SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

After Hours – André Previn, piano/ Joe Pass, guitar/ Ray Brown, bass – Telarc Jazz/ F.I.M. Ultra HD

A most hearable enhancement over the original Telarc CD of 1989, as good as that was.

Published on November 24, 2012

After Hours – André Previn, piano/ Joe Pass, guitar/ Ray Brown, bass – Telarc Jazz/ First Impression Music Ultra HD LIM UHD 051, 64:04 [www.firstimpressionmusic.com] *****:

This is another release in the new series of F.I.M. audiophile reissues using 32-bit mastering and whatever sampling rate sounds the best. As with the others (except for the SACDs) playback may be accomplished on any standard CD player, because these are still 44.1K/16bit format compact discs. Winston Ma of F.I.M. is working with Five/Four Productions’ former Telarc engineers on these advanced CDs, and in this case has selected one of the same jazz albums they produced back in 1989. Telarc had a reputation for some of the best sounding recordings, so choosing one of their masters for F.I.M. enhancement is, as André Previn himself might say, showing a bit of chutzpah. (There is an error in the beginning of the notes for this release: “Currently the majority of Telarc’s releases are…SACDs…” None of them are since they were acquired by Concord Records some years ago.)

This was quite a session, Telarc’s producer apologized to the trio for part of their recording session having to run from 10:30 PM to 2:30 AM.  Ray Brown said “Never mind—that’s normally when we play our music.”  Previn had brought blank music paper in case there were some tunes they didn’t all know, but it was never used. The closing track was just the three warming up and none realized the tapes were rolling, but the playback sounded so good it became the final track of the album. The 11 tracks are mostly from The Great American Songbook, with three Ellington tunes, and two each of both Kern and Harry Warren.

Now for the A/B-ing with the original Telarc release of 1989, CD-83302: The original CD sounds very good to start with, better than a lot of jazz trio CD releases. The general level seemed a bit low, and switching to the F.I.M. release brought a tremendous volume increase that had to be quickly reduced at the preamp. Ray Brown’s bass immediately had much greater extension in the low end, more strength and clarity. Previn’s Bosendorfer piano sounded more like a real concert grand, and it almost seemed as if the 88 keys extended further at both ends. (Of course being a Bosendorfer, it really does have additional keys to the standard 88 at the bass end of the keyboard.)  Joe Pass’ guitar had more clarity and the individual notes of his various improvisations stood out more clearly. On the last track, “One for Bunz,” Previn has a loud passage ascending up the keyboard. On the original Telarc release the notes sound rather run together, but on the F.I.M. they are cleaner and more impactful.  In general the Telarc original sounded like it had a light blanket over it acoustically, compared to the UHD CD. As with  one of the other F.I.M. UHDs, I had to turn on my TV information display to see where it said “Channel Type: stereo 44.1k/16b” on both CDs because it was hard to believe. Again, this really shouldn’t be in our Hi-Res Section, but it seems appropriate.

TrackList:

1. There’ll Never Be Another You 
2. I Only Have Eyes For You 
3. What Am I Here For? 
4. Limehouse Blues
5. All The Things You Are
6. Honeysuckle Rose
7. I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good
8. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
9. Cotton Tail
10. One For Laura
11.  One For Bunz

—John Henry




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