The Don Rendell / Ian Carr Quintet Complete Lansdowne Recordings reissue from Jazzman
Posted by: Richard Dane on 13 December 2018
Much anticipated, and with the release delayed a few times, the Don Rendell / Ian Carr Quintet Complete Lansdowne Recordings box set has finally arrived thanks to Jazzman records. My own set arrived today, and I couldn't wait to find out whether the reissues live up to the high expectations. The project itself was something of a labour of love for all concerned, and in particular a great deal of licensing must have been involved, not least for the use of logos etc.. in order to perfectly replicate the album and label artwork.
Unfortunately, with originals fetching four figure sums, there was always the opportunity for some to want to take advantage of what was going to be a limited release of 1000 sets. As it is, there are already resellers asking for many times the original cost of the reissue, so if you successfully managed to order and secure a copy then well done.
Mark Allbones of Grand Vinyl ltd. who organised the packaging and pressing of the reissue posted the following on discogs about the project;
Jazzman had been trying to license these five rare LPs as a "dream" reissue project for many years. It took a long time to persuade and secure publishing/mechanical/artwork rights from Universal and at the time of finally brokering a license (around a year ago) Jazzman was unsure of precisely what the level of demand might be for such an expensive box set. The license cost was astronomical before even considering the manufacturing cost of lookalike flipback sleeves and textured slipcases. 1000 copies were agreed upon primarily because Jazzman LPs are pressed in runs of usually just 1000 apiece. The inked deal sadly does not allow for represses and to do so requires another contract to be agreed. Jazzman is hoping to be able to press more of these LPs in 2019, possibly even just as individual sealed albums, but this is wholly dependant on the agreement of the license holders. As many know, major labels are often laissez-faire about the material they own until it begins to sell through third-party deals like this one and, now that the high demand for this box is more evident, it's possible that Universal will want to release a similar repress themselves; not allowing any other independent label a look-in. Distribution into retail is not controlled by Jazzman, of course. If some stores scored 50 units and others none, that's down to the bulk distributors. I should point out that this item was made available for pre-sale, directly from Jazzman, in September 2018. Once the copies actually arrived with Jazzman HQ in December and were announced online, they unexpectedly sold out in minutes. Jazzman is staffed by one (Jazz) man, however. He has no PR, research, sales or marketing teams to assess exact demand nor immediately respond to huge influxes of emails, social media messages etc. Apologies to those who asked for copies too late and didn't get a timely response. Jazzman has been somewhat inundated. Hinsight is 20-20, as they say. We hope that Jazzman can secure another pressing as soon as possible.
The LPs themselves were analogue mastered and cut by Alex Wharton at Abbey Road Studios. The equipment used included an EMI TG12410 mastering console. Neumann VMS-80 cutting lathe. Manley passive stereo EQ, Shadow Hills valve mastering compressor, and a Studer A80 reel to reel tape deck.
The LPs come in a lovely textured slipcase. Along with the 5 records you also get an illustrated booklet, detailing each LP release and with notes by Ian Carr biographer, Alyn Shipton. If I have a criticism it's that the fit of the slipcase is fairly tight, so getting the individual LPs in and out can be a little tricky.
The LP sleeves are lovely - so nice to see that the artwork is replicated so well, front and back, and what a joy to have flipback sleeves just like the originals.
I'm most impressed that Jazzman managed to secure permission to use the Columbia and Magic Notes trade marks - a very nice touch. The inner sleeves are styled after the ones often used by EMI at the time of the original release but this time showing other Jazzman releases, and, joy of joy, anti-static lined as well! - again, a lovely touch.
Most interesting though is when you come to play the records. I had a quick listen to the first two; Shades of Blue and Dusk Fire. In my opinion these two are worth the entire cost of the set. They are two of the finest British jazz albums ever, and would also easily make my all-time top ten, whatever the country. In fact, with Shades of Blue, make that top five... So when I dropped the needle into the run-in groove and sat back to listen, I was fascinated to hear that although Jazzman have replicated the artwork from the original mono releases, they have actually cut the reissues in Stereo! The Stereo originals to the first two albums were never released, so this is a first on vinyl. Up until now, you had to buy the excellent BGO CD reissue from about 10 years back to hear the (superb) stereo recordings. But now, you can listen on vinyl, and I have to say that my preliminary impression is very favourable.
All I can say is that i'm really looking forward to listening to this set all the way through, and I hope that it turns out to be as good as these early impressions indicate it might well be. If you love jazz then this reissue is a must-buy. Hopefully there are still some copies out there at normal prices, so BUY IT and don't hang about.