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Miles Davis: ‘Round About Midnight (SACD)

So far, all the SACDs I’ve mentioned have been hybrids: backward compatible with standard CD players by means of a standard stereo mix layered over the SACD information on the surface of the disc. You buy an SACD from Sony and it is playable only on an SACD player. That said, the recent issues of several Miles Davis classics in the SACD format have been nothing short of sonic windfalls. ‘Round About Midnight packages four bonus tracks along with the best-sounding reissue of this material yet. This is not a surround mix, though Kind of Blue has been issued in that format recently, and surely others will follow. What we get here is sound practically diamond sharp, or as close to that as we’ll probably ever hear considering the age of these master tapes. Miles glides into the soundstage like a spotlight in a dark theater and holds your attention like never before for every sparkling note. Paul Chambers’ bass, rounder than you’ve ever imagined, holds it all together as Coltrane, Red Garland and Philly Joe Jones add their crystal clear support, Jones’ drums and cymbals likewise benefit noticeably from this newfound clarity. This is a nearly miraculous view into the studio that even the old analog reissues never quite achieved. Perfect sound? Not forever, but this is getting closer.

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