Master Tape Copies
Jonathan Horwich, of International Phonograph, Inc., has been recording jazz musicians since the mid-1960s. Now, both from newly recorded performances, and from his collection of jazz analog masters, he is making one-to-one tape copies available to those with tape decks. Primary to any of these tapes is the quality of music, which always takes precedence over any other consideration or reason for publication. These tapes are being made available to the public so these singular moments in jazz can be heard in their highest quality form.
There are two categories of tape made available by International Phonograph, Inc. The first is jazz (or sometimes classical music) newly recorded specifically on tape for IPI's analog program. These performances are recorded using custom, analog tape recorders. Normally, the tape consists of about 30 minutes of music on one 10.5" reel of tape. These recordings can be created with two microphones or multi microphones. The second category of tapes produced for IPI is master tapes from IPI's library of jazz, and some classical, recorded over the years by Jonathan or those he associated with. These are for the jazz aficionado who loves jazz as a priority and enjoys hearing it on a high quality media, analog tape.
All tapes sold are ¼” two track, 15ips, IEC (CCIR), on 10.5 inch reels, at 250 nanowebers.
The Fat Babies, Thumpin’ and Bumpin,’ 26 April 2017—Chicago Illinois
Groups that play early-period (pre-World War II) jazz are very rare. Even rarer still are groups that can do so competently and convincingly. The Fat Babies are the real deal. Consisting of an eight-member jazz band, they enthusiastically embrace the music of the pre bebop era (pre Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie) and do so with drive, energy, and muscle. Their love for the music of this period in jazz manifests itself in a buoyant and uplifting energy that is absolutely infectious. Here they are recorded with the natural ambience of a 1930's nightclub straight to a custom Studer/Revox 8-track complete with old-school tube and ribbon microphones reminiscent of the era. The result is a rare, sonic and musical treasure.
Makaya McCraven Quartet, 10 March 2016 – Chicago Illinois
Makaya McCraven is not your typical jazz drummer. No indeed he is not. His music spans so many generations of jazz and he and his groups are always pushing the boundaries of jazz and in an unique way. Case in point, here he is found with a quartet (drums, vibes, bass and cello) of world class musicians playing rhythmic layers and textures of sound somewhat reminiscent of Miles’ “In A Silent Way.” Further enhancing the experience, the sound was captured on the highest quality equipment using a custom Studer 8-track tape deck and world-renown vintage tube microphones. The result is a recording of startling presence and of natural sound. Many have commented that the vibes and drum sound on this recording are as good as ever recorded. Combined with an original, yet easy-to-listen-to performance, this is a true gem of modern jazz and a true delight for those interested in the highest quality sound.
Clifford Jordan Quartet, October 1987 – Baltimore, Maryland
This remarkable set was recorded live at Ethel’s in 1987, and the CD issue of it has developed an underground following for years. For the first time, part of the full performance recorded by Pierre Sprey of Mapleshade Records is now available on tape. As Pierre himself said, recording live is always a gamble. But when it pays off, nothing beats it for excitement and presence. In this case, the sound is stunning. Clifford’s gorgeous tone comes through loud and clear on these performances. He doesn’t sound like John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Lester Young, or Coleman Hawkins; he sounds like himself. Adding to the high quality result, the rhythm section does a brilliant job working with Clifford, never playing a weak or subservient role, but driving the quality to an even higher echelon with its own unique approach. A true gem.
Christian Jacob, Beautiful Jazz, November 2013 – Los Angeles, CA
Christian Jacob, the Grammy nominated French pianist and arranger, is captured here in a stunning solo piano recital, Beautiful Jazz. Aptly titled, the playing is dedicated to the music that drew Christian away from the classical world and introduced him to the beautiful world of jazz. His superb technique and original concept are in abundant evidence – to wit, listen to Body and Soul’s sensitive and masterful execution.
The performance was recorded at the Herbert Zipper Concert Hall, Los Angeles, on a Hamburg Steinway Model D Grand, direct to a Nagra IVs tape recorder. Two Klaus Heyne modified U-87s and two AKG 460Bs are used on the piano and a pair of B&K omnidirectional 4003’s captured the room’s natural sound.
As an additional note, at the time of this writing (September 2016), Christian composed and orchestrated the music to the new Clint Eastwood film, Sully, starring Tom Hanks.
Clare Fischer, Jazz Song, 9 May 1973 – Studio City, CA
This is among my top ten favorite solo piano performances of all time, whether on tape, vinyl, or CD. Covering both standards and originals, it captures a true genius of jazz at the height of his playing powers and what made him so unique. Here we find Clare at his most reflective, probing the rich, deep harmonies inherent in each song. Each performance is unrehearsed and is the first and only take, creating a wholly natural and unadorned sequence. Perhaps contributing to the relaxed and unhurried approach found here, the music was recorded in Clare’s living room on the legendary Stellavox SP 7 tape recorder using just two mics. The result is a simple unaltered sound and brilliant piano playing.
Richie Beirach, Rendevous, 1981 – Tampa, FL
Richie Beirach, a brilliant and singular jazz pianist who recorded several stellar albums for the ECM label, is captured here with bassist George Mraz in a concert hall setting befitting such majestic music. Heard with all the air and space present in any such concert setting, the music is both easy to listen to and sublime. Recorded with just two omni directional microphones and a specially modified Levinson Studer ML 5 (A80) tape recorder, the stunning recording quality perfectly reflects and mirrors the music. This is jazz, played in a concert symphony environment, at its finest.
Jazz Sampler #1
This is the first of the sampler tapes (both jazz and classical) that IPI will release. The samplers will fulfill two purposes: 1) They provide excerpts for those who wish to know what a particular IPI performance sounds like before purchase of the full tape; 2) They provide a full listening experience for those who want a set of varied performances on one tape.
Sampler #1 consists of:
1. Jason Roebke – Shimmering (one of the best acoustic bass and vibraphone recordings ever)
2. Bobby Broom — Sweet and Lovely (Chicago guitarist playing gorgeously and captured naturally)
3. Stan Getz – Quintet (Getz plays with young musicians and as well as he ever did)
4. Lee Konitz – The Portland Sessions (brilliant modern European influenced jazz recorded in an ideal auditorium with a custom-made piano accompanying)
5. Jeremy Kahn – Duets (direct to two-track using one custom stereo tube microphone, giving the ultimate in natural sound)
Lee Konitz / Martial Solal, The Portland Sessions, February 1979 – Portland, OR
Lee Konitz is considered by many, including this writer, to be a genius in jazz. His historic work with Warne Marsh as part of the Tristano school of jazz has never been surpassed. Later, after his work in the Tristano school, his tone and harmonies moved away from that strict structure into something very much his own -- and very classical and European. Here, Konitz is in duet with the great European pianist, Martial Solal, whose playing compliments and interweaves with Konitz perfectly. The playing is stellar. Fortuitously, I captured the performance on a Levinson/Studer ML5 30ips tape deck, with just two B&K omnidirectional instrument microphones, in a gorgeous hall on one of the greatest pianos ever built, the Mark Allen concert grand. After hearing this recording several times recently, I believe it embodies all that I have tried to achieve with jazz in concert with great audio. A musical and audio gem.
Jeremy Kahn / Howard Levy, Chicago Meeting, March 2015 – Chicago, IL
The harmonica in jazz is indeed a rare bird. Unusual in sound and difficult to play, it is almost never found on jazz records. Have you ever heard a harmonica on a Blue Note session? I think not. Yet, it is common in others genres of music, such as the blues (maybe because it portable and inexpensive). But, here we have a multiple Grammy winner and true master of the harmonica, Howard Levy, playing jazz on it like nobody’s business. Another master, the pianist, Jeremy Kahn, joins him. Both are at the top of their form and play gorgeous standards as only great musicians can. The mic-ing is minimal and gives a most natural perspective to the music. Specifically, the piano is mic’d with a KMF Audio custom-made tube, stereo microphone and the harmonica is mic’d with a Sennheiser dynamic 441, giving a warm and immediate sound to the harp. The presence of a harmonica in jazz as mentioned above is a rare occurrence, and even rarer in this case as you are hearing it on the best and seldom-used audio medium, analog tape.
Stan Getz Quartet, January 1980 – New Haven, Connecticut
Stan Getz needs no introduction. Getz was a wonderful musician, here caught with younger players lending a modern touch to the proceedings. More to the point, Getz improvises as well as I have ever heard him, especially on the final performance on this tape, “Big, Tiny, Little.” As an added bonus, the drumming on that same tune is spectacular. The full quintet is recorded at the Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, Connecticut, with only two spaced B&K omni instrument mics (a very rare mic configuration for jazz quintets). Unlike most multi-microphone recordings, none of the instruments are shoved in the listener’s face. The result is a natural and organic sound. Essential jazz on analog tape.
Andy LaVerne Trio, September 1980 – New Haven, Connecticut
Here we have highly talented musicians in a highly unusual configuration both musically and sonically. It is very uncommon to hear a trio consisting of piano, vibes and bass. And, it’s almost impossible to hear such a group recorded with only two microphones. However, the musical and audio result here is stunning, and probably the best two microphone jazz recording I have ever made with spaced omni microphones. The playing is world class, with some of the greatest musicians in New York City, performing at the Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, Connecticut. You’ll rarely hear the vibes played so well, and you surely will rarely experience such an unusual group recorded with the audio naturalness heard here.
Mark Colby Quartet, August 2014 – Chicago, Illinois
The tenor saxophone-lead quartet is one of the most iconic configurations in jazz. Here we have just that, with four stellar Chicago musicians playing wonderful, easy-to-listen-to music, recorded on some of the finest microphones and equipment available. The tape recorder is a custom made Studer/Revox 8 track while the microphones are as good as ever made: the drums are recorded with a custom stereo tube microphone (along with the Bobby Broom Trio recording, this is the most natural drum sound you’ll hear), the piano is recorded with the legendary Neumann C-24 stereo microphone, the bass with both a B&K 4006 instrument mic as well as a Neuman U-49, and the saxophone with the amazing Neumann U-67. The result is a very sweet, relaxed sound that mirrors the playing perfectly: laid back yet satisfying jazz of the highest order.
Dee Alexander, Magic, September 2014 – Chicago, Illinois
The jazz vocal/piano relationship is one of great simplicity, but also of great challenge. Both performers are overtly exposed to view and both must interact brilliantly to pull off a superb performance. That is what has happened here with Jeremy Kahn on piano and Dee Alexander on vocals. Both are consummate musicians, and their collaboration, performing jazz standards, is indeed magical. Jeremy’s accompaniment to Dee and his solos are as good as you’ll hear. Near perfection. Recorded directly onto a custom 8-track Studer/Revox tape recorder, using a custom stereo tube microphone on piano and the legendary Telefunken 251e on voice, the sound is stunningly natural and immediate. No EQ, no reverb. You hear just what was recorded in the studio. Direct copies of the master are available for the ultimate sound.
Bobby Broom Trio, Sweet and Lovely, March 2014 – Chicago, IL
Bobby Broom continues to create stellar jazz, whether with Sonny Rollins, or luckily for us, this time on tape with his amazing Chicago trio consisting of Dennis Carroll on bass and Makaya McCraven on drums. This is simply one of the finest guitar trios in jazz. Each member is a vital part of the performance, playing off each other while displaying a gorgeous laid back energy only musicians of this caliber can pull off. Recorded to a custom 8-track analog tape recorder and using only the finest vintage microphones, this is modern, multi-track analog sound at its finest. If you want to hear some of the greatest modern jazz musicians playing at world-class levels, and on tape with nothing intervening, this is for you.
Clare Fischer, The State Of His Art, May 1973 - Studio City, CA
Clare Fischer was truly a master musician. And here, on solo piano, he is at the state of his art. Whatever his various influences (Bach, Bartok, Ellington, Jobim, etc.), they are amalgamated into a wholly distilled and original style on this performance. Except for “Someday My Prince Will Come,” all of the tunes are blues based, but formed and infused by Clare’s inimitable playing. Recorded on the legendary Stellavox SP 7 tape recorder, using just two mics, this is music as its simplest and most divine. Although very easy to listen to, it is laced with deep, harmonic treasures that rewards repeated listening. A must for analog lovers, and most importantly, music lovers.
Ravi Shankar, In Luxembourg, 1980
In 1980 I did a series of classical recordings in Europe, particularly at a music festival in Echternach, Luxembourg. These recordings were all done with two spaced B&K omni directional microphones, on a Levinson Studer ML5. Through chance, one of the festival principals, who had heard my recordings, introduced me to Ravi Shankar and asked if we could make a recording of the performance about to take place: sitar and tabla, in front of an audience at a small church. Of course I agreed; and, luckily so did Mr. Shankar. The performance that day was stunning. Mr. Shankar himself said it was the finest recording of his work he had heard.
Mr. Shankar was truly a world musician, considered one of the top sitar players of the 20th century. It was an honor to be in his presence. The tabla player on the recording, Allah Rakha, was also in the same class: a master. Together these two legendary musicians put on an absolutely thrilling 18 minute performance in front of a live audience. This essential tape is $150; or, a direct copy of the master can be obtained for $400.
Ronnie Hoopes, Respect For A Great Tradition, May 1973 - Pasadena, CA
IPI is primarily about jazz music, as its roots are in a former jazz record company: Revelation Records. In fact, one of the tapes available on this site (Per Henrik Wallin) is from my early days in California where my partner and I, John William Hardy (one of the finest ears in jazz), formed Revelation and recorded deserving musicians playing the music of their choice in a relaxed setting.
This Ronnie Hoopes outing is a great example of the musicians we recorded back then. It is great, straight-ahead jazz, recorded in a very relaxed setting. Although we weren’t trying to be audiophiles back then, the recording was mixed in real time right to a two-track Stellavox recorder. I have had many requests for a jazz trio recording from my master archives. Well, here it is. This is easy-to-listen-to, world-class jazz on the best audio medium out there: analog tape.
Tom Harrell Quartet, October 23, 1980 - New Haven, CT
Strangely, in the recorded annals of jazz, there are very few quartet sessions featuring a lone trumpet accompanied by a rhythm section (bass, drums and piano). Normally there is a saxophone player added or the quartet features a saxophone only. I don’t know why this is. Yet, it is one of my favorite group configurations. Hence, in 1980, I recorded trumpeter Tom Harrell with just that arrangement of instruments.
Put onto 30ips tape with just two B&K instrument microphones to a Studer/Levinson ML5 recorder, this performance evinces a natural sounding ambience that only two such mics can achieve. But, more to the point, the playing is stellar by leader/trumpeter Tom Harrell, drummer Joe LaBarbera, bassist Marc Johnson, and pianist Andy LaVerne. This is wonderful, modern music and a must for those who love straight-ahead jazz in a natural setting.
Mike Garson, Monk Fell On Me, 2013
Recorded on the 5th and 6th of June 2013, this solo piano performance features Mike Garson, one of the finest jazz pianist alive today. Referred to as the greatest rock and roll pianist of all time by David Bowie (with whom he toured) Mike interprets Thelonius Monk tunes in an intensely deep and modernistic approach. The result is stunning both musically and sonically. The session was recorded directly to two-track tape using two vintage Neuman U67 microphones and a modified Studer 810 recorder. Copies are the usual $150, but for those who can afford something special, copies directly off the master are available for $250. The sound on this release is close in and up front, so detail is clearly heard. Yet it remains musical because of the microphones and tape deck used, but more importantly because of the playing.
Jason Roebke Quartet, Shimmering, 2012
Performed on December 18th of 2012 in Chicago, this performance was recorded directly to an 8 track Studer recorder. This great ensemble of world class players features Chicago-style modern jazz at its best (Jason Roebke, bass; Mike Reed, drums; Jason Adasiewicz, vibes; and Keefe Jackson, tenor sax.) Although the jazz is avant, it is also quite lyrical and captivating to listen to on tape. One customer said he had never heard better sounding vibes than on this tape. A handmade stereo mic was used on the vibes; and a hand assembled Telefunken 251e was used on the tenor sax. I personally love this music and the musicians who created it; I hope you will support them. As usual, copies of the production master are sold for only $150.
Mark Zeltser, In Luxembourg, 1980
In 1980, I did a series of classical recordings in Europe, into which I am finally delving. These were all done with two spaced B&K omni directional microphones, on a Levinson Studer ML5. The first of this series I am making available is by the world class Russian pianist, Mark Zeltser. Here he is captured playing Chopin and Prokofiev in a church in Luxembourg to a live audience. It is one of those moments where the music, piano (9 foot Steinway), and surroundings create a magical moment sure to please those who love classical music of the highest order. A stunning performance. Price is $150, or a direct copy of the master can be obtained for $400.
The Josh Berman Trio, Chicago Retro, 2012
Recorded on a 16 track analog tape recorder, this recording was done specifically for IPI’s tape issue program on 27 July 2012. It is probably the first time in recording history where sessions were recorded specifically to be published on analog tape and no other medium. In fact, only enough music was recorded to fill one 30 minute, 15ips reel. The production master, from which copies are run, was copied directly off the 16 track master, reducing the number of tape copies by at least one or two generations from the usual procedure. The session features the Chicago trio of Josh Berman (cornet, guitar and bass) playing modern/retro jazz, which although very easy to listen to, has the conceptual and harmonic depth of the current vibrant Chicago jazz movement. A must for those who love both great analog sound and jazz. Here is what Robert Harley, of The Absolute Sound, had to say about this tape:
"The Von Schweikert VR-44 Active loudspeaker benefited from a most unusual source: a jazz recording made exclusively for release on open-reel tape made directly from the master. The label, International Phonograph Inc., uses purist techniques and vintage microphones for its tape-only releases which are priced at $150 per title. The sound had an uncanny sense of realism played back through the latest United Home Audio UHA-Q Phase 11 tape machine." (The Absolute Sound, Issue 230.)
Jeremy Kahn, Duets, 2012
Recorded directly to a 2 track custom Studer 810 recorder, using one custom-made stereo microphone, this set like the Josh Berman performances was specifically done for IPI’s tape issue program. The sound is as natural as possible with no mixing, no reverb, no processing, just two tracks of music directly to tape. Only 30 minutes of music was recorded so one reel of music was provided for IPI’s public. The music consists of standard ballads such as My One And Only You, Lover Man, etc., giving the whole performance a relaxed, laid-back atomosphere. The musicians, Jeremy Kahn, piano and Eric Schenider, tenor sax, are Chicago verterans who know their way around the jazz repertoire. Their playing here is delicious.
The cost is the usual $150.00 per reel. Normally, the customer’s copy is made from a production master itself once removed from the master tape. However, for this issue, IPI will hand make a copy directly from the original master (saving one generation of tape) for the customer for $250.00. This is a rare opportunity to own a direct copy of the original master with absolutely no processing whatsoever. For those who wish to have (forever?) a true and direct copy of a master tape, this is that opportunity.
Per Henrik Wallin, 4th Balcony Jump, 1983
Recorded on a studio multi-track recorder, 4th Balcony Jump represents the kind of music published on our former (vinyl) label, Revelation Records. My partner and I, John William Hardy, started Revelation in the mid 60s to give unrecognized but deserving talent a wider audience. Recorded on a studio Multi-track tape recorder, 4th Balcony Jump represents original and exploratory piano playing by a then unrecognized, but deserving, Swedish talent who was widely acclaimed in Europe but lesser known in the United States. That is a shame because Wallin was a master of texture, using both the bold and the feathery to impart his ideas. With his distinctive classical efficiency and architecture, Wallin sounds like himself but with just enough hints of Monk, Jarrett and Paul Bley to create a fascinating mix of power and distinction. For those into original, boldly different piano playing, this trio outing from 1983 is the ticket.
Warne Marsh, At The Ice House Pasadena – August 1971
In the annals of jazz, there are a few giants who have played so originally and so brilliantly they have become legends and deserve the title of genius. Warne Marsh is one of those. Although never achieving the popularity of someone like Getz, he is as brilliant a player as has ever touched the tenor saxophone and no one has played like him since. Marsh is highly cerebral and dry, playing long and complex improvisational lines in strict metric time, demanding the serious listener to sit up and pay attention. Recorded here at the Ice House in Pasadena, all the excitement of that live original performance is captured here. Although the tape contains minor technical flaws, such as fade outs, both horns on one side, these in no way distract from the total experience of a true genius caught in top form.