Saturday, October 23, 2010

Back to Mono, not really by choice

Playing right now: The Joe Harriott Double Quintet - Indo-Jazz Suite
(I won this in an auction from Jerry's Records, because I heard Ken Vandermark's Harriott tribute album and wanted to hear originals. This is a little different, as the second quintet is a group playing sitar, tabla, etc. Harriott didn't write anything. It's weird, though because Kenny Wheeler's trumpet is clearly off mike.)

Our stereo - if you can call it that, in this day and age - on the first floor is slowly dying. Right now it's only playing one channel. It's not because one of the speakers is out either. (We have a set of speakers connected in the kitchen so we can hear it in both rooms, and if the left channel in the A speakers goes out, its counterpart in B will too.) Something has happened to that channel because we've had this problem before.

The only albums I can get real pleasure out of are mono ones. And it just so happens I found a mono copy of Fresh Cream at Mind Cure (the new used record store in Polish Hill) a few weeks ago. I had to buy it because the stereo pans of that album are so awful (dead channel for almost 15 seconds on "Cat's Squirrel"). And it was only $3. Plus, the original US album took off "Spoonful" and added "I Feel Free." I like both (why didn't they leave "Toad" off?!) but I have the stereo version, which restored "Spoonful" when it was reissued on RSO.

The other record I won from Jerry's was Monk in Italy. It's in stereo and the one channel makes you feel like you're sitting between John Ore's bass and Frankie Dunlop's drums: You can hear Monk and Charlie Rouse but not clearly. I have to get that thing fixed. I'm upstairs now at my 1982 Technics receiver with the direct drive turntable that loves to speed up and slow down, though it hasn't done that yet.

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