For readers who like big band music we have selected a real audiophile production, mastered by the Dutch company STS-Digital, cut and pressed in Germany on 180 grams vinyl. Tunes by Duke Ellington, George Gershwin and Cole Porter are among tracks like ‘Don’t Get Around Much Anymore’, ‘Our Love Is Here To Stay’ and ‘Love For Sale’. Next to piano, drums, guitar and bass the All Times Bigband encompasses a brass section with trumpet, trombone, bass/tenor/alto and baritone saxophone, next to singers of both sexes. They take you back into the good old days when big bands were the main attraction at jazz festivals. When the lady sings ‘Our Love Is Here To Stay’ she takes me to a concert hall and makes my feet swing into the air. On ‘Mack The Knife’ a deep male voice opens the song that is arranged by the conductor especially for these musicians.
STS-Digital produces high quality recordings in close cooperation with manufacturers of high end audio equipment. The Crimson Investigation points to the Crimson cartridge by Van den Hul that was used for playback checks. Other brands in use in the studio are AudioQuest and Siltech for cables, Metrum Acoustics for the D/A conversion, Grandinote amplifiers and Dr. Feickert Analogue playback systems. All brought together by Fritz de With, owner of the company and the man responsible for the sound quality. The STS-Digital sound may not be the most neutral you can find, but it’s very easy on the ear. Full of detail in nice stereo sound stages with a light emphasis on the bass notes giving a slightly warm sound, making big bands that can sound too harsh with all those brass instruments easier to enjoy. The end result is a record that can be used to show your friends what a great sound system you have, but as soon as they are gone you can enjoy the music on your own too. Recording and pressing are among the best you can find, although it won’t surpass the original Harry James King James Version on direct-to-disc Sheffield vinyl. But that sold out long ago, which is all the more reason to enjoy The Crimson Investigation instead. Turn up the volume a little more than normal to really get involved and the uncompressed and undistorted recording will let draw you in.
René van Es