For more shivers, cue up the SACD of
Kind of Blue
Mark Wilder and Steve Berkowitz have taken the original three-track tapes and transferred them directly to the three front channels of the disc. For the rhythm section, this puts pianist Bill Evans in the left channel, drummer Jimmy Cobb in the right, and bassist Paul Chambers in the center. For the horns, you get tenor saxophonist John Coltrane at left, altoist Cannonball Ad derley at right, and Miles in the middle. The two surround channels are usually reserved for some general ambience, but during solos, Coltrane is nicely shadowed in the left surround, Adderley in the right surround, and Miles in both. Meanwhile, the subwoofer channel is left empty.
The resulting 5.0 SACD is a marvelous surround experience. No tricks, no traps - just an all-encompassing, live-in-the-studio atmosphere. I was startled from behind only once, when Coltrane begins to solo in "Fred die Freeloader." Yet his entrance itself is so strong, especially coming out of Davis's fading exit, that this seems a product of the original recording. As a purely sonic experience, the SACD certainly rivals Columbia/ Legacy's recent "definitive version" of the CD. That disc's bonus track, an alternate take of "Flamenco Sketches," is also here. So, too, it should be said, is the mild distortion atop the horns in the main statements of "All Blues," as well as some tape hiss. But these are minor historical artifacts in a recording that, after all, made history - and you can hear why more clearly than ever before on this fine SACD.
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