Here we have an absolute jazz classic. It’s probably the most famous of Oscar Peterson’s recorded works and, as the album’s title suggests, it’s a real crowd pleaser – a kind of ‘best of’ featuring ten hugely popular songs of the era. I’ve been listening to this album in various formats for several decades, since my early 20s, but it’s equally a great album for anyone who’s just dipping into, or beginning to discover, jazz. Oscar Peterson has a way of playing that’s seems so easy and accessible (I say ‘seems’ because obviously it takes huge mastery to achieve this!). Somehow he makes even the most complex and multi-layered compositions feel effortless to listen to, without sacrificing any of their complexity.
So, here I am in the video below chatting about the album, the artists, the recording, and Analogue Productions’ journey in seeking out the original masters in order to create superb quality releases on both vinyl and tape (not all of the masters were in great condition, which ultimately led to the creation of a ‘new’ master – and that turned out to be even better – more on which in the video!).
Then I delve into my usual experiment, comparing vinyl and tape versions of the album. The sound of my vinyl pressing (which is a UK reissue I’ve had since the 1980s) is stellar, and so that’s where I start by way of a reference. Then I unpack the tape, with its high quality inserts (studio notes, a replica of the original album cover and notes, etc) and dive in. Wow! No matter how many times I do this, I start off thinking “Oh man, this album sounds incredible on vinyl, how much better can a tape really be, am I going to have to eat my words and quit my R2R rambling…?”. And then the tape takes things to a whole new level. Seriously, it never fails to surprise me, even though I’m already a total convert! So in the video I try to unpack what specifically sounds different.
Spoiler alert – final verdict: I can’t recommend this tape highly enough and suspect it will become one of my most-played master copies.
There are lots of excellent videos on the Acoustic Sounds’ YouTube channel about the creation of these Ultra tapes and I’d encourage you to check them out – here’s one example:
And here’s where you can find out more / buy the tape: https://store.acousticsounds.com/d/153941/Oscar_Peterson-We_Get_Requests-14_Inch_-_15_IPS_Tape