinyl is making a strong comeback among music aficionados.

"I think the LP should be popular again," he said. "For my dad, it brings back a lot of memories looking through his albums."


Whitby resident and Lighthouse singer Dan Clancy has around 1,000 albums and says vinyl's popularity is on the upswing.

"There's a resurgence of vinyl in the last three or four years and a lot of the new bands are releasing albums on vinyl first," he says.

Clancy, long before his Lighthouse days, got his first record in one of those pay-a-penny-and-get-your-first-10-albums deals. Ironically, it was Lighthouse's One Fine Morning and for some strange reason he received two copies.

While nostalgia, clinging to the past, might account for the renewed interest in vinyl, at least for older rockers, it doesn't explain why Clancy's son, Devin, 19, a musician himself, has a turntable and records.

"I just think that the state the business is in right now has opened up so many opportunities for musicians," Clancy says. "Everybody's listening to everything."

He notes that "there's a newfound appreciation for the artwork" on albums.

Finally, Clancy says in the case of himself and his son, it's neat to be able to share music he grew up with, and the medium in which it was presented is a major part of the experience.


Through the ups and downs of the music retail business, Mr. Star has stayed true to vinyl. He's a throwback, a rebel, with his Oshawa store's front door emblazoned with the Confederate flag.

"I still enjoy music and I have a love for vinyl," he said matter-of-factly. "Once they stop buying music and I stop enjoying music, it will be over. That's just the way it is."

SOURCE:   Copyright Metroland 2010 Reprinted by Permission

Music News & Notes

Rotting Christ to Play in North America In Spring 2011

Greek black metal legends Rotting Christ are booked to play the first date of their upcoming spring tour in North America. The band will be playing in Chicago, Illinois on March 19th, two years after their previous tour of the North American continent.

Tour support will come form Lightning Swords of Death. No statement from the band or label has been made as of yet, not have other dates been announced as of this time although an official announcement is expected shortly.

I smell controversary.......


Kings of Leon reveal new album cover art and tracklist

Kings of Leon have a new album being released on October 19th called 'Come Around Sundown.' “Radioactive” has been announced as the first single and will be released September 13th.   Fans who pre-order the record will receive "Radioactive" immediately as a free download. The album will be available in two configurations- standard as well as a deluxe version that will include bonus tracks. Fans who pre-order the record will receive "Radioactive" immediately as a free download. The album will be available in two configurations- standard as well as a deluxe version that will include bonus tracks.

Come Around Sundown tracklist:

1 The End
2 Radioactive
3 Pyro
4 Mary
5 The Face
6 The Immortals
7 Back Down South
8 Beach Side
9 No Money
10 Pony Up
11 Birthday
12 Mi Amigo
13 Pickup Truck


Eagles Announce Fall North American Tour

The Eagles have recently announced a small set of new fall tour dates running for most of the month of October. Some say that even though their shows have the some of the highest ticket prices in the industry, they are doing their fans a favor by selling seats through All-In Ticketing, which does not add any fees or surcharges to the ticket prices like most other concert vendors.

The dates for the fall North American tour:

•10/01 - Reno, NV - Reno Events Center
•10/02 - Oakland, CA - Oracle Arena
•10/05 - Lubbock, TX - United Spirit Arena
•10/07 - Orlando, FL - Amway Arena
•10/08 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL - BankAtlantic Center
•10/10 - Chicago, IL - Soldier Field
•10/12 - Indianapolis, IN - Conseco Fieldhouse
•10/15 - Atlanta, GA - Piedmont Park
•10/16 - Louisville, KY - KFC Yum Center
•10/19 - Pittsburgh, PA - Consol Energy Center
•10/20 - Toledo, OH - Huntington Center
•10/22 - University Park, PA - Bryce Jordan Center, Penn State
•10/24 - Des Moines, IA - Wells Fargo Center

The group will also be touring Australia in December.


TANK: 'War Machine' Artwork Revealed

Legendary British power metal mercenaries TANK — featuring Mick Tucker and Cliff Evans on guitar alongside three new recruits, ex-RAINBOW/YNGWIE MALMSTEEN frontman Doogie White, ex-BRUCE DICKINSON bassist Chris Dale and ex-ZODIAC MINDWARP drummer Dave "Grav" Cavill — are set to release their new album, 'War Machine,' on October 25 in Europe via Metal Mind Productions and on December 7 in the US (through MVD). The production was handled by Pedro Ferreira (THE DARKNESS, THERAPY?, MEAT LOAF) and the bulk of the recording was done at Pedrock Studios in London. Drums were laid down by Tony Newton at Steve Harris' (IRON MAIDEN) Barnyard Studios.

"War Machine" will be released in four different versions: as a jewel case CD, a limited-edition digipak CD including two bonus tracks and LP with one bonus track. The Japanese edition of the album will include two exclusive bonus tracks which won't be available elsewhere.


HELLOWEEN: '7 Sinners' Artwork Unveiled

German power metal band HELLOWEEN will release their new album, '7 Sinners,' in late October. The CD was recorded at singer Andi Deris' Mi Sueno Studios in Tenerife, Spain. The band wrote more than 20 songs and selected the best ideas with longtime producer Charlie Bauerfeind.

HELLOWEEN's 25th-anniversary album, "Unarmed - Best Of 25th Anniversary", was released in North America on March 30 via The End Records, under exclusive license from Sony Music Entertainment Germany.

"Unarmed - Best Of 25th Anniversary" was made available in Europe on January 29. The artwork was once again created by Martin Haeusler, who had previously worked with HELLOWEEN on the "The Legacy" and the "Gambling With The Devil" releases.

"Unarmed" was released in a limited-edition version with a very special digipack, including a 30-minute making-of DVD, containing interviews and studio footage. It was also made available as a double vinyl.