Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Earl Fatha Hines|
That's a Plenty
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Listen to Samples
Johnny Hodges | Clark Fork, ID United States | 12/04/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Content: 3 stars
Audio Quality: 2 stars
Packaging: 2 stars
Bang for the Buck: 3 stars
This is the most disappointing of the several Quadromania sets I've purchased so far. Recorded between 1928 and 1947, the tracks divide about evenly between ragtimey solo piano and more pop oriented Earl Hines Orchestra numbers. The solo pieces, while displaying a lot of technical skill and drive, don't really seem to catch fire. Maybe I don't "get it". Maybe I've been listening to too much Fats Waller. The big band numbers, typically begun with a hot solo statement from the piano before the full orchestra steps in, also seem bland. Gets up good speed on the runway, but never seems to really take to the air. Pleasant enough, but unsatisfying. They seem like an effort to appeal more to a popular music audience than a jazz one. Maybe I've been listening to too much Duke Ellington and Fletcher Henderson. One clue that Membran might have limited Hines material sources: unlike other Quadromania disks, these 4 are well under an hour each. The Laserlight "Earl Hines - Solo Piano" seems to show off his piano skills far better.
While we don't expect hifi sound from this era, the sound quality is well below the other sets I've bought in this series. The piano pieces almost sound like you're listening from another room. The big band pieces are sonic mush; you scarcely distinguish the instruments other than the piano. While noise has been aggressively removed, dynamic range is poor and instruments occassionally "break up". Almost like listening from another dimension.
The CD case, while well designed, fails because the little teeth that should hold the CDs in place frequently (a)don't & (b)break. This causes CDs to get loose during travel or while trying to remove another CD in the box. Liner notes give titles, dates, and personnel for each track, but no biographical or other information.
TWO YEARS LATER:
I have been getting some enjoyment out of the swing band pieces recorded in 1934. I burned a highly listenable CD by mixing some of the solo pieces from the first CD with the 10 1934 band sides on CD1 and CD2 and 4 of the 1935 sides (omitting the 2 Andy Razaf pieces marred by cornball vocals from the Palmer Brothers). This was definitely a peak period for this band. The solo pieces are more enjoyable to me now as well, both because I'm getting "into" his playing, and because they are more fun to listen to when programmed so there aren't too many in a row. As long as the price is close to that of a single CD, I would raise the "bang/buck" figure today, since there is one 4 star CD worth of exceptional material here."