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Discussion: Miles Davis: Take Off (The Complete Blue Note Albums)

Posts: 25
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Post by undertone May 16, 2015 (1 of 25)
This release is a case study in divergent sound interpretations.

From the Blu-Ray booklet liner notes: "Sourced from high-resolution masters created by Bernie Grundman."

Note: "created", not "transferred" which suggests that the transfers from analog tape sources already existed at the time this project commenced. If so, were they the same 24-bit digital transfers remastered by Rudy Van Gelder in 2001 for the RVG Edition CDs? If Grundman was provided with those same masters, then the radical difference in sonic presentation between the CDs and the new Blu-Ray reflects a night-and-day contrast in remastering esthetics.

In an A/B comparison on my system:

The RVG CDs appear compressed, boosted in the bass and lower middle frequencies, and substantially rolled off at the high end. Drums are positioned well behind the piano, bass and horns.

The Grundman Blu-Ray reveals extended highs and flatter bass response. Gil Coggins' piano and J.J. Johnson's trombone sound natural, not exaggerated. Kenny Clarke's snare drum has snap and the cymbals are much more forward in the room. Miles Davis' open trumpet has clarity and sharp focus.

I respect Bernie Grundman's outstanding work on the recent remaster of Charlie Mingus: Tijuana Moods, and many LP titles for the Blue Note 75 series. "Take Off" may closely represent what the transfers sounded like before Van Gelder warmed them up for the 2001 CD releases, but this is just speculation. Blue Note has not been forthcoming with detailed mastering information.

Most of the tracks included in this compilation were recorded in 1952 and 1953 by engineer Doug Hawkins at WOR in New York City. The March 1954 quartet session (originally released on a 10" LP as Miles Davis Vol. 3) was recorded at RVG's studio in Hackensack, NJ.

Edit: The first six tracks on the Blu-Ray do not conform to the order indicated in the liner notes. The actual track order:

1. Dear Old Stockholm
2. Woody 'N You
3. Yesterdays
4. Chance It
5. Donna
6. How Deep is the Ocean

Post by rammiepie May 16, 2015 (2 of 25)
Thanks for the mini review, undertone. Just placed my order.

BTW, I was NEVER a fan of Rudy Van Gelder's recording methods. The man did NOT know how to properly record a piano.

IMHO some essential recordings although not among Davis' finest output. That would certainly come later.

Three albums on one BD~A....Young Man With A Horn, Miles Davis Vols I & II......Perhaps Universal is finally getting the message concerning the format's uber capacity!

Post by Claude May 17, 2015 (3 of 25)
The HDtracks downloads of those albums sound great. The RVG CDs are no comparision.

As usual, the BD-A is 24/96 only, while the HDtracks version are also available in 24/192, which is the resolution used for the transfer.

Post by rammiepie May 17, 2015 (4 of 25)
Claude said:

The HDtracks downloads of those albums sound great. The RVG CDs are no comparision.

As usual, the BD-A is 24/96 only, while the HDtracks version are also available in 24/192, which is the resolution used for the transfer.

I would think the diffrerence in resolution between 24/96 and 24/192 would be negligible, Claude, especially considering the age of the original analogue masters.

One can purchase the BD~A for $25 (3 complete albums/outtakes) whereas the individual HD Tracks albums at 24/192 are $20 each (currently on sale...regularly $25 each) which might also be a consideration. (96/24 are on sale @ $14 each...normally $18)

Am confident Bernie Grundman has done a stellar job in transferring these albums to BD~A.

BTW, I think we're ALL in agreement that the RVG RBCD remasters were subpar!

Additionally, Young Man With A Horn is currently NOT available on HDTracks but IS included on the BD~A, which, in my mind, makes the BD~A THE better deal....by far!

Post by Lute May 17, 2015 (5 of 25)
rammiepie said:
You can count me in.

Dancing through 3 albums straight with Grace Jones: The Disco Years has me pumped up for more of these BD-A discs packed full of hirez music!

Bring 'em on!

Post by rammiepie May 17, 2015 (6 of 25)
Lute said:

You can count me in.

Dancing through 3 albums straight with Grace Jones: The Disco Years has me pumped up for more of these BD-A discs packed full of hirez music!

Bring 'em on!

For a little over $8 per album @ 96/24 resolution.......SUCH a DEAL, Brett.....provided you don't get "hit" with a $50 s/h charge ;-O!

Post by Lute May 18, 2015 (7 of 25)
rammiepie said:

For a little over $8 per album @ 96/24 resolution.......SUCH a DEAL, Brett.....provided you don't get "hit" with a $50 s/h charge ;-O!

A Deal is right! Grace Jones Disco even came with a nice booklet.

I should be able to get this one locally, so... No heavy shipping costs.

Post by rammiepie May 18, 2015 (8 of 25)
Lute said:

A Deal is right! Grace Jones Disco even came with a nice booklet.

I should be able to get this one locally, so... No heavy shipping costs.

I even ordered the SHM~CD of Bryan Adams: Cuts like a Knife with two bonus live cuts.

They're SO polite at CDJapan (via e~mails).

BTW, when you receive the ORG SACD of GRACE play it LOUD. He has the voice of an angel.

Money well $pent, my friend.

Post by Lute May 18, 2015 (9 of 25)
rammiepie said:

I even ordered the SHM~CD of Bryan Adams: Cuts like a Knife with two bonus live cuts.

They're SO polite at CDJapan (via e~mails).

BTW, when you receive the ORG SACD of GRACE play it LOUD. He has the voice of an angel.

Money well $pent, my friend.

Will do! I've been listening to Monk's Dream constantly.

I'm looking forward to all those other SACDs from (both) ORGs. And I just got a stack of used Jazz SACDs here at bargain bin prices, so I'm still smiling. :)

Don't hit me, but I still don't have the Bryan Adams bluray. (;^_^A
I know it has an excellent surround mix and all. But every time I am about to buy it, I find a whole bunch of other audio delights. LOL!

Post by rammiepie May 18, 2015 (10 of 25)
MANY thanks to undertone for his positively excellent review of the Miles Davis Blue Note BD~A "Take Off." Extremely informative and I, for one, cannot wait for this disc to grace my system.

Since there is quite a disparity in SQ, as noted by undertone, between this reissue and the RVG RBCDs, I wonder if it's 'possible' that Bernie Grundman actually "created" these new masters from the original analogue tapes versus the existing 192/24 masters used for both HDTracks and the RVG redbooks?

We'll probably never receive clarification on this issue but it's great to know that Grundman, who has always been a solid mastering engineer, was at the helm in bringing Davis' Blue Note reissues to fruition.

/showreviews/10624#11250

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