on September 13, 2011
Amazon is usually better about keeping reviews for different versions of the same recording separate since these different versions really are separate products. That is not the case here and it really does a disservice to customers since there are five different versions of the recording listed here ranging in price from $14.99 to $78.99.
Let me say up front that the music making on this recording is second to none. Simply put, this recording is a classic and I can't add anything meaningful to the eloquent comments already posted here as they relate to the music and performances. But chances are you already know this if you are thinking of shelling out the big bucks for the one of the high resolution formats on sale here. My comments instead shall be focused on the sound reproduction. Since I own two of the versions here (the SHM-SACD version and the XRCD version from LIM records), I can give you some guidance.
I have a strong interest in high resolution sound formats. You are probably aware of some of them: DVD-Audio, Super-Audio Compact Disc and XRCD in the physical playback media and 24 bit 96KHz .flac files which can be stored on devices such as hard drives, USB memory sticks etc.
A standard CD recording has a sampling rate of 44KHz with a bitrate of 16 bits per sample. DVD-Audio offers sound at 96Khz and 24 bits. DVD-Audio needs a playback device that can play this format; it will not play on a standard CD player. Super-Audio Compact Disc has a sampling rate of 3MHz but a bitrate of only one bit per cycle. Most SACDs on the market appear in a hybrid format, i.e. they can be played on a standard CD player as well as an SACD player (hybrid discs have two distinct layers of digital information: one layer can be read by an SACD player and another can be read by a standard CD player). XRCD is JVC's high resolution playback format. JVC's claim to the success of their medium is the care and superior materials used in the manufacture and mastering and superior algorithms for encoding more sound information into the standard CD format (and thus XRCDs are meant for playback on a standard CD player). Techniques such as using silver instead of aluminum for the reflective layer of the CD are supposed to allow a standard CD player to capture more information on the disc with fewer read errors.
I am not going to debate the merits of any particular sound format here. I will say that SACD appears to be winning the battle of physical playback media formats because of its lower cost and because of the hybrid format.
With these high resolution formats, listeners will hear greater detail and clarity in the instrumental texture and greater warmth of sound due to the greater harmonic range available through the increased amount of musical information (or more accurately increased amount of digital information to reproduce the electric current pressure differentials that in turn activate speakers to generate sound waves).
One of the felicitous benefits of this latest round of recording and playback technologies is the remastering of classic analogue recordings for playback in high resolution digital sound formats. These techniques offer a far superior listening experience than standard CD reproductions of classic recordings in the past.
Which brings us to We Get Requests. There are two high resolution versions of this classic that I know of (and which I own) and both are available here. A third version is on the way.
A major caveat here: The version of WGR in SHM-SACD (Super High Material Super Audio Compact Disc) is NOT a hybrid and is NOT playable on a standard CD player. The theory behind SHM-SACD is that the extra digital information alone is not enough to guarantee the highest listening standard. The materials used in the manufacture of the disc and the care taken in the manufacture are important, too.
So this version of WGR should kick some serious ass in terms of playback. Compared to a standard CD, it will. However, you have got to hear WGR in the XRCD version released by LIM records.
It's important to remember that there is not more digital information on an XRCD than a standard CD. XRCD is still a 44KHz 16 bit sound format. Theoretically, 96KHz 24 bit sound (DVD Audio and flac) or SACD's 3MHz sampling rate should sound better because there is more digital information. I have to admit that I was skeptical about the quality of playback of XRCD compared to the other formats. I am a big fan of the SACD format and I have arguments with the guys at the sound shop I got my stereo from over the superiority of SACD over XRCD. I had a rooting interest in the SHM-SACD version. However, the LIM remastering in XRCD is dazzling, no question about it. It is certainly brighter than the SHM-SACD version ' the cymbals and piano ring with a lively presence missing from the SHM-SACD version. However, there is also depth to the bass that is uncanny so it was not simply a case of the sound engineers jacking up the treble end of the sound spectrum: One feels the vibration of the bowed bass in You Look Good To Me as much as one hears it.
Which brings up another crucial factor. The sound reproduction of a recording will only be as good as the mastering or remastering, no matter what the sampling rate is. For my ear, the LIM recording is the superior remastering.
I got both versions for the express purpose of comparing the two formats. The jury is still out for me as to whether one format is better than the other but in this case, for me, the XRCD version from LIM wins hands down.
I found it annoying that the liner notes in the SHM-SACD were not translated from the Japanese. I guess that is the risk inherent in buying an import recording. Still, I really would have liked to read these particular liner notes.
The LIM recording isn't cheap but it is cheaper than the SHM-SACD. And it is worth the price! If however you still want the SHM-SACD version, you should troll the internet for a cheaper price. It's out there.
on January 15, 2001
That's about the only way I can describe my new found love for this master of jazz piano playing. Anyone who knows almost nothing about jazz knows names like Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Paul Gonsalves, Erroll Garner, etc., but can rarely ever identify their work in a "crowd". I was the same way about Oscar Peterson and his magnificent trio. Being a saxophone fan, I have more than enough Stan Getz and Johnny Hodges and Dexter Gordon in my collection (if there can be "enough" of that wonderful music!) and decided to try something else for my ever growing collection of 900+ cds. Thankfully, the titles on this particular disc drew me in. Oscar and his trio were very tight knit and very much in synch with each other, and the results are more than evident here. Treatments of "People", "Quiet Nights" and "Days Of Wine & Roses" are nothing short of magnificent. I particularly enjoyed the swagger and swing of "Days Of Wine & Roses". One of the longer gems on this set is "My One And Only Love", a done-to death standard that has withstood the test of time. (Lynne Arriale's another fine pianist who covered this one in the early 90's with similarly beautiful results) Oscar segues from time to time to other well-known tunes during this piece and evokes smiles while placing a gentle tag of his own on this evergreen. Perhaps my most favorite piece on this disc comes in the little known "You Look Good To Me", with its touching intro (and close) and the utter jam session in between while never straying from what I believe the composers meant by the title. An excellent starting point to your soon to be large Oscar Peterson collection!
on July 10, 2001
This is one of my most favourite albums. The liner notes, both the original unacredited notes but presumbly by producer Jim Davis, and Phil Bailey's reissue notes, are much what you would expect on an album from one of jazz's greatest trios. Pure extascy. Both speak of Peterson's incredible virtuosity, and the seamlessness of the trio. Both compliments are certainly deserved, but the excesive laudation does get in the way of appreciatinq a truly fantastic recording. That's not to say that the music is not well above par. It certainly is. They even brinq a new face to the Girl From Ipanema. The solo voices are also very well developed. In each tune the soloist actually has something to say - whether it be Peterson, Brown or Thigpen - and the remaining players don't hold him back or try to dominate. Its not an understatement to describe "We Get Requests" as exhibiting the famed synchronicity of the Oscar Peterson Trio's live performances.
on March 3, 1999
While the music and performances on the disc are truly classic (easy 5 stars), the recording leaves a lot to be desired (2-3 stars). While the drums and bass actually "sound" pretty good, the drums are panned hard left and the bass hard right, placing the sound directly on top of the speakers and ruining the soundstage. Further, the piano sounds very stange (kind of a phased-metallic overtone) on many of the songs.
While the disc overall is still extremely enjoyable, with reasonable recording practices, it could have made my "hall of fame".
on July 20, 2000
Oscar Peterson isn't called the swinger for nothing, as this classic album demonstrates. Covering current pop hits of the day like "The Days Of Wine And Roses", "People", and especially their version of "Corcovado" which opens the album, the trio casts them in a new light with uniquely different arrangements that showcase their tight rhythmic playing. Great liner notes in the booklet and an excellent 20-bit remaster make this album seem new again. A great album and one of the best in the Verve catalog, period.
on May 8, 2000
I've been getting more and more into jazz over the past few months, and so I try to find recordings that have a classic jazz sound, but that also go a little bit out. "We Get Requests" doesn't stray very far from the classic jazz sound, I think, but the music on this album is fresh and exciting. Through a lot of online trading and an occasional purchase myself, I've amassed a jazz CD collection of over 200 CDs and this is easily one of my favorites.