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Jazz At The Pawnshop, Vol. 1+2

Label: Proprius/Lasting Impression Music, LIM K2HD 028
Details: disc made of 99,9999% silver, reissue
Released: 1976/2009
Sound director: Gert Palmcrantz/Takeshi „Hakkaman” Hakamata
Producer: Jacob Boethius/Winston Ma
Recording place: The Pawnshop (Stampen) Jazz Club, Stockholm, Sweden
Date of recording: Dec 6-7th 1976

Remastering: Takeshi „Hakkaman” Hakamata, Victor Entertainment, Japan, 2 listopada 2007

Format: 2 x K2HD, silver-CD

Text: Wojciech Pacuła
Translation: Marek Dyba

Track list::

Disc 1
1 Introduction 0:38
2 Limehouse Blue (Philip Braham-D.Furber) 9:35
3 I'm Confessin" (Neiburg-Dougherty-Reynolds) 8:07
4 High Life (African Folk Melody, arr.:Bernt Egerbladh) 6:53
5 Struttin'with Some Barbeque (Louis Armstrong) 6:36
6 Jeep's Blues (Duke Ellington-Hodges) 6:47
7 Stuffy (Hawkins) 7:04

Disc 2
1 Lady Be Good (Gershwin) 9:12
2 Here Is That Rainy Day (van Heusen-Burke) 5:20
3 Barbados (Charlie Parker) 8:07
4 How High The Moon (Hamiton-Janes-Dennis) 6:13
5 Take Five (Paul Desmond) 6:57
6 Everything Happens To Me (Warren-James-Dennis) 5:17

Somebody asked me some time ago if we really needed another reissue of “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis. I don't know if “we” need it but I know “I” surely need it. One condition – it must bring something new when it comes to artistic value. One of the most important aspects of composer's or musician's vision is quality of the sound, that allows listener to reach for emotions involved in the recording, to details that make something we call “an event”. That is why I had no doubts that 50th Anniversary Collector's Box with „Kind of Blue (reviewed HERE) is a step in the right direction, direction “music”, not only was it beautifully reissued, but also quality of the sound was superior to any other previous issue of this jazz “milestone”. New reissues make sense if they bring us closer to the real event. So curiosity followed understanding when I heard of the new, forth already, reissue of Jazz At The Pawnshop - Swedish jazz milestone by First Impression Music (actually by its sub-label - Lasting Impression Music). Yes, that's already the forth FIM's edition. And there were also countless reissues of Proprius, who owned master-tapes (now they belong to Naxos Sweden AB) of both single and double disc CD and SACD.

FIM consequently issues this recording in every available new format. At first there was a HDCD on golden disc (1997), then XRCD, right after they introduced this format in the summer same year (FIMXRCD 012/013), and last but not least 2000's SACD version with double layer – stereo and multichannel. Summer 2007 brought another JVC's announcement – new technology called K2HD. The first partner invited to this project was First Impression Music. Winston Ma, its owner, decided at once for another remastering of Jazz At The Pawnshop. They managed to improve the sound of the second disc with material from the second live session of Dec 7th 1976. It turned out that all previous issues (double disc) used second generation master-tape as the original seemed to be lost. When selling Proprius to Naxos, Earland Boethius – son of the Proprius owner - did an inventory check and luckily found original master-tape stashed in the box with some other, minor recordings. For the needs of K2HD project analog master-tapes were transferred in K2HD process directly to digital FTP tapes, that are used in CD production process. That allowed to avoid some intermediary transfers among other tapes and thus to minimize jitter. There are two versions – silver (99,9999% purity) and golden in Ultimate Disc issue. We have received silver, standard version for the review.


Why is Jazz At The Pawnshop so special recording? Firstly the music is very special, and the musician are in their top shape. Recording was done in 1976, but it sounds as taken in “golden age” of jazz. Secondly: the sound is simply incredible. The recording was done using analog tape recorder - Nagra IV, that, because of the lack of space, was put on guy's knees right by the stage. Actually they used two devices alternatively because one could only use a tape that (with 38 cm/s speed) held 15 minutes of recording. They used Dolby A361 device for noise reduction. Basic pair of microphones were Neumann U47, cardioid type, spaced 20 cm apart, spread to 110-135° angle, in O.R.T.F. System. There were 80 people in the audience. I had two other versions for comparison – FIM's XRCD (FIM XRCD 012-13), and the last Proprius reissue on SACD (PRSACD 7778+7779). Just for the record there are differences between FIM's issues - in the newest one Limehouse Blues has been separated from Introduction. The Swedish version is completely different, namely records are longer and the material from two days of recording has been divided differently between two CDs.

The sound of both SACD and CD layer of Proprius version is very good. You can hear that original material is top quality so it is hard to spoil it. XRCD version makes the sound bit deeper, saxophone is more palpable and placed bit closer to the listener. Bit it was SACD that showed best sound stage with depth and so called „blum”, i.e. large apparent sources. Considering the above K2HD was a mystery. First of all reverberations around instruments, coming from microphones taking the room, were amplified. As a consequence instruments seem to be placed further from the listener (than in XRCD version) and are not so strong and palpable. I can't be sure, but I'm guessing that the idea was to show more accurate perspective as usually nobody stands right in front of us with the instrument. But that's exactly what we get from XRCD. Well … Audio recordings don't always show us the real thing – it is just another recreation. So I chose as the “correct” version FIM's XRCD. It's dynamics, very close perspective, bass are fantastic. K2HD gives us more in the mid-range, more textures in the lower end and better differentiation of spaces between instruments. XRCD presented all instruments close to each other. But still, for me XRCD put me closer to the music and gave me an impression of more music between the speakers. K2HD is outstanding – very few recordings present such a great tonal balance – but as I always say – you have to make difficult choices when it comes to audio – this time I chose XRCD, and that's a reference to me.

Sound quality: 10/10

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"High Fidelity OnLine" is an internet magazine, published since may 2004, devoted to high quality reproduction of sound and picture. It is a monthly magazine, but the articles are uploaded twice a month - in the beginning of the month and in the middle. The news column is updated on on-going basis, if possible. The main sections are: "Tests", "Events" (interviews, reportages, and similar), "Hyde Park" (user tests, opinions) and "Who asks..." (readers questions and HFOL answers). Articles from earlier issues can be read in the "Archive". Have a nice read!

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