Music Matters 45s: The First Word
I've seen the future, and you'll see it too if
you go to CES in a couple of months. No, I'm not referring to some new digital goody, but
what I predict will be the story for analog-loving audiophiles. The initial
half-dozen Music Matters
Blue Note reissues will be available by CES, all remastered with the utmost care and
pressed as 45s on 180-gram vinyl. The first six titles are among the most famous from Blue
Note: Art Blakey's The Big Beat, Horace Parlan's Speakin' My Piece and Us
Three, Kenny Drew's Undercurrent, Lou Donaldson's LD+3, and Hank
Mobley's Soul Station.
I received test pressings of each, along with the
jacket for The Big Beat, and I can report that everything lives up to advanced
billing. The very first test pressings identified a substandard batch of vinyl pellets
that produced higher-than-expected noise. They've been jettisoned. The noise was low to my
ears, but it's nonexistent now. The gatefold packaging is glossy and gorgeous, trumping
the original covers by the inclusion of original session photos.
What about the sound? I've heard a few Blue Note
originals and admired the very immediate presentation. The Music Matters 45s have all
immediacy and add a free-flowing naturalness that is surprising at first but very easy to
get used to. The only blemish is one that can't be avoided: each side holds only about ten
minutes of music. Hey, the highest fidelity has always come at some sort of price.
Speaking of price, $49.95 is the one set for each
two-LP set. There will eventually be 63 Music Matters reissues, but the availability of
the first batch is a future that can't get here fast enough. Expect to see them for sale
within the next couple of weeks.