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  Columbia -
  CS 65512
  Charles Mingus: Mingus Ah Um
  "Mingus Ah Um"

Charles Mingus
Track listing:
  1. Better Get Hit in Yo' Soul
2. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
3. Boogie Stop Shuffle
4. Self-Portrait in Three Colors
5. Open Letter to Duke
6. Bird Calls
7. Fables of Faubus
8. Pussy Cat Dues
9. Jelly Roll
10. Pedal Point Blues
11. GG Train
12. Girl of My Dreams
  Single Layer
Recording type:
Recording info:
  Original recordings produced by Teo Macero
Reissue producer: Michael Cuscuna
Recording engineers: Ray Moore, Fred Plaut

Digitally remixed and remastered from the original 3-track tapes using an original Presto tube tape recorder by Mark Wilder and Rob Schwarz at Sony Music Studios, NY

Engineered for SACD by Mark Wilder

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Related titles: 2

Reviews: 6 show all

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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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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