2 x LP set
TAS Super LP List! Special Merit: Informal
Remixed from the original master tapes by Jim Anderson at Capitol Studios
Remastered for vinyl by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering
Lacquers cut by Doug Sax, 180-gram double LP pressed at Quality Record Pressings.
"Top ten albums all time by a female jazz vocalist!" — CD Review
Patricia Barber's outstanding 1994 release Cafe Blue has won more than 15 awards from major international music institutions. Deemed an "underground classic" by jazz bible Downbeat magazine, the album contains sparkling, indelible improvisations derived as much from Barber's interest in classical music as from jazz. This is where the internationally renowned singer-pianist comes into her own, interpreting songs from outside the traditional jazz repertoire and debuting a handful of original compositions that reveal her innovative, thoroughly distinctive style.
Audiophiles, of course, needn't any introduction to Cafe Blue. Beloved for its transparent, you-are-there sound since its initial release, prized analog editions currently fetch upwards of $150 on the aftermarket. Mobile Fidelity's long-out-of-print 45RPM 3LP edition and Premonition's own 180-gram copies feature a dynamic clarity, vocal truth, and instrumental body that very few records possess. But not even those versions can compete with this newly minted 180-gram 2LP set that should belong on the shelf of every music lover.
Fully remixed and remastered, cut from the original tapes by legendary engineer Doug Sax, and meticulously pressed at QRP, Cafe Blue now boasts a seemingly limitless frequency range, transient responsiveness, and tonal realism.
From the dead-quiet surfaces to Barber's steamy, smoky vocals and crisp finger snaps, from Michael Arnapol's acoustic upright bass to guitarist John McLean's tasteful fills, everything is in the right place. Want to turn your listening room into an intimate club populated by one of the most scintillating, creative jazz artists playing today? This is your ticket.
Not that the reference-quality sonics overshadow the phenomenal performances. On "Nardis," Barber and her trio transform the song until it becomes a piece that's both sensitive and wildly exotic. Barber's own "What A Shame" and the self-effacing "Too Rich For My Blood" delve into deep emotional waters, the arrangements sophisticated, cool, elegant, and provocative.
A masterwork on every level, Cafe Blue has never been better. Forget having to shell out up to four times as much for a used copy and secure this new pressing by ordering this 2LP set today!
"A dramatic improvement of what has long been regarded a sonic masterpiece. It is a compelling reason to revisit this work with fresh ears." — Thomas Conrad, Jazz Times, Stereophile
"Cafe Blue has seduced everyone for whom I have ever played it--jazz people, rock people, Medicare people, even computer people. Some call from record stores, sounding slightly desperate: 'That album you played for me the other night! What was her name again?' If you have a voice that's a dark pure whisper straight up from the soul, and if you've lived it yourself, you can sing to people of their innermost anxieties and they will not only love it, they will need it." — Thomas Conrad, Stereophile.
"The new mixes maintain the brilliant dynamic range and sonics of the original mixes but Anderson brings the same improvement two decades of maturing brings to a fine wine. Delicious!" — Bob Ludwig, Gateway Mastering
"The artistry of Patricia Barber is tied to the superlative technology of this vinyl pressing. Re-mixed at Capitol Records with a Neve 8068 console, EMT plates and a live reverberation chamber, the texture of the sound quality is rich. Barber’s alto is captured vibrantly in its broad depth and soaring upper register. The echoes and fades of the guitar are robust, and the precision of the drums (cymbals, sticks) and percussion (bongo, handclap) is exceptional. There is fluidity in all of the bass tones. Sparse arrangements sound full and multi-dimensional. The HQ-180 pressing is pristine without any pops or hisses. Gatefold jackets and high-gloss packaging add to the luster. The liner notes describe the re-mastering process from engineer, Jim Anderson (who worked on the original recording) and others. Café Blue on audiophile vinyl is as dazzling as SACD or 45rpm analog technology." — Audiophile Audition, audaud.com, September 2011
"It's set in a dark, atmospheric musical space that recording engineer Jim Anderson captured perfectly, bathing Barber's sultry voice in a mysterious shroud of reverb created not by artificial means as was common at the time, but by establishing an improvised chamber under some stairs at CRC (Chicago Recording Company) where the record was produced. In fact, it's an even more impressive musical feat all these years later, particularly the backing trio that dazzles with audacious improvisations and lock-step communication even as it clears space for Barber's vocals and meshes effortlessly with her expressive piano. It's jazz of course but John McLean's guitar work brings it into a rock space, while the A&R work that covers everything from 'Ode to Billy Joe' to 'The Thrill is Gone' and Miles' 'Nardis' defies genre-fication." — Michael Fremer, analogplanet.com, Music 9/11, Sound 8/11
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