Evaluated by Claude Lemaire
Global Appreciation: 9.9
- Music: A+ (10)
- Recording: 9.6
- Remastering + Lacquer Cutting: 10
- Pressing: 9.8
- Packaging: Deluxe
Category: jazz, mostly cool with minor bop touches.
Format: Vinyl (2x180 gram LPs at 45 rpm).
Thelonious Monk – piano. Charlie Rouse – tenor sax. John Ore – bass. Frankie Dunlop – drums.
Produced by Teo Macero
Recorded October 31, November 1, 2 and 6, 1962 at Columbia 30th Street Studio, NYC.
Engineered by Frank Laico.
Remastered and lacquer cut by Krieg Wunderlich and Shawn R. Britton at Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab in Sebastopol, CA.
Plated and Pressed by RTI, CA, USA.
Photography Don Hunstein.
Just as the needle dropped, so did our jaw; and within the first seconds, we knew we were witnessing something special, read magical...man, was that all a dream?
During a four-decade span, and similar to Miles' music path, Monk moved from label to label, starting at Blue Note with Genius of Modern Music [BLP 5002] recorded in 1947-48, and released in 1952 on 10-inch, which included many of his most covered, and signature songs including "Round Midnight"–sometimes titled "Round About Midnight"–"Off Minor", and "Rudy My Dear" just to name a few.
In a nutshell, whereas a normal 'three-step' release utilises the following chain: [lacquer + father + mother + stamper], the 'one-step' method skips the father and mother intermediary steps, going from lacquer directly to stamper or 'convert' in this case. Because of the limited number of pressings that the delicate convert can withstand in the typical press before audible deterioration creeps in–supposedly somewhere around 500 or so for 180g LP's–it implies that a minimum set of 12 converts per side must be created from a set of 12 lacquers per side to meet the expected target of 6000 copies. This not only takes the remastering/cutting job twelve times longer to perform–unless they are able to hook up in parallel more than one cutting lathe–but also exposes the precious original master tape to more wear and tear–the iron oxide, binder (glue), and acetate, mylar or polyester carrier coming apart sometimes with time, aka 'binder breakdown', and remedied only by 'baking' the tapes for precise times and temperatures. Not to mention how boring it must become for the cutting engineer to doing over and over the same music master disc. Considering all of the above, the $125 asking price still seems well justified if the superb quality maintains its previous level.
It also suggest that there could very well be minor differences in sound among the 12 'plate' sets, and as such, differences in sound between box sets, relative to the 'batch' number that the consumer happens to get–more so than the usual MoFi release or any other label following the normal three-step process, all else being equal (which admittedly is rarely the case, especially regarding vinyl because of the multitude of variables from master tape before reaching your platter, and everything subsequent to that). One can also ponder if for example the 12th cutting run is either 'penalized' because of the tape wear or rather privileged for getting the EQ and groove-spacing 'spot-on'; then again are all the parameters/choices 'locked-in' for the total 'project run' to maximize uniformity? What about the cutting stylus–does it get changed for every set?
'UD1S2-011 A3; B2; C2; D3 KW@MoFi'