Academy and Grammy ® Award-winning composer/arranger Michel Legrand (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Summer of ’42, The Thomas Crown Affair) was not a household name in America in 1958, but he was renowned among musicians and a life-long fanatic of American jazz and its players. Legrand Jazz is the result of Legrand traveling to America and using his Columbia Records contract to enlist label mates (and soon to be legends) Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers, Ben Webster, Hank Jones, Herbie Mann, Phil Woods, Donald Byrd, Art Farmer, Sheldon Powell, Teo Macero, Milt Hinton, Jimmy Cleveland, and others to record his fantastical reimagining of 11 jazz standards. Not merely content to lay down another Parisian hard-bop play-along, the 27 year old worked against type and expectations at every turn, creating a moody, idiosyncratic landscape for unusual call-and-response chase solos, washes of harp and vibes, and sultry horn canvases. Davis, Coltrane and the others manage to fall in with the diverse, mellow flow of Legrand’s arrangements while keeping their unique musical voices.
You may have heard–and possibly been disappointed by–a recent LP reissue of Legrand Jazz, but where that reissue was sourced from a poor digital copy source, Impex’s pristine new release was mastered by Chris Bellman on Bernie Grundman’s All-Tube cutting lathe from a 2-track, all-analog mix down of the original studio work prints, made especially for Impex Records by Mark Wilder at Battery Studios in New York. The results are relevatory. The large recording space is captured in every detail, while Davis’ full force dynamic variations come through with incredible veracity. The gentle ebb-and-flow of Legrand’s parts highlight microtonal fluctuations on every track. You are along for a magic carpet ride of large jazz ensemble recording when you drop the needle into these grooves.
We have packaged the meticulously recreated outer jacket in a gatefold with an original photo montage inside honoring Michel Legrand’s masterpiece of reinvention and focused fan-boy enthusiasm. This release will be individually numbered up to 3,000! We don’t need to tell you to commande vôtre tôt!
ROBERT H. LEVI, POSITIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE, AUGUST 29, 2017
“With superb performances, exquisite surfaces, perfect LP cutting and pressing, and Impex Records’ extremely high production standards, Legrand Jazz is in my current estimation the ultimate reissue ever. Legrand Jazz is a true reference LP and worth including in any top-notch record library for the jazz aficionado or devoted audiophile.
Well done Impex! Legrand Jazz receives my highest recommendation.”
MICHAEL FREMER, ANALOG PLANET ONLINE, SEPTEMBER 3, 2017
“This IMPEX reissue is sourced from an ‘analog mix-down transfer of the original 1958 work tape by Mark Wilder at Battery Studios’ and cut by Chris Bellman and Bob Donnelly at Bernie Grundman Mastering on Grundman’s all-tube mastering system. I have a clean, original 6-Eye pressing that this superbly pressed reissue betters in every way. This will make both your stereo and your heart sing. Some of the greatest jazz musicians of that or any era wailing and clearly having a Legrand time. Limited to 3000 [numbered] copies. Don’t miss it!”