SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

John Coltrane – A Love Supreme (1964) – Impulse /Universal Pure Audio Blu-ray

John Coltrane's masterpiece in the closest sound to the original tapes we will hear today.

Published on December 20, 2013

John Coltrane – A Love Supreme (1964) – Impulse /Universal Pure Audio Blu-ray

John Coltrane – A Love Supreme (1964) [TrackList follows] – Impulse AS-77 /Universal Pure Audio Blu-ray 00602537356638 (96K/24-bit stereo) [10/30/13] *****:

(John Coltrane, tenor sax; McCoy Tyner, piano; Jimmy Garrison, bass; Elvin Jones, drums)

This is the No. 1 spiritually-influenced classic session with John Coltrane and is considered his masterpiece. It derives from his 1957 spiritual awakening that took him out of his drug addition and lost years, and is his humble offering to God. There was something very special about the session in Rudy Van Gelder’s legendary New Jersey studio. Although sometimes pretty avant, this album is a jazz hymn from the man who found peace and God after a life of heroin and alcohol. It’s definitely a classic in jazz culture, and here it is in the closest sonic equivalent to the original studio tapes. There are nine bonus tracks in addition to the original four, and fans will probably appreciate them, but the first four tracks are the classic album.  Not a lot in the way of notes with the album.

I would like to repeat herewith a couple paragraphs from my previous review of a Universal Pure Audio Blu-ray:

There are a number of things that seem to indicate Universal doesn’t really know what it’s doing with these audio-only Blu-rays. For one thing, in their publicity and on the jewel-box they leave out the hyphen: Blu ray. Second, the top front of each of the Pure Audio Blu-ray box says “High Fidelity.” That’s a bad choice since it connotes mono and probably not hi-res. They also say in their publicity “between 96K and 192K.”  Wrong, it’s one or the other, not “in between.” And they claim all the recordings are uncompressed. They ignore that there are two sorts of compression, and although these recordings are not horribly compressed as is most music today (even classical), they still employed dynamic compressors. Digital compression is used in Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA, so it is completely untrue to say there is no compression involved here.

I disagree with some experts who feel physical discs are on their way out and there will be only audio downloads, and also disagree that hi-res digital remasterings of great analog recordings don’t sound much better than the originals, but Universal has a ways to go to equal the Pure Audio releases of 2L, Naxos, Sono Luminus, and AIX, which do come from hi-res digital originals. 2L has been including an SACD version of the same material as the Pure Audio Blu-ray and I frankly can’t tell the difference, but I think the Blu-ray approach is a sensible way to go for a hi-res surround physical disc, since more people have the required players.

TrackList:

1.  Part I – Acknowledgement
2.  Part II – Resolution
3.  Part III – Persuance / Part IV – Psalm
4.  A Love Supreme, Part IV-Psalm
5.  Introduction By André Francis
6.  A Love Supreme, Part 1: Acknowledgement
7.  A Love Supreme, Part 2: Resolution
8.  A Love Supreme, Part 3: Pursuance
9.  A Love Supreme, Part 4: Psalm
10. A Love Supreme, Part II-Resolution
11. A Love Supreme, Part 2: Resolution
12. A Love Supreme, Part 1: Acknowledgement
13. A Love Supreme, Part 1: Acknowledgement

—John Henry




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