“Percussion in Hi-Fi Vol. II” – Dick Schory’s Percussion Pops Orchestra (TrackList follows) – HDTT DVD-R with 192K/24-bit stereo tracks, 1:04:24 (avail. various formats at www.highdeftapetransfers.com) *****:
The sources which HDTT used for these two masterful hi-res reissues were two 1963 pre-recorded open reel tapes from RCA Victor: Politely Percussive and Supercussion.
Recorded in Orchestra Hall in Chicago with members of the Chicago Symphony and others, the arrangements are all by Dick Schory, whose Music for Bang, Bas-Room and Harp has been one of the all-time top audiophile demo recordings. Some have called this style of music Space Age Pop.
Schory hails from Ames, Iowa, and in his youth there were no percussion teachers there, so his father taught him the fundamentals. He later founded one of the first college percussion ensembles, at Northwestern, which evolved into the Percussion Pops Orchestra. The band eventually grew into a 22-piece ensemble which toured every year for 15 years. He was also education director for the Ludwig Drum Company. Schory often brought in guest soloists, and for these two RCA studio sessions he had drummer Joe Morello (from the Dave Brubeck Quartet) and vibist Gary Burton. They both do some terrific solos in these 24 numbers—a dozen from each of the stereotapes.
There are some great arrangements here, and although there’s not much real jazz improvising, the music is not the extreme cut-and-dried show-off stuff on many of the demo stereo LPs and tapes of this period. Some great tunes such as “Take the A Train,” “Perdido”, “Autumn Leaves”, and “Summertime” are included. The stereo is in the style of most early stereo of this period—a pronounced left-and-right placement and a big hole in the middle. I ran the hi-res source thru the analog option on my Integra preamp, which allowed me to use the ProLogic IIz height feature. The resulting soundfield was in some ways actually superior to the 5.1 surround field obtained with many multichannel SACDs. I think the super-high-res of the stereo source contributes greatly to this; there is more phase information there for the pseudo-surround software to work on to create a workable surround field. You may want to turn up your center channel if you do this, because ProLogic IIz was not able to produce enough volume level to quite fill the center hole. There will be instruments off to the side and back on many of the 24 tracks.
At my age I can’t hear any difference between 192K and 96K any longer, but if you’re young enough and haven’t destroyed your hearing, these super-hi-res 192K files will probably be more than worthwhile to you. HDTT employs the tweakiest high-end mastering equipment in their reissues both from tapes and vinyl, and there is absolutely no hint of tape hiss on these remasterings, nor does one hear surface noise on the LP transfers.
TrackList: I Get a Kick Out of You, Playboy’s Theme, Baby Bossa Nova, Summertime, Satin Doll, Lover, Baubles Bangles and Beads, Shim-Wha, Quiet Bossa Nova, Sleep Time Gal, Little Brown Jug, Night Train, Take the “A” Train, Perdido, On Green Dolphin Street, Nomad, Autmun Leaves, Hindustan, A String of Pearls, Shimboo, Stompin’ at the Savoy, Bijou, The Brush Off, Krazy Kwilt