[Norton AntiSpam]Re: [JPL] Zenph "re-performance"

Louis Erlanger louisx at myfairpoint.net
Mon Nov 7 11:24:50 EST 2011

I'm not sure there's that much difference between what Zenph is doing and 
"cleaning up" old recordings. When you clean up old recordings you remove 
tiny sections, you change equalization, you compress portions. That's all 
messing with the original tone of the music. Hell, two different microphones 
will reproduce music with two different tones.  Microphone placement changes 
the sound.  When you had turntables, not every turntable was exactly same 
speed, so that intermediary messed with pitch and tempo.  Varying qualities 
of mastering, listening devices, compressed files in iTunes -- they all 
change the quality of the reproduction.  Saxophones and trumpets sound so 
brittle to me in many mp3 files that I can't listen to them.  If Zenph loses 
the swing, that's a serious problem, but some of the other complaints? I 

-----Original Message----- 
From: Lazaro Vega
Sent: Monday, November 07, 2011 11:07 AM
To: jazzproglist at jazzweek.com
Subject: [Norton AntiSpam]Re: [JPL] Zenph "re-performance"

Thanks for the review, Nou. There are factors beyond the control of
Zenph at this point that they can't put into a recording. For me the
Tatum disc was interesting, though there was a stiffness to the rhythm
that I don't recall in Tatum, and not everywhere but in some of the
more elaborate, fast turns -- it's as if the Zenph recording clarified
something that was a blurr. The subjectivity of the reviewer in the NY
Times article is to be trusted, especially in the idea of the
"tensile" line of Gould with each note seemingly squeezed of moisture,
and the more "bell-like" notes on the new recording, and how one might
not have noticed that if not for the comparisons.

The "trouble" I'm having with some of this is the same thing "problem"
I've had with traditional jazz fans in our area before. They'll
complain about King Oliver's music on record and request the same
music played by a more contemporary traditional jazz band because it
"sounds better;" they'll hire a traditional jazz band that plays the
repertoire they love and then argue with me about how it's "better"
because of the sound quality.

It's not a more meaningful contribution to understanding the human
condition through artistic expression because of technology -- if
anything, jazz can reach the soul in ways that dethrone technology's
kingship over the human imagination. And thinking sound quality first
completely ignores the greatness, originality, creativity and just
plain work that the musicians put into the music. So the amazing
technological reproduction will never be more meaningful than the
original. A far more interesting discussion is how Duke Ellington
updated Mood Indigo through the years, or how Darren Johnston's Gone
to Chicago interprets Ornette Coleman's "Love Call" differently or
similarly to how Ornette played it.

Not to say Zenph is making any such claims, but I've heard this
before. If anything, I have more appreciation for the people at Off
The Record who released the King Oliver Creole Jazz Band sides with
more fidelity then they'd ever been presented with before.

And Oscar's MPS/Verve set "Exclusively For My Friends" is beautifully 

Of course, these are my thoughts. The listeners will have a chance to
make up their own minds as we will be playing this Zenph Peterson
thing/guy on the air.

Jazz, which comes to you in the best of taste, from Blue Lake.


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