Various – The Famous Sound Of Three Blind Mice Vol. 1 (2xLP, IMPEX)
- Release details
Ever since Impex Records began remastering and reissuing the legendary albums of the Japanese jazz label Three Blind Mice, audiophile jazz fans around the world have been waiting hopefully for the same loving special treatment to be given to a compilation - but not just any compilation, rather the ultimate compilation of the label's best tracks, selected in 1998 by label founder Takeshi "Tee" Fujii and released on CD under the title "The Famous Sound Of Three Blind Mice".
Now the time has finally come, and the exquisite best-of album is available for the first time on vinyl in the quality it deserves as a double LP.
Fujii's selection, which can rightly be considered canonical, drew from the Tokyo label's most gloriously productive period in the 1970s, when Japan's jazz scene suddenly came to life with the energy and dedication so characteristic of the country. The first track is "Aqua Marine" from cellist Isao Suzuki's 1973 album "Blow Up". Here the bar is set mighty high right at the beginning: Suzuki's crazy cello playing and the extatic-psychedelic sound of his quartet hardly let you sit still. And right after that follows Tsuyoshi Yamamoto, one of the label's biggest names. His bluesy grooving "Midnight Sugar" from the 1974 album of the same name has become a real classic. This is followed by the originally set big band sound of Tatsuya Takahashi & Tokyo Union in the Latin-funky "Midnight Sunrise," and if you want to take a breath after this powerful discharge of energy, you can do so immediately by listening to Ayako Hosokawa's velvety voice in "The Lady Is A Tramp."
A total of nine different artists and ten different albums are represented on "The Famous Sound Of Three Blind Mice," from piano trio to full big band. Some of the albums, such as ""Greensleeves" by guitarist Shoji Yokouchi, have already been reissued in lavish single editions by Impex, while others, such as Toshiyuki Miyama's stunning big band record "The New Herd," have not yet been remastered. But even those who already own some or even all of these albums in one version or another can't go wrong when they pick up "The Famous Sound Of Three Blind Mice".
The analog remastering from the original tapes was procured at Bernie Grundman Mastering by Chris Bellman. Those who know Three Blind Mice know what excellent material Bellman was allowed to work with, because this label has always attached the greatest importance to perfectly made recordings (sound engineer Yoshihio Kannari was responsible for most of them). Chris Bellman tickles the last out of the tapes with sensitivity: whether opulent sounds or chamber music instrumentation, spatial sound or intimate miking, fine details or the great balance - nothing is lost here, on the contrary. Warm and transparent sound, silky basses and crystal clear highs. And on top of that, both LPs sound from front to back as if from one cast, which is the highest art of mastering for such a compilation. All in all, one can only say one thing: buy it!
Mastering by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Los Angeles, USA.
The double album comes on 180g heavy audiophile vinyl in a sturdy gatefold cover.