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Reviews: Charles Mingus: Mingus Ah Um

Reviews: 6

Review by Tom February 25, 2003
Performance:   Sonics:
This album has been a big seller for decades and deserves to be. I find this one magical. I can really absorb myself into this album. I'm not sure why, but it just sucks me it.

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Review by Feanor June 30, 2003 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
In particular it's the sound of this SACD version that prompts me to review of this classic jazz album. Surely the the quality of sound here justifies this new, high-resolution medium. The sound meets a very high technical standard, at least that my relatively modest equipment can deliver and my distinctly mid-aged ears appreciate. Much more than that, the remastering engineers have managed to create a more convincing recreation of a live performance that I have heard recorded before for any style of music on any medium. The detail and intimacy are awesome, not to use that word too lightly.

I'm not actually a jazz afficionado and most of my listening is to classical music. I'm especially fond of chamber music, though, and it is not such a great leap to instrumental jazz of this style, (Avant-Garde, Post-Bop, Hard Bop according to AMG/Jazz). I have no doubt the performance here is also of the highest order.

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Review by jimmyjames8 July 23, 2003 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Another jazz classic must have for the SACDer. This one and Mingus, Mingus, Mingus are desert island discs for sure. Upbeat and musical. It gets the standard SACD treatment of increased depth and sustain. If you like late 50's early 60's combo jazz, you will like this disc. Mingus was a Master of the acoustic bass (and other instruments) and was a perfectionist. Another one for the ages.

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Review by DeSelby April 20, 2005 (0 of 7 found this review helpful)
stereo sonics: very good old sound

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Review by Jay-dub June 8, 2007 (9 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This SACD was produced in conjunction with a regular CD edition of this album, in 1998, and apparently represents the high-resolution digital source which would have been sent to a mastering engineer for the finishing touch in CD production. The CD mastering task involves matching the volume levels between tunes, selecting an antialiasing low-pass filter that equalizes the highs properly, and dithering the signal to 16-bit. In other words, the SACD edition is an unfinished product: it needs level-matching and equalizing (necessarily done in DXD or high-res PCM, followed by re-modulation to DSD) before it it fit to ship. I consider the matter unprofessional.

Another objectionable aspect of this SACD issue is that it contains no multichannel program even though it is a brand-new mix from three-track sources.

The sound quality is heterogeneous. I suspect that not all tracks were newly transferred from first-generation master tapes, despite the indication in the booklet. Tracks 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, and 9 appeared in shortened form in previous issues, but as complete takes here. I believe that they were newly remastered from the original masters. They are extremely vivid, much drier than on my old CD (bought in 1997, it probably has some added reverb) and somewhat harsh in the treble (as are most second-rate digital remasterings). The other three tracks of the original album come from sources that sound generally good, but have problems -- maybe second-generation archival masters. Track one has a lot of hiss, and and track 4 has slightly unsteady pitch. They are at a slightly lower volume level than the rest of the album, to my ears at least. The three bonus tracks (10,11, and 12) are much less vivid and are recorded at a significantly lower level. I don't know what tape source they might be from.

This is an essential album; combining sophisticated composition, rich textures, and really earthy playing, it makes an ideal introduction to jazz for lovers of classical music. I will not recommend against this SACD. However, it has sonic problems that are equal in my estimation to the problems that are inherent in the RBCD format. I expect that the CD version (CK65512) will be more satisfactory to most listeners.

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Review by pvcmusiclover April 11, 2012 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Absolutely classic performance!

A waveform view shows that these tracks are raw with no limiting/compression used. Spectrally, there's content 30khz and above so this is real DSD.

Good soundstage and depth!

Not quite five stars, because (as with other early Columbia releases), it's a bit grainy and dry (just a bit). However, certainly better than the CD releases.

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