Friday, 24 October 2014

Avid Collector

The double CD pictured above will be released on the Avid label on 17 November.

I hardly need to buy this release since I own several versions - on vinyl and CD - of the 'highly prized tracks' already but I'm standing in line on pre-order.

Why? Well, cleverly, the release makes use of the artwork for a famous HMV 10" record release of the 1950s - which, incidentally, is the best-sounding version of these classics you will ever hear.

Presumably those vinyl transfers form, in part, some of the selections here. Which brings me to the second reason for buying this release: the mastering is by Avid's Dave Bennett, whose reputation for getting the best sounds out of source material goes before him. Certainly the publicity department has gone into overdrive. Witness their advertising copy:

AVID presents classic Duke Ellington music featuring “Highlights Of The Great 1940-42 Band” including original liner notes on a finely re-mastered and low priced double CD.
49 highly prized tracks in remarkable sound quality. Some quotes from the original liner notes:- “No one has combined jazz composition, orchestra and performance with more telling effect than Duke Ellington”. “Ellington admirers will welcome this set, embracing under one cover ten of his most original and varied works from a period representing a peak in his highly productive career. Not only was his band crammed with the greatest galaxy of talent that it ever contained, it was also the point when his creative powers were stretched to the utmost logical limits of the “three minute” musical form.” “This is not only a set of Ellington masterpieces, it also goes a long way towards unfolding the unique process by which his orchestra has undoubtedly become the most creative unit jazz has ever known”. Phew! You gotta hear this stuff! And to conclude with a quote from Digby Fairweather’s liner notes; “One of the joys of this collection - a direct tribute to Dave Bennett’s supreme skills as engineer - is (for the first time) to pick up clearly on such small artistic brush-strokes which helped turn Ellington’s works into instant masterpieces and (significantly) into music which commands repeated listening and study today..every track in this collection is seminal music reminding us with brilliant new clarity that we shall not hear its like again.”
All tracks plus have been digitally re-mastered.

And, thirdly, the price - at £6.99 - is a steal.

If you have stumbled upon this blog post by accident, buy these discs: they will change your life. If you're a collector, this issue is another good excuse to give these timeless classics a spin.

It's possible to order direct from Avid's website here.


  1. Thanks for the heads-up. I'm hoping that Mosaic will bring out a complete Blanton-Webster set. Given their recent Ellington releases, I think there's reason to be hopeful.