Herbie’s Blue Note debut features the incomparable horn duo of Freddie Hubbard and Dexter Gordon (both at their creative peaks), blowing out Hancock’s angular, bluesy tunes with passion and finesse.
The album kicks off with the classic «Watermelon Man»; the songs are largely uptempo hard-bop until closing with the sparkling, late-night ballad «Alone and I.» The pianist’s forays into experimentation are displayed in the strange rhythm section solos and the lack of thematic resolution on «The Maze» or the 32-bar broken phrasing on «Three Bags Full.»
The sound is pure early-’60s Rudy Van Gelder: muted piano, in-your-face horns and rhythm section in your living room.
«When I listened to the Audio Wave XRCD release of [AWMXR0008] Lee Morgan – Tomcat I was awestruck. My conclusion was that rather than comparing digital to analog, a more logical conclusion was that the entire digital vs. analog debate becomes irrelevant when listening to a recording that is so far superior to anything that has come before it. My analog setup costs six times what my digital one does, but given the same Blue Note title on LP or XRCD I’d choose the XRCD each time. I question the motive of any writer who claims that there is an LP re-issue that equals the sound you all are achieving.
«I recently purchased three more Audio Wave Blue Note titles and the sound on each of them is really stunning. The clarity (without any brightness), dynamics, instrumental timbres and subtlety that I hear in these performances is amazing. You can really hear the emotion and intent of the performers in a way I have not experienced with my Blue Note records before, be it an original pressing, RVG remaster or one of the 45 rpm re- issues from other labels. When playing [AWMXR0010] Horace Silver- Cape Verdean Blues over the weekend, my mom (who was visiting from out of town) and daughter actually came in the room and started dancing around. It’s magic on a silver disc.
«I hope you will have the opportunity to visit other back catalogs or more Blue Note titles with wizard Alan Yoshida at the helm. I have a new appreciation for the importance of mastering. Thanks for the great music.» – Steven Frost, Elusive Disc Customer
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I recommend these highly. If you want the best digital versions of these great Blue Note albums, grab these. In my opinion they are the best that have ever been done and probably the best that ever will be. They can’t stay in print forever so don’t delay!
Blue Note has never sounded this good on CD before – these are the first digital Blue Notes that come close to the sound of vinyl. And the packaging is outstanding. I love the high quality glossy covers, and the insert booklets are the first effort I’ve seen to fit high quality photography into such a small package. Keep up the good work!
Astute listeners know that the very first Blue Note CD issues are sonically superior to the more recent RVG remasters. Well, these XRCD24s absolutely crush them both, displaying high-frequency air, midrange presence, and bottom-end definition and weight missing on earlier CDs and many LPs as well.
Compared to the 45 r.p.m. vinyl, the LPs still have a slight edge in smoothness and liquidity, but thanks to the XRCD process and the care that was taken transferring these albums directly from the original analog masters, these CD’s have to be approaching the limit of what the compact disc is capable of resolving. Instrument timbre is stunningly real, and the amount of air and decay present on these recordings will make the uninitiated swear that there is a record playing on a turntable somewhere. I’ve never heard this music sound this good in any digital format.
The quality is next to none and as far the sound goes they are absolutely beautifully recorded, the timing is perfect and the clarity of the instruments is spot on, I will treasure these CDs. I am eagerly awaiting the rest of the collection.
The sound is absolutely stunning and natural and represents digital at its best. The space around instruments and decay times are reminiscent of live acoustic performances. The mini-hardcover book format packaging is exceptional with great photography and legible liner notes. Truly well done and keep them coming.
a well done XRCD… It’s a sound that comes about as close to analog excellence as we’ve heard from any digital format… These discs are open, dynamically free, tonally natural… the bass is textured, melodic, and explosive when a drummer lets loose… they may not quite equal the breathtaking sonics of the vinyl discs in transparency, immediacy, and ultimate dynamic pop, [but] they come very close. So close, in fact… I was prepared to get up and flip the LP to Side Two – except I wasn’t listening to an LP but to a Yoshida-mastered XRCD.
- XRCD24 is Compatible with ALL CD PLAYERS!
- Mastered & Produced by Alan Yoshida & Joe Harley from the Original Rudy Van Gelder Blue Note 2-Track Analog Tapes
- Highest Quality Analog-to-Digital Transfers from Tape to CD
- Deluxe Packaging with Hi-Resolution Black & White Session Photos by Francis Wolff
- Includes Original Album Liner Notes
- Watermelon Man
- Three Bags Full
- Empty Pockets
- The Maze
- Alone and I
- Watermelon Man (Alternate Take)
- Three Bags Full (Alternate Take)
- Empty Pockets (Alternate Take)