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Reviews: Bill Evans Trio: Sunday At The Village Vanguard

Reviews: 6

Review by JW May 22, 2003 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Most of the APO analog to DSD conversions are great, but this one is probably the best from a sonic perspective. And if you like jazz trio's with articulate bass playing and a clear and purposeful piano technique, then you are in for a treat. This is a live recording set at the New York Village Vanguard jazz club with accompanying audience 'participation', though that never distracts. The Stereo separation is rather absolute left/right, with the piano in the right speaker and the rest in the left. There is virtually no center image.

It is said that the interaction with his rhythmn section and the prominent place he gives them is a hallmark of the Bill Evans Trio. The bass of Scott LaFaro gets the same attention here as Bill Evans' piano. Every song is rich in texture and communicates the enormous skills of each of the players. There are many tempo changes and the playing just demands your attention. This is not one for background music, it's far too interesting for that.

Unfortunately LaFaro died in a car accident ten days after this recording - one of the reasons for featuring him so prominently here. A second album was cut of this session. So if you want to re-live that afternoon on June 25, 1961, you have no choice to buy 'Waltz For Debbie' as well - some choice :-)

Jw

PS: the following review contains some more info on LaFaro:
http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&uid=MISS70305152037&sql=Amt8ibks9hakz

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Review by willyevans October 18, 2003 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is the best sounding this classic recording has ever sounded (except for the 2 LP 45RPM version that Analogue Productions has out now). In all honesty I have never heard this live recording sound bad. However, this SACD is by far the best this recording has sounded in a digital format. The CD layer is also a vast improvement over the older CD version as well.

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Review by vonwegen November 4, 2003 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Truly a lovely sounding recording. This stereo recording (piano on the right, acoustic bass and drums on the left) really feels like you're in the club itself, witnessing a live performance. During Alice In Wonderland you can hear glasses clink together and spare change hit the bar.

None of this detracts from the performances, which are top-notch. I had previously only heard Bill Evans' playing on Kind Of Blue, where his piano really blended with Miles's sestet rather than stood out. Here, you really can appreciate the beauty of his phrasing - Evans had a very distinctive style that deserved to be spotlighted. And the way he, bassist Scott LaFaro & drummer Paul Motian improvise together is phenomenal.

While a surround sound mix would have been nice to have, I have to give Analogue Productions 5 stars for this, espeically since they corrected the song sequencing irritations of earlier CD releases & put the bonus tracks at the end, which is where they belonged in the 1st place.

There are a few tape drop-outs here & there, but fortunately they mostly happen during the audience applause between tracks.

This SACD is pricy, listing at around $25, which is a lot when you consider that redbook CDs of this go for under $10, but the care put into this SACD version's release makes this an essential purchase.

vonwegen

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Review by DeSelby June 1, 2005 (1 of 3 found this review helpful)
Sonics:
very good sound

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Review by soundguy966 November 15, 2006 (1 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I've had this SACD for almost a year now. The entire time I've been convincing myself that this is the best version of "Sunday..." available digitally. How could it not be? "Doug Sax mastered this recording from the original analog tapes using the Mastering Lab's proprietary all-tube electronics until the final digital conversion. He used the latest third-generation Analog-to-DSD converters by Ed Meitner/EMM Labs to transfer the music to the SACD layer." Surely there could be nothing better, short of listening to the master tapes themselves.

Except for, I recently realized, that I can't stand listening to this disc. The music is awesome, Scott LeFaro's performance in particular is an absolute "must hear" for fans of the upright bass; and the sound is gorgeous, the high-resolution works wonders with the acoustic instruments natural timbre.

It's the mix I can't stand.

Evans and LeFaro are hard-panned so far to the right and left (respectively) that it practically gives me a headache. I would have described the "original" OJC release and the Riverside 20-bit remaster as hard-panned, but they bring quite a bit of music towards the center compared to this, and it's easy to hear why...either of those are eminently more listenable than Analogue Productions' monstrosity. Having this on produces something of an "uneasy" feeling with me (and no my speakers are no wired out of phase) that is noticably unpleasant, even with such great music.

Perhaps Sax got the technical details right, but in the aesthetic aspects of the remaster, this is a miserable failure.

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Review by GMONEY August 12, 2013 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   
One of the finest sounding Jazz SACDs in my collection. Expensive now (cira 2013), but it is a must have SACD. At first I thought there was a pressing error/glitch on one track, but I double checked the OJC Red Book and it is there as well. Every system update reveals more information from this stunning SACD. It will hurt when you shell out the bucks for it today unless you can get a good deal, but man is it so worth it! Highest recommendation.

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