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Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers
Keystone 3

Review By Scott Faller 
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Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers Keystone 3

LP Number: Pure Audiophile (PA-008) 


  Hello there again jazz and vinyl fans. Here's some more great news. Dennis Cassidy of Pure Audiophile Records and Stan Ricker have paired up again to cut some more really juicy vinyl. This time it's Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Keystone 3, on 180 gram Red translucent vinyl. Dennis has worked out a deal with Concord Records and has gotten access to their vault of fabulous jazz treasures. The original Keystone 3 release (Concord CJ-196) is arguably one of the best known Jazz Messengers releases. It has become one of the true 'must have' jazz releases for your collection. This album includes some jazz greats such as Donald Brown on Piano, Charles Fambrough on the double bass, Branford Marsalis on Alto, Wynton Marsalis on trumpet and Bill Pierce on Tenor. This original set was recorded live at the Keystone Corner in San Francisco in 1982.

The album includes the Jazz Messengers interpretations of "Monks In Walked Bud", Duke Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood" and original from Wynton Marsalis called "Waterfalls." Along with the other tracks on this release, Dennis has included a bonus track not on the original release called "Controversy." This is a Donald Harrison number from the New York Scene disc which can be found on the Jazz Messengers Coast to Coast release.

Unlike the original release, Pure Audiophiles Keystone 3 is a double album in a gatefold package. This means that the second disc (sides three and four) have 10 and 11 minute long songs (respectively). In turn, Stan made sure the grooves were wide enough apart to handle all of the transient information that was on the original analog tapes. The grooves on these sides have plenty of spacing and in turn Stan didn't have to compress the signal as much as he may have had to if he were squeezing them onto a 20 minute side. All of the sides benefit sonically from easing the time restrictions placed on vinyl mastering gurus like Stan.

Stan has done something a little bit different this time around. On most every record we own, the leadout groove takes your cartridge out to the label where it finds the locked groove. In turn if you have a clamp or weight that is a little wide, your cart can bounce off the clamp repetitively until you can carry your lazy bones over to lift the arm. On this release, rather than the leadout groove crossing the deadwax to the label, Stan gives us a couple of revolutions, then hits the locked groove keeping your super expensive cartridge well away from the label. Great idea Stan, not sure why nobody hasn't thought of that one before.

So if you are a hardcore Bop fan and own a turntable, this is a must have. The taps on the cymbals are clean crisp and full of air. The bass (as always) is firm and delivered by the truckload. The vinyl is flat as a pancake. I've never an issue of warps with any of the Pure Audiophile products (and I own them all). Surface noise is minimal and well on par with any re-releases out there. This is one of Dennis and Stan's best releases to date.

For me, the killer cut on this release is "A La Mode." These guys knew how to jam. Owning the original vinyl release, the CD and the SACD, Dennis's vinyl version simply blows all of the others away sonically. This is Pure Audiophile release highly recommended.




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