Sunday, February 12, 2017

Art Hodes on Audiophile


I've long been fascinated by the brilliant recording engineer Ewing Nunn and his Audiophile label, which operated for around 30 years, beginning in 1947. Nunn's records truly sound spectacular, and I feel that he would be as famous as Rudy Van Gelder if it weren't for the fact that Audiophile recorded mostly traditional jazz and dixieland.

Nunn's first records were 12-inch microgroove 78s, with about 10 minutes of music on each side. While he stood by the sonic superiority of the faster speed, he soon gave up on that concept and began issued standard 33.3 albums, which still sounded magnificent.

This 1957 album by Chicago pianist Art Hodes is an early stereo offering, although the liner notes assure the buyer that, "when played on modern mono equipment, it will have good mono sound and the record will have satisfactory playing life." I don't totally understand the "easy listening" designation along the bottom of the cover - the music is fairly mellow, but uncompromisingly jazz. Hodes assembled a group of veterans from Chicago and New Orleans: Eddie Burleton, clarinet; Marty Grosz, guitar; Truck Parham, bass; Freddie Kohlman, drum. The resulting music is not earth-shattering, but it's solid and enjoyable. And of course, it's impeccably recorded.

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