One of the (many) reasons we are discussing 'vintage' jazz is for the 'purity', if I may use such a term, of the recording.Covenanter said:This thread seem to have become sidetracked!
HiFi used to mean "high fidelity", ie a system that aimed to reproduce as closely as possible the original. For me that is what it still means.
However, for the majority of the contributors to this forum and indeed for the magazine itself I think it means something different. That something different is IMO a cross between a fashion statement and a system that sounds "good" even if that "good" isn't actually what the original sounds like.
This is why I have problems with WHiFi reviews. Putting to one side the meaningless language they use, and which they are unwilling to defend, they don't review stuff on the basis of whether it can reproduce the original accurately. I think there are two factors here. Firstly when it come to "popular" music the concept of an "original" is somewhat unclear and indeed many modern recordings are so distorted that they make that almost impossible. Secondly I think that when it comes to classical music, where the idea of "original" has some meaning, I think they generally have no idea what they are talking about. I've not auditioned masses of kit (because I have a life) but I do know what classical (and some popular) music should sound like and I wouldn't depend on WHiFi reviews at all. I'd much more depend on some of the people who post here (and my own ears).
As you can read above many of the recordings are not great technically, but they are honest recordings made, and made well with the technology of the time.
Much of what is being played is unscripted, unrehearsed and recorded in a handful of takes. For me this gives the music an energy, a spontaniety that is captivating, capturing the 'feel' of these recordings is the essence of hi-fidelity playback.
Of course it is not just jazz, though the use of real acoustic instruments does help, but all forms of music that are performed live and for real. It may be a studio recording like those we discuss above but the music was played and recorded 'live', no multitracking, no overdubs, no post-production.
Recordings like that tell you everything you need to know about the real capabilities of a playback system, it does not matter whether it was Miles Davis (sextet) recording Kind of Blue in two afternoon sessions or Joy Division playing live at the University of London, on a good system the reality of the performance grabs hold of you and does not let go.