Much Better Sounding Versions are Available
D. Allen | McKinney Texas | 03/13/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This album is a 5 star jazz legend, but unfortunately, extremely poor mastering significantly detracts from the enjoyment it can bring. Except for the two Monk titles, the RVG Edition series is a seriously flawed collection of historic jazz, especially the first batch that came out in '99, and this is one of those. They sound bottled up, exhibit no air or ambiance, and they possess a hard glare. The glare is generally missing after "99, but the other issues are still present.
Another flaw in this series is that many of the titles are in mono when excellent stereo masters exist. Rudy Van Gelder recorded exclusively in mono prior to March '57, and stereo exclusively after October 30 1958. He only recorded in both formats during the time spanning those two dates. While some will rightfully argue that the mono master sounds best in some instances, the RVG series has many titles in it that were recorded after Oct. 30 1958 that are mono. No mono masters exist for these sessions, so these CD's are simply the stereo master folded down into one channel. What's the purpose of that?
Relief is Available: Most of the RVG Edition titles are available in an earlier US version and as a Japanese import here on Amazon. These sound dramatically better and give you a sense of stage depth and air around the instruments. They are also stereo when possible, and appropriate, and they lack the glare of the RVG Edition. Everything I've purchased that was released before 1999 in the US has been good, and all of the Japanese versions have been good. The imports are very pricey so you might want to get the older US versions through the Amazon Marketplace. I've purchased many of these for under $10 in "Like New" condition. To avoid problems, I recommend only dealing with sellers who have a positive rating of 98% or better. They don't generally misrepresent the condition, and they'll usually get it to you within 4 business days.
This can be a tough neighborhood, and I fully expect to get a pant-load of negative votes and comments since I have dared to say that all is not well with this series, but if it guides those who care about sound quality to the version that makes them happiest, it'll be worth it. I wish someone had done that for me before I had spent considerable money, only to be unhappy, and then finally discovering what I was looking for in the first place."
English Teacher | Japan | 02/19/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the best jazz/blues guitar you will ever hear. I just can't imagine anything being better. If there is something better out there I want to know!!!! Put me onto it. In the meantime, I'll just listen to Midnight Blue over and over again. These guys put you into the groove and never let go. Not one chord is out of place. Is it jazz? Is it blues? Who cares! It's just that good."
As cool as it gets
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ahhh If all blues albums were this good. This is the best of blues, blues uncorrupted by the influence of rock and roll and distorted ugly guitar playing. Kenny's sound is amazing and his taste is unmatched."