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  Universal (Japan) -
  Sonny Rollins: Way Out West
  "Way Out West"

Sonny Rollins
Track listing:
  Single Layer
Recording type:
Recording info:
  Previously released as UCGO-9009

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Related titles: 2

Reviews: 5 show all

Review by Espen R February 15, 2011 (5 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
A true jazz classic album has now been released as an SHM-SACD.
This is an incredible good transfer. It outperforms the Doug Sax SACD issued by Analogue Productions by far. And it doesn't have this fake added reverb to it, as the AP SACD has.
The sound is incredible open, smooth, analogue, with textures in spades. All the instruments has so much body and presence to them, it's almost scary. I can't think of this digital transfer can be topped. The Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section SHM-SACD is on pair with this DSD transfer and I added a review of it a month back.

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Review by analogue April 12, 2011 (4 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
The previous reviewers are entirely correct. A great classic jazz album made all the more glorious with this new dsd transfer.

This is Rollins best album by far and one of my all time favourite jazz releases ever. Rollins brought a fascinating and original approach to the sax. And with great humour I might add.

The previous Doug Sax mastered sacd is still a wonderful listen but I feel it has been very much bested by this magnificent new shm-sacd. Universal Japan must be using some terrific new hardware to get this quality and also adding their own personal tastes to the dsd tranfer process.....and we have this new disc to enjoy because of it.

The original sacd is great but was also a tad compressed. It was also mixed differently. It was no where near as organic sounding as this new sacd.

If you want the best sound quality however.......the volume must be turned up louder than usual due to no compression being used. This is a flat transfer. Then things will pop into focus. If this isnt done the disc may appear tame to you.

The sheer realism....all the analogue beauty of the original recording comes out in spades. This new disc also sounds very fresh and new. Kinda hard to explain really. It is very beautiful sounding.

The two best qualities this new sacd possesses are....1) it is extremely relaxed and open compared to the previous disc which was ever so sharp, slighly louder and etched. And 2) It is so much more organic almost like a slow moving pool of sound which makes the listener just relax.

All instruments are rendered beautifully and I really cant fault this release in any way.

Superb and highly recommended. I dont think people can create this kind of music anymore. Its from a period of time where humans simply thought about things differently than we do today.

Turn it up.


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Review by Little Nemo July 20, 2012 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
To those comparing the SHM SACD with the Analogue Productions SACD: a little background is in order.

Unfortunately Doug Sax - or his research staff - has made some really bad blunders and secured several second- or third-generation tapes, thinking he had the originals, despite the rather hissy quality and even dubbed reverb on many. Very very poor form indeed.
These included such titles as Rollins' Way Out West, Rollins' Saxophone Colossus, Cannonball Adderley's Know What I Mean, and a few others. In every single case that I have heard, there is a superior red book (CD) version that uses the genuine master tape. For example, Way Out West XRCD, Saxophone Colossus DCC, Know What I Mean DCC, etc. In fact, in all these examples, the actual studio session tapes were then used as masters (i.e. no mixing stage required) as they were all recorded direct to either 2-track stereo or 1-track mono tape. So one can think of these as "zero generation" masters! Sax appears to have obtained 2nd or 3rd gen copies, wetted with reverb for LP production.

In this context it is not surprising that the SHM is superior to the AP. However, SHM SACDs are usually NOT from the original master tapes. The only way to be sure (other than trusting your ears) is to examine the cover text for the word "master," which does appear in a minority of issues. "Original tapes" or "original Japanese tapes" does NOT mean "master" (i.e. earliest generation of the final mastered sound). Still, this one is clearly from a better source than the AP.

The Way Out West XRCD and MFSL issues both used the original master (session) tapes and sound better for it: more "up front," more immediate and dynamic. My preference is the XRCD. It just shows that a good source + excellent mastering is more important than absolute digital resolution. The SHM SACD is still warm and smooth but sounds like a tape copy - albeit an excellent one. You really have to hear the XRCD or MFSL to realise that the SHM is not the last word on this album, despite all the platitudes heaped on it by some reviewers here. Still, if SACD is a 'must' for you, then the SHM is the one to get.

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