I enjoyed that book. Kahn also wrote a very good, if overly Coltrane-centric, history of Impulse
Records. He got some good insights into how ABC Records/Am-Par ran things back in the days before
MCA bought them. They actually had a progressive attitude as far as costs vs. sales, with both
Impulse and Command. They allowed for costly gatefold covers, good pressings and a uniform look to
both labels, even though most titles sold relatively few copies. Their reasoning, which was proven
correct, was that both labels generated enough hits to float all boats, and the high quality,
uniform look and feel was a selling tool for all titles present and future.
Regarding "Kind of Blue," I also had Carl's initial "oy!" reaction, but to my ears, these new
remasters sound better than all previous versions I've heard.
Carl, I do think equal care was applied to the Miles titles included in the new mono box set, which
covers the dawn of stereo up through "Someday My Prince Will Come." They already applied more than
enough care, what I would call obsessive completism, to the fusion-electric Miles albums, releasing
box sets made up of every scrap of tape run to brew up those records. Great for the scholar of
Miles, but I prefer the edited/produced master takes. What I do wish they'd do is release the Miles'
quad albums, from the quad master tapes, in either SACD or DVD-Audio. "Bitches Brew" was definitely
done quad, because I have the 2LP, and it's funky. I don't know if "Silent Way" was too late for
quad. While they're at it, Herbie Hancock "Head Hunters" was also definitely released in quad and
it, too, is funky sounding when it's flying around your head! In general, Sony has no reason but to
treat the Miles catalog with care because it is still a money-generating asset for them.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Lou Judson" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 10:01 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] The new "Kind of Blue" remasters explained
> Thanks Tom. I was wondering if the new one was worth adding to the collection... I'm reading
> right now so maybe a good time for a new listen...
> On Nov 20, 2013, at 3:44 AM, Tom Fine wrote:
>> Miles Davis "Kind of Blue" archival transfer made by Mark Wilder on an ATR-100.
>> This text (below) copied from the Kind of Blue description at HDTracks.com (HIGHLY recommend the
>> new 192/24 downloads of BOTH stereo and mono, they sound fantastic): The new mono mix is also in
>> the new Miles Davis Mono CD box set. As I understand the description below and in other
>> interviews with Wilder and Berkowitz, the 192/24 transfer from the 3-track was a straight,
>> high-quality NAB playback. Then all remixing and remastering was done by bringing the 3-track
>> high-resolution digital back out to analog, mixing and processing using analog equipment, and
>> then back to a 192/24 stereo (and mono) master.
>> Kind of Blue Becomes Digital, by Engineer Mark Wilder
>> "Since the Kind of Blue mixed masters are multiple generations from the original (due to
>> excessive play/wear), we decided to go directly to the original session reels. Not only does this
>> put us at the original session as a starting point, but it also allows us to deal with the pitch
>> issue as well.
>> The three, 3-track half-inch tapes are in good condition, but age has force them to "scallop" a
>> little, meaning that the edges curl away from the tape head. This changed the initial focus from
>> mixing from the originals to archiving them before mixing and working from the archive files.
>> This allowed us to gently guide the tape against the playback head to get optimal contact and
>> The archiving was done at 192kHz/24 bits, played from a modified Ampex ATR 104, and hard-wired to
>> HDCD Model 2's directly patched to a Lynx 2 sound card.
>> An upside to working from the archive files was the ability to chase the original fader moves
>> done during the mix in 1959. We constantly compared to an early pressing - mono and stereo - and
>> worked bar by bar to duplicate the level moves on the three tracks to match as well as possible.
>> Each channel was converted to analog and passed through a GML mixer, bussed to stereo or mono -
>> depending on the release format - and converted once again to 192Kc/24 bits. At the GML, we
>> inserted processing where needed."
>> - Mark Wilder, Battery Studios
>> -- Tom Fine