Top critical review
Rare music back in circulation, ruined by lousy CD mastering
on 6 June 2016
I was so excited about hearing these Krupa recordings, I ordered the CD as soon as it was released. I mean, how great is it to have rare music so readily available again, and at such a low price. However...
Well, unless you're even more desperate than I was to hear these particular recordings, avoid this product. In fact, just avoid all these cheap jazz reissues, released by 'here today, gone tomorrow' companies, who pay virtually nothing to produce these CDs because of copyright expiration. These Krupa recordings are so old that anyone can issue them with no prior permission and keep the profit for themselves.
The mastering/remastering of these CDs is awful. I don't agree with those purists who insist that vinyl is better than CD - in cases like this I don't believe vinyl would make any difference - but the sound compression applied to these recordings makes them very unpleasant to listen to. Whatever your opinion of CD vs vinyl, it's not the CD format that creates this problem here, it's lousy record engineering by cynical companies, putting out cheap products. I believe they have no interest in making anything of quality, they're just mining the reissue market.
My advice to those wanting to hear Krupa in quality is to stick with the official CD releases, issued by Verve. They include the 'The Drum Battle', which features GK playing trio with the amazing Hank Jones (piano) and tenor saxophonist Willie Smith, at a 1952 Jazz at the Philharmonic show. For big band material, seek out the 'Gene Krupa Plays Gerry Mulligan Arrangements' or 'Krupa and Rich'.
My highest recommendation of all would be 'Big Noise From Winnetka: Gene Krupa Live at the London House', which captures one of his quartets live in concert (this is not to be confused with 'The Big Noise from Winnetka', which was a radio broadcast of a completely different performance).