Vinyl Archeology - Introduction

Do you often hear the statement 'Back in the day, those were real vinyl records, not like what we have now'? I do. Beneath a layer of grumbling, there's a grain of truth in it. Recording technologies and sound production have changed very quickly and dynamically. Today, vinyl records sound different than they used to – which doesn't mean they're worse or better. Just different.

These changes have led to rapid shifts in the visual and auditory values of vinyl records (post-1948). We can identify various specific sound qualities for different decades, technologies, and even publications – I think that would make a good topic for another book.

However, the idea for "Vinyl Archeology" came to me by accident. I got new headphones and wanted to check how older records would sound on them. And the oldest one I own is The Dave Brubeck Quartet's "Gone With The Wind" from 1959, a label Fontana. I listened to the Brubeck quartet, captivated by both the level of artistic craftsmanship of the musicians and the sound of this record. Raw, a bit rough, but deep and clear. Penetrating deep into the heart, strong, substantial, making me taste chocolate and coffee on my tongue, and smell the scent of cigars in the air.

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(I have the Dutch edition, mono, catalog number: 682 060 TL, originally published on the Columbia label, mono, catalog number: CL 1347)

I thought that I want to bring such records closer to you, dear reader, records that are multi-dimensional works of art, even transcending their natural dimensions, such as sound and image. Listening to these records is like a journey through time, first-class, in a dining car. For the first course of Vinyl Archeology, I serve: The Dave Brubeck Quartet "Gone With The Wind".

Vinyl Archeology #1: The Dave Brubeck Quartet "Gone with the Wind"

In the world of vinyl collectors, where every record has its story, there are releases that deserve to be called true archeological finds. One of them is Dave Brubeck's album "Gone with the Wind" – a must-have in the collection of every jazz enthusiast.

Label

1959

Released in 1959, this album is not just a collection of tracks, but a testament to the musical journey of the quartet members. As Teo Macero emphasizes in the liner note, what distinguishes this release is its spontaneity and "first takes" during recordings, capturing the liveliness of the recording sessions. Brubeck and company, known for their innovation and boundary-pushing, do not disappoint, delivering impeccable quality and sound authenticity to listeners.

Standards and Experiments

On "Gone with the Wind," we find tracks that have become jazz standards, such as "Georgia on My Mind" and "Swanee River," presented in a way that further emphasizes their universality. The album also witnesses experiments with form, as in the case of two versions of "Camptown Races," where the second take reveals a more individual character and influences of West Indian rhythms, expanding the team's sound palette.

Front Cover

High Fidelity

But it's not just the music that's important here. This vinyl, released by FONTANA in HIGH FIDELITY technology, is also an object of desire because of its physical properties. The promise of "the highest possible sound quality" was not just empty words – it was a commitment that Fontana fulfilled.

"Gone with the Wind" is a vinyl that transports us back in time, to an era where the vinyl record was the primary medium for conveying emotions and innovative solutions in music. Thanks to the high quality of the recording, collectors have the opportunity not only to listen but to feel every nuance and intention of the artists.

Every record tells a story. And the story of Dave Brubeck's "Gone with the Wind" is one that resonates strongly in my collector's heart.

Every era has its innovators

Artists who could be considered innovators in contemporary music, much like Dave Brubeck in his time, might include:

  • Jacob Collier – a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who explores complex harmonies and rhythms, often blending various genres in a single composition.
    • Kamasi Washington – a jazz saxophonist who combines traditional jazz with elements of hip-hop, R&B, and electronic music, creating new sounds.
      • Snarky Puppy – a musical collective known for their innovative approach to jazz, funk, and world music, often using non-traditional instruments and forms.
        Record spinning on DUAL 626 DD

        The Band

        • Dave Brubeck – the band leader, pianist, and composer. His innovative approach to rhythm and harmony in jazz was one of the hallmarks of his style, and his compositions were often rhythmically advanced.
          • Paul Desmond – the alto saxophonist, known for the famous jazz standard "Take Five". He was known for his smooth, melodic playing style, which perfectly complemented the quartet's sound.
            • Eugene Wright – the bassist, also known as "The Senator". His solid bass playing provided the rhythmic foundation for the band, adding depth to the overall sound.
              • Joe Morello – the drummer, famed for his technical proficiency and ability to perform complex rhythms. His use of West Indian rhythms on this album is an example of the ability to adapt diverse drumming styles.
                Back cover with HIGH FiDELITY note

                Album Prices

                The Dutch version is very affordable, with a VG/VG condition copy available for as little as 5 EUR. However, an original American version in the same condition would cost around 30 dollars.

                Vinyl Archeology #2?

                I would like to present you with records in the "Vinyl Archeology" series at least once a month. However, if this series appeals to you and you demand more, I will be very happy to be persuaded. Leave a comment with your opinion; I would be extremely pleased.

                Thank you,

                If you like historical stories about vinyl then read on:

                VINYL BOOK Chapter I, Pt. I

                VINYL BOOK Chapter I, Pt. II