MPS is Most Promising Sound

The last time I entered an independent music store and asked if they had anything by George Duke in stock, the response I received was a very long, dull, blank stare followed by: “George who?” The same goes for the many of the Zappa alumni from the early to mid-70s. It’s as though they’ve been completely forgotten by the present music store owners and their databases. One cannot completely fault them, though, as much of the music from that period is out-of-print, or has never been issued on CD.

Luckily, a small German label, Promising Music, has gained access to a range of more than 400 titles of the MPS catalogue (which is owned by Universal Classics & Jazz, a division of Universal Music GmbH, Berlin/Germany). They have reissued Don ‘Sugarcane’ Harris‘s classic Sugar Cane’s Got The Blues and George Duke’s Faces In Reflection, (both of which I have already gleefully ordered) with intentions of reissuing other Duke classics such as ‘I Love the Blues, She Heard My Cry’, ‘Feel’, and ‘Liberated Fantasies’.

All promising music releases are as close to the vinyl original as a CD format can be.

  • All discs have black vinyl design (with a groove!)
  • All CDs are packaged in downsize replicas of original LP, incl inner sleeves
  • All CDs feature an extra booklet with legible reprints of liner notes and all original informations, as well as additional retrospective comments
  • The subtle re-mastering is trying to get as close as possible to the warmth of the vinyl originals

Until the CDs arrive, in particular the Sugarcane reissue, I can satisfy myself listening to the five RealAudio excerpts of Don ‘Sugarcane’ Harris available for free download here.

18 Responses to “MPS is Most Promising Sound”

  1. EH says:

    Hm. What sounds good EQ’d and mastered for vinyl doesn’t necessarily sound all that hot on CD. Just a thought.

  2. Roland says:

    Didn´t George Duke play in FZ band for a while, urbangrafitto? That might be a hint! ;-)

  3. bernard says:

    Good to learn about that, Urban.
    It’s basically about jazzrock. A genre which proved to be rather unfertile in the medium & long term, however some of it was – according to my humble taste- truly good music.
    And they have even taken Don Cherry ( pocket trumpet) on board. He was great, his daughter Nenah, who’s much more popular than her father ever was, will have to eat a lot of carrots if she would endeavor to reach the same musical level & honesty.

    My guess,is that , no : I know that quite a lot of similar small labels exist & persist in Europe.

  4. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from EH:

    Hm. What sounds good EQ’d and mastered for vinyl doesn’t necessarily sound all that hot on CD. Just a thought.

    Given the recent developments in CD compression since the format first emerged in the 80s, I’m hopeful that the remastering of these classic albums will do them justice (it is a German label after all, known for high quality). But you do have a point, EH. Given my rabid appetite for music Zappa related, though, I am probably the perfect person to order these discs first (and let everyone else know how well they sound, or not). This won’t stop me from seeking them out on vinyl as well.

    A quote from Roland:

    Didn´t George Duke play in FZ band for a while, urbangrafitto? That might be a hint! ;-)

    I’ve long since grown tired of educating music store owners on Zappa alumni. If it’s not in their database, it doesn’t exist for them, simple as that. Hint or no hint. Sad but true.

  5. bernard says:

    By the way. did you notice the performance GKs schedule ?

    Both cruises & academies.

  6. bernard says:

    Now again the advantages of border crossing. And possible results. How FZ & the like enabled many people to think differently. In various areas.

    I’m an economist. What I like the most is the post autistic economic network.
    http://www.paecon.net/

  7. Roland says:

    It´s “MusikProduktion Schwarzwald” and it will be wonderful. I downloaded some of G. Duke´s albums through a link from here (KUR), before Zappa´s widow made this site change into it´s latest outfit. I know his solo work for a long time and really love “I love the blues, she heard my cry”. So I hope for you urban, that the money it worth it. ;-)

  8. Jamez says:

    George Duke albums are well worth purchasing. I’ve got about 5 or 6 on vinyl.

  9. Hugh says:

    It would be nice to have a record store like in the movie “High Fidelity” in every town. We had a bunch in my hometown in the late 70′s. The last music store in the neighborhood closed a year ago. Very sad.

    A quote from Hugh:

    All discs have black vinyl design (with a groove!)

    I’ve seen these and they look great. Some have the old record labels on them made to look like mini albums.

    Just picked up Jean-Luc Ponty Experience with the George Duke Trio CD. One of “UrbanG Top Live Album Picks”. It’s an excellent piece of music, one of the earliest jazz-fusion albums captured live!
    Thanks UrbanG for the heads up on the above site as well.

  10. vrnzr says:

    A quote from vrnzr:

    with intentions of reissuing other Duke classics such as ‘I Love the Blues, She Heard My Cry’, ‘Feel’, and ‘Liberated Fantasies’.

    ‘I Love the Blues, She Heard My Cry’, ‘Liberated Fantasies’ and ‘The Aura Will Prevail’ are the only orig. MPS already having been available on CD for years, as
    ‘Three Originals’ 2-CD set

    http://www.amazon.de/Three-Originals-Prevail-Liberated-Fantasies/dp/B0000046Q9/ref=sr_1_22?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1208854681&sr=1-22

  11. bernard says:

    By the way Jean Luc Ponty is still playing violin within the broad limits of jazz rock:
    http://www.ponty.com/

  12. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from vrnzr:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    with intentions of reissuing other Duke classics such as ‘I Love the Blues, She Heard My Cry’, ‘Feel’, and ‘Liberated Fantasies’.

    ‘I Love the Blues, She Heard My Cry’, ‘Liberated Fantasies’ and ‘The Aura Will Prevail’ are the only orig. MPS already having been available on CD for years, as
    ‘Three Originals’ 2-CD set

    http://www.amazon.de/Three-Originals-Prevail-Liberated-Fantasies/dp/B0000046Q9/ref=sr_1_22?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1208854681&sr=1-22

    Yes. They may have been available “on CD for years, as ‘Three Originals’ 2-CD set” but the quality of that recording is really quite substandard, in my opinion. The compression is really quite bad, and too many errors cropped up in some of the tracks (i.e. skips, etc) like a monkey had engineered the CD.

    It’s my hope that this smaller German label will do more justice to these albums. I’ll let you know.

  13. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Hugh:

    It would be nice to have a record store like in the movie “High Fidelity” in every town. We had a bunch in my hometown in the late 70′s. The last music store in the neighborhood closed a year ago. Very sad.

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    All discs have black vinyl design (with a groove!)

    I’ve seen these and they look great. Some have the old record labels on them made to look like mini albums.

    Just picked up Jean-Luc Ponty Experience with the George Duke Trio CD. One of “UrbanG Top Live Album Picks”. It’s an excellent piece of music, one of the earliest jazz-fusion albums captured live!
    Thanks UrbanG for the heads up on the above site as well.

    Listen very closely to the last track, “Starlight, Starbright” on Jean-Luc Ponty Experience with the George Duke Trio, Hugh. A certain uncredited composer sat in at the end of this particular night’s festivities.

  14. Hugh says:

    A quote from Hugh:

    A certain uncredited composer sat in at the end of this particular night’s festivities.

    I listened quite closely a few times but couldn’t put a finger on it. I know Cannonball Adderley and Frank Zappa were in the audience that night but I don’t hear any sax or guitar?! Do tell, UrbanG.

  15. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Hugh:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    A certain uncredited composer sat in at the end of this particular night’s festivities.

    I listened quite closely a few times but couldn’t put a finger on it. I know Cannonball Adderley and Frank Zappa were in the audience that night but I don’t hear any sax or guitar?! Do tell, UrbanG.

    6:02 to 6:32. I distinctly hear the plucking of jazz guitar, along with piano, bass, drums, and of course, violin. Or am I hearing things, Hugh?

  16. Hugh says:

    Perhaps you’re hearing a better quality version than me. Cause I’m just not hearing it. UrbanG, are saying Fz jumped in for just 30 seconds?

  17. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Hugh:

    Perhaps you’re hearing a better quality version than me. Cause I’m just not hearing it. UrbanG, are saying Fz jumped in for just 30 seconds?

    That’s the general consensus, Hugh. Whether or not his contribution was actually recorded during this particular performance has long been a matter of debate among Zappa freaks and audiophiles. If anything, it makes us listen to this album that much more intently.

  18. Hugh says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    A quote from Hugh:

    If anything, it makes us listen to this album that much more intently.

    I haven’t picked apart a song like that in a long time. It nice to focus intensely on something other than my heating bill!

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