Sonny Clark Trio - Tompkins Square RSD reissue

Discussion in 'Music Reviews' started by bjlefebvre, Nov 26, 2017.

  1. bjlefebvre

    bjlefebvre AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    This is one of my favorite Sonny Clark albums, so I was intrigued when it got a reissue for Record Store Day this November. I'm not a huge fan of tacking outtakes onto the end of an album - I figure the artist chose the takes he/she thought best, so what's the point of listening to variations for days on end. But hey, I was just glad to see a spotlight on this album, recorded shortly before Clark died.

    The album is one of the few to consist solely of Clark originals. The songs are memorable and the playing superb. The one thing lacking was the sound quality on the original pressings - it was done on the boutique Time label and for whatever reason the SQ was lacking, even on a nice Japanese Teichiku pressing I have. The pressing sounded thin, flat, a little washed out and the bass was almost non-existent.

    The Tompkins Square pressing corrects that SQ problem, I'm happy to say. Clark's piano and George Duvivier's bass have a much more well-rounded tone, and Max Roach's drumming is actually audible where it wasn't before (again, at least on my pressing, on which it almost sounded as if he were confined to cymbals). While still not perhaps a system-bragging album, it's much more natural sounding than earlier pressings, IME.

    Tompkins Square says the album was re-mastered using the original tapes. But as we all know that can mean anything, and looking at the Web site of the company that did the re-mastering, it doesn't look they seem a tad digital friendly. I sent Tompkins Square an email saying I'm impressed on how good this new version sounds and asking more detail on the re-mastering process. But even if digital found its way into the chain at some point, I would still recommend this pressing to anyone interested in this album.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017

     

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  2. dfunghi

    dfunghi AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Was just looking to add some Sonny Clark and wondered what your updated feelings about this are? I ask because I have my eye on an early press from Time for well under the ask ($30) for the RSD sealed. Do you like the ephemera or is it just filler?
     
  3. bjlefebvre

    bjlefebvre AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I would go with the RSD copy just for sound quality alone. I don't know if the cleaned it up digitally or what, but the Tompkin's Square edition is much more listenable. The early Time pressing just sounded blech. I have Japanese King pressings of nearly all my Clark albums - I first got into him when I lived in Tokyo . The Time pressing was much worse sounding than those, and the RSD pressing actually sounds better. The alt takes are interesting, but they're alt takes - some interesting ideas in there musically and some amusing chatter, but I'm always of the mind that the original albums had the takes they did for a reason. The Tompkins Square edition also has a nice essay/photos etc. I'd shoot for that one hands down, unless you want the original Time edition just for the cover art.
     
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  4. bjlefebvre

    bjlefebvre AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Having said that, I'm wondering if the U.S. original Time pressing sounds any better than the Japanese Teichiku pressing.
     
  5. dfunghi

    dfunghi AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    From what I have seen no one complains about them but then again this is not a label many would know. Decided to skip it for now and add funds to the MM Crib purchase.
     

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