Enjoying Remastered Sound

October 1, 2018

By Masamichi Okazaki

When maniacs seriously start talking about the difference in sound by remastering? I believe mastering is the important process which finally determines the sound of CDs. I’d like to enjoy the subtle difference of sounds, which can be easily overlooked, by listening to various remastered master pieces.

#25 Tenacious Remastering by Rudy Van Gelder

Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet

Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet

Anyone interested in jazz knows Rudy Van Gelder, the famous engineer. Though his name is so famous through Blue Note labels, he has also worked on many recordings in the golden era of modern jazz such as Prestige and Impulse. He released “Rudy Van Gelder Remaster Series” by working on the original masters of Prestige at that time when he entered his twilight years. I have listened to one piece from “Marathon Session,” the well-known piece by Miles Davis.

I can directly feel the tremendous enthusiasm and groove through the vivid recording, According to Van Gelder, since CDs became available in public, many of his recordings of masterpieces have been remastered and sounds have been determined by others. “By using the state-of-the-art technology, my mixing version has been able to be delivered.” Van Gelder himself mentioned when these were recorded, he remembered the kinds of sounds musicians wanted and their responses when they listened to the playbacks. This is the vivid sound only the engineer engaged in the recording first hand can produce. The sound made us feel the aesthetics of Miles Davis, and I can say with confidence that this disk has the best sound quality among the numerous “Relaxin” album.

#26 Listening to Newly Remastered Recordings ECM Secretly Preserved


(Tower Record PROZ-1111)

A variety of recordings by ECM, German label, known for its motto, “the Most Beautiful Sound Next to Silence,” has been flat transferred to DSD for the first time and released with hybrid specifications of the high sound quality SACD and CD layers after commissioned by Tower Record. The reverberation utilizing the space of a studio or a hall is ECM’S trademark, however, the original version has never been allowed to go out. There’s been no remastered version available to public. We may be able to say that Manfred Eicher, the Producer, has been so persistent about the sound quality.

I felt what I had listened to so far was not bad, but if you make a comparison, you can feel the further depth to the sound on SACD. The resonance is clear but at the same time it sounds so mellow. The sound of bass by Gary Peacock, the leader and the basist, stretches well toward the lower keys. The performance is the rich conversation among the three on an equal footing who were going to be developed into Keith Jarret’s “Standard Trio” later. I’d like to enjoy the beautiful performance as if they are having fun in the flexible and free world.

#27 Stefano Amerio’s Remastering Expressing Performance Space

AKIRA MATSUO TRIO / Alone Together

AKIRA MATSUO TRIO / Alone Together
(Terasima Records TYR-1063)

“Terashima Records” led by Yasukuni Terashima, who used to be the owner of the jazz café “Meg,” claims the “jazz audio” and continuously produces recordings respected not only by jazz lovers but also by the audio lovers. “STEFANO AMERIO Remaster Series” released now is for comparing the newly remastered albums released from Terashima Records with the original disk. Stefano Amerio, the eminent engineer, is now drawing attention among audio fanatics, and he is the unparalleled “great chef of the beautiful sound” when it comes to expressing the rich space by fully utilizing the aesthetics in reverberation. The policy of Terashima Records has been “pathos and guts.” Every audio enthusiast is so anxious to find out how such a sound source resonates when Amerio works on it.

Since “Alone Together” recorded in 2007 is the first recording from Terashima Records, its label policy has been condensed into the work. Even though it is the orchestration of piano trio, the leader is Akira Matsuo, the drummer. The three players express their personalities respectively, equally stimulate with each other, and develop the rich performance. Starting with “Alone Together,” the titled piece there are many other “melancholic pieces” such as “TAKE ME IN YOUR ARMS” and SONORA. Amerio is really impressive expressing the extensive world without diminishing the dynamism of jazz performance at all. In the original version, the energy of the players is extended towards listeners, while in Amerio’s version, you can feel the spaciousness between right and left. Maybe I can describe the original sounds as if you are sitting in the front row in the live music club, whereas Amerio’s version sounds as if you are sitting in the best seat in the concert hall. It’s all up to individual listeners which they prefer, however, there seems to be a data showing that Amerio’s version is preferred except by meticulous jazz fans. I am happy with the kind consideration of arranging in pairs including the original so that anyone can easily compare listening. Having two different mastered records together seemed likely but actually it was not. It was an unprecedented plan. It seems like the quintessence of Terashima Records claiming “jazz audio” is here to stay! I enjoyed both mastered performances.

About the Author

Masamichi Okazaki

Masamichi Okazaki

Surrounded by various kinds of music from his childhood, Masamichi Okazaki joined Waseda University Modern Jazz Club. He started contributing articles to music magazines when he was a student. He covers wide range of music not only trad, modern and contemporary jazz, but also from pops to classics. He writes liner notes for CDs and LPs, and is a regular contributor to “JAZZ JAPAN,” “STEREO,” and others. He joined a big band, “Shiny Stockings,” as a saxophone player. He is a director of The Music Pen Club Japan (MPCJ).