Black Lion was a late but seminal jazz label formed in the UK in 1968 by Alan Bates. The label concentrated on excessively rare recordings from American jazz and blues legends for reissue. In addition, Black Lion produced new and unique sessions exclusive to their label group. Many of these recordings are considered by jazz critics and fans alike to be important, significant, and exceptional for each artist.
The most iconic names of each genre are represented at crucial moments in their career, both individually as players and in session. Each album uniquely showcases a complete recording session, at times featuring multiple versions of songs, showing the strategic manner in which each player adapts, song-to-song, in a live creative process, in a way few studio albums of the era can.
Some of these titles, in fact, were thought lost altogether. Imagine a 20-year-old Miles Davis, captured in session at Radio Recorders, Hollywood, CA in 1946, on one of his very earliest known recordings. A session referenced in relevant discographies, but long thought to be unrecorded or lost, distinct in being Davis’s first recording while playing “open”. A session which featured his earliest touring partners, including a stunning, young Art Blakey on the drums.
These Black Lion sessions represent artists that are of major significance in the music world. These reissues aim to ensure that the integrity of the sound and performance is maintained, restored, and most of all properly documented for record collectors and jazz fans alike, which in and of itself is a remarkable agenda. Our strategy was to pull together a few of the most notable names in mastering, sound, and vinyl to create an entirely unique collaboration, never before utilized in the vinyl reissue universe.
All albums are being cut at Bernie Grundman Mastering using a system designed to preserve the musicality of the master tapes. Some of the significant parts of the system are custom vacuum tube tape playback electronics and likewise the cutting amplifiers are vacuum tube. The signal path uses Cardis premium wire hand-picked by comparative listening. The system has been continually modified to incorporate any new idea or innovation that will give the listeners an exceptional listening experience.
Bernie Grundman is one of the most prominent names in Mastering world wide. He has been directly or indirectly, by his studio staff of engineers, behind hundreds of gold and platinum recordings. He has personally mastered some of the industry’s landmark recordings, such as: Carol King’s “tapestry”, Steely Dan’s “Aja”, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, Prince’s “Purple rain”, and Dr. Dre’s “the Chronic”. In addition He has worked on albums by a veritable who’s who of the music industry, such as: The Carpenters, Herb Alpert, Sergio Mendes, The Doors, Joe Cocker, Joni Mitchell, Burt Backarach, Jackson Brown, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Supertramp, Procal Harum. Rod Stewart, Fleetwood Mac, Janet Jackson, Quincy Jones, Outkast, Mos Def, Mary J. Blidge, Lucinda Williams, Jack Johnson & Macy Gray. Bernie has also given lectures, workshops and seminars in Germany, Sweden, Japan, U.C.L.A (University of California Los Angeles), AES (Audio Engineering Society), and for NARAS (National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences). He has been recognized for his work with a Grammy and 14 Tec Awards and dozens of articles in audio magazines around the world.
Bernie, has personally “set up” or EQ’d every Black Lion release, sometimes working with masters that were 50 to 60 years old.
In 1984 Chris joined the newly formed Bernie Grundman Mastering studios. Joining the Grundman team allowed him the opportunity of working with even more fine artists, such as: Neil Young, Allan Holdsworth, Yanni, Carole King, Duran Duran, Van Halen, Elton John, and many more. Chris has shared Grammy awards with such notables as Alanis Morissette and Joan Sebastian. He has been invited to guest lecture for many colleges, including UCLA, USC and Chico State University. As music changes, Chris has evolved his talents to deliver the best possible product for his clients.
Chris, has cut each record personally at both 33 rpm and 45 rpm.
Award-winning Audiophile Recording, Mastering and Restoration Engineer – Steve Hoffman has compiled, mastered and released over 2,500 record albums and compact discs to critical acclaim. He has worked with such artists as: The Eagles, The Doors, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Crosby, Still & Nash, Roy Orbison, Cream, The Cars, Blondie, Jim Croce, Linda Ronstadt, Jethro Tull, The Doobie Brothers, Jackson Browne, Steve Miller Band, Elton John, Van Halen, Bonnie Raitt, Al Green, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Stan Getz, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Art Pepper, Rod Stewart, Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Wes Montgomery and many, many, others. Steve Hoffman has brought his famous “Breath Of Life” to all of the audio productions he has ever worked on.
Steve was an essential sound doctor and producer through out this process, from supplying EQ notes, curating titles and combing over dozens of test pressings.
Look out for a pre-order coming later this week!