2014年からスタートし、大好評を博している「ジャズ・コレクション1000」シリーズのスピンオフ的な企画として、新たに「クロスオーヴァー&フュージョン1000」シリーズがスタート。ジャズのシリーズ同様にColumbiaとRCA というアメリカを代表する2大レーベルを中心にソニーミュージックが所有する豊富なカタログから厳選。大名盤から長らく再発を望まれていた作品、初CD化となるレアな作品までの100タイトル(第1弾:4/27発売 50タイトル、第2弾:5/25発売 50タイトル)を\1,000+税(2枚組は\1,500+税)というスペシャル・プライスでリリース。全タイトル新規ライナーノーツ。
My experience of the band was really dominated by the more celebrated tracks on this record and the live album "8.30" which I always liked. However, the element of 1970's excess seemed to marr these records. "Heavy Weather" includes the stasnd out tracks "Birdland" and "A remark you made" but, in both instances, the live versions on "8.30" are more exciting. "Teen Town" seems far more intriguing but it is the unfamiliar stuff such as "Havona", "Palladium" and "The juggler" which provide a degree of interest. Shorter pops in and out, occasionally offering something of interest yet it palls in comparison with his work with the acoustic quartet he has been working with throughout the 2000's. The stars of the record are no doubt the two percussionists and they give the music a bite and degree of snap which makes the arrangements more interesting. All in all, this is not as commercial a record as I had anticipated and Zawunal was still very much switched on to jazz harmonies so that the credibility remained.
I don't think this is quite as good as "Black Market" which maybe offers a stronger jazz element. Neither records seem particularly rocky and if there is an influence from other genres, it is clear that Joe Zawunal had his ear firmly cocked towards big band jazz and Duke Ellington in particular. The multitude of colours conjured up by the keyboards attest to this and if they are not necessarily as dated as I might have expected, it is clear that the writing was hinting at larger ensembles. In some ways, this is a defining jazz record of the 1970s, a commercial success with appeal outside of jazz yet the underuse of Wayne Shorter remains a disappointment , esepcially if you are familiar with his work with Miles Davis and current quartet. Records like "Heavy Weather" show just how much of this band's music was actually arranged. It is an enjoyable record whilst at the same time indicative of an era when jazz semed to be defined by nostalgia or had retreated to the loft scene where it retained it;s credibility.
This CD recording compares well with an original vinyl recording. There is significant variation from track to track. On some the bass guitar is not apparent yet the kick drum is excellent.
I have not set out to write reviews of the music content as “beauty is in the ears of the listener”. These reviews are about the quality (or not) of the recorded sound. To read about how the reviews are done please see my profile.
• Clarity – OK, good dynamic range and instrument definition
• Channel separation - good
• Channel balance – good, clear, stable left right and centre
• Sound Stage – good, reasonably wide and well defined. Artificial feeling studio feel and sound stage
• Distortion – non audible
• Compression – non immediately audible, good dynamic range. Lifelike with good range from deep bass to clear well defined cymbals
• Atmosphere – not a particularly atmospheric recording, redolent of a jazz or other club, slightly cold and distant
• Bass – low frequencies – good detailed, well controlled. Kick drum is reasonable. Synths have extended range, the drums can be “soft” at times
• Treble – high frequencies – very good, saxophone and piano are sometimes mixed a little far back but are still well defined
• Vocals – limited but clear and defined
As a general rule of thumb recordings from the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s are nearly always better on the original vinyl. Remasters often fail to please as it’s just not possible to make a silk purse from a sows ear, i.e. the original recording lacks the necessary detail to be processed digitally and show an audible improvement. Indeed such processing can make the sound worse.
Modern recordings which have been processed digitally from start to finish can be as good as vinyl. CD’s are often unfairly criticised for being poor quality. This is not the case, it is the original recording or the process which is to blame. Modern “remasters” can both enhance and degrade a recording. The statement GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) is the limiting factor. Ignore this at your cost.