Universal “Jazz The Best” LP Collection is out

久々に期待していた 今回の日本盤 LP リイシュー。全20タイトル中本日10タイトルが発売されました。さてさて、肝心の「おと」の方はどうでしょう? さすがに全タイトルは買えないので、とりあえず EmArcy の 2タイトルだけ買ってみました。

The long-awaited LP reissue series by Universal Music Japan is out. Among 20 titles in all, 10 titles have been released today. Well, how does they “sound” anyway? I can’t afford to buy all titles, so this time I bought two EmArcy titles.

買ったのは UCJU-9011 “Stydy in Brown”UCJU-9012 “Clifford Brown with Strings”。純粋に懐の事情により(笑) Verve や Impulse! は見送りました。

The two titles I bought today are: UCJU-9011 “Study in Brown” and UCJU-9012 “Clifford Brown with Strings. There is no reason I didn’t buy other titles of Verve and Impulse! reissues, except I just was short on cash 🙁

気軽に買える値段ではない (税込 3,600円) こともあり、どの程度の出来なのか、非常に気になるところです。特に、今回は音質的にも最大限の配慮をした、という触れ込みでリリースされているのですから、なおさらです。

The amount of perfection as a replica product is the most interesting point for us, since this reissue series is not cheap (3,600 YEN including tax). Also, prior to the release date, Universal Japan strongly advertised the series as “high fidelity reissue” – this is another reason we are very anxious and curious about the quality.

ジャケット / Jacket Cover

[UCJU-9012 Front Cover]    [MG-36005 Front Cover]

Left: Front cover of Universal Japan UCJU-9012 (reissue)
Right: Front cover of EmArcy MG-36005 (original 1st issue)

店頭で手にとってみて、まず最初に感心したのが、ジャケットの丁寧な復刻ぶりです。表ジャケの色合い、コーティングの感じ、裏ジャケの印刷色 (もちろんブルーバックです)、紙質などなど、実にハイレベルな復刻ぶりといえます。“With Strings” と “Study in Brown” 共に、実に素晴らしい出来で、所有欲を充分に満たしてくれるものです。

When I took the actual album in my hands at a nearby record shop, I was so much impressed with the superb jacket artwork, which was very precisely reproduced. The colour of the front cover, qualitative similarity of front coating, the colour of the back cover (blue-back of course), qualitative resemblance of back cover’s paper, and so on. This reproduction quality of “With Strings” and “Study in Brown ” is really impressive and great, which surely satisfies our appetite for ownership.

レーベルと盤 / Label and Disc

[UCJU-9012 Side A]    [MG-36005 Side A]

Left: Side-A label of Universal Japan UCJU-9012 (reissue)
Right: Side-A label of EmArcy MG-36005 (original 1st issue)

盤は 180g 重量盤。さすがにレーベルまでは (契約の事情からか) 完全復刻は難しかったのでしょう。(P) The Verve Music Group, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc. 云々の表記がレーベル縁に印刷されています。また、銀縁も印刷されていません。しかしここは大ドラマーロゴだけでもよしとしましょう (もちろん、“Study in Brown” は小ドラマーです)。ちなみに、レーベルの紙の色合いが微妙に異なりますが、この紙色は 1980年代の日本フォノグラム時代から一貫したもので、EmArcy の日本盤ではずっと同じものが使われているのかもしれません。

The disc itself is heavy vinyl (180g). Probably due to a certain contract issue, the label itself is not so similar as the original one. For example, an additional print like “(P) The Verve Music Group, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.” is obvious on the label rim. Furthermore, the silver ring which can be found on the original label is not here. But it’s enough only to see the “big drummer” logo (“Study in Brown” comes with “small drummer” logo, of course). By the way, the colour of the label itself is slightly different from the original one. This colour has been common in the most of EmArcy reissues in Japan (including those of Nippon Phonogram era in the 1980s).

音質 / Sound Quality

さて、肝心の再生音ですが、現時点のリイシューとしては考え得る限り最良のもの と言えると思います。オリジナル盤の音をそのまま忠実に再現する、という方向性ではないものの、レンジの狭い (しかし実に柔らかく同時に力強い) オリジナル盤の音に比べると実にハイファイと言える音で、かつオリジナル盤で味わえる独特の音の感触も少なからず伝えようとする意図が充分に感じられます。少なくとも、過去の全てのリイシュー (1970年代のアナログマスターの日本盤LP、1980年代のディジタルリマスターの日本盤LP、そして CD) と比べても、申し分ない質感です。残念ながら、オリジナルアナログマスターテープが経年劣化のためドロップアウトしている箇所が若干ききとれますし、A-1 冒頭では除去不可能なノイズがかぶさってしまっていますが、録音から 49年を経て再発されるアナログ盤としては最上の部類に属するといえます。

The most important factor of this reissue – how does it sound? After auditioning this LP reissue, I am convinced that this is the best LP reissue ever available, taking the very old age of this historical recording into account. This reissue is not focusing on perfect reproduction of the sound on the original 1st issue, but I think it’s hi-fi. The 1st pressing’s sound is rather narrow range (on the other hand, it’s very brilliant, beautiful and powerful of course), but this reissue has very wide range sound as on the master tape. It also has a certain amount of the atmosphere which the original 1st pressing has. At least, I can say that this is the best one among all reissues in the past (including Nippon Phonogram’s LP reissues in the 1970s, Nippon Phonogram’s LP reissues in the 1980s using digitally remastered tape, and CD reissues). This LP has satisfactory atmosphere of this great recording. Unfortunately, due to a very old age, the analogue master tape has suffered from several “drops” which can also be heard on this LP. And there is an innevitable “noise” (which also was due to the damage of the tape) heard on the very first part of the track A-1. Still, I believe this LP reissue is the best reissue from the 49-years-old analogue master tape.

世の中には多くのオリジナル盤信者がいます。「オリジナル盤以外の音は全て偽物だ」とまで言う人さえいるでしょう。けれども、今回の非常に良心的で誠意の感じられるリイシューにまでその言説をあてはめることは適切ではないと私は思います。真性オリジナル盤 1st プレスはあくまで49年前のもので、数千枚のオーダーでしか存在しないもの。そして、人気のある盤ともなれば、一般の人がおいそれと手に出来ない様な値段で流通しているものです。ともあれ、このリイシューは、少なくとも私が今回買った EmArcy の 2枚に関しては、本当に期待を裏切らない出来だったと言えます。本リイシューに携わった全ての関係者の皆様に、この場を借りてお礼を申し上げます。本当にお疲れさまでした (ってまだあと 10タイトル残ってますが)。

There are a kind of people so-called “enthusiast for original 1st pressings” among vinyl collectors. Some of them may say “original 1st pressing are the real one – all the others are craps and counterfeits”. However, I think that such statement is not appropriate for the Universal Japan’s LP reissues, at least for two EmArcy LPs I bought today. Actually, original 1st pressing copies are 49 years old and very scarce to find, as well as very expensive for ordinary people. Anyway, this newest reissues, at least two EmArcy LPs I have now, are really beyond my expectations. I’d like to say so many thanks to all the people concerned with the reissue project.

Universal “Jazz The Best” LP Collection (rel. Dec. 22, 2004)

  • UCJU-9001: Ballads (John Coltrane, Impulse!)
  • UCJU-9002: Getz / Gilberto (Stan Getz / João Gilberto Featuring Antonio Carlos Jobim, Verve)
  • UCJU-9003: Helen Merrill (Helen Merrill, EmArcy)
  • UCJU-9004: A Love Supreme (John Coltrane, Impulse!)
  • UCJU-9005: We Get Requests (Oscar Peterson, Verve)
  • UCJU-9006: At The Montreux Jazz Festival (Bill Evans, Verve)
  • UCJU-9007: Ella and Louis (Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong, Verve)
  • UCJU-9008: Mack The Knife: Ella in Berlin (Ella Fitzgerald, Verve)
  • UCJU-9009: Sarah Vaughan (Sarah Vaughan, EmArcy)
  • UCJU-9010: Now’s The Time (Charlie Parker, Verve)
  • UCJU-9011: Study In Brown (Clifford Brown, EmArcy)
  • UCJU-9012: Clifford Brown with Strings (Clifford Brown, EmArcy)
  • UCJU-9013: Night Lights (Gerry Mulligan, Philips US) – this title was released in Jan. 21, 2005
  • UCJU-9014: Stan Getz Plays (Stan Getz, Verve)
  • UCJU-9015: What’s New (Bill Evans, Verve)
  • UCJU-9016: Smokin’ At The Half Note (Wes Montgomery, Verve)
  • UCJU-9017: Death And The Flower (Keith Jarrett, Impulse!)
  • UCJU-9018: Johnn Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman, Impulse!)
  • UCJU-9019: Duke Ellington and John Coltrane (Duke Ellington & John Coltrane, Impulse!)
  • UCJU-9020: April In Paris (Count Basie, Verve)

2 thoughts on “Universal “Jazz The Best” LP Collection is out

  1. はじめまして。

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