Sites for looking up best versions of jazz recordings?

When looking on Qobuz at musicians who made music decades ago (e.g. Erroll Garner, Paul Bley, Bill Evans) a lot of copies of the same older albums appear.

Often dozens of them.

Is this because the music is out of copyright and can be repackaged and sold by anyone?

How can we sift through these copies, which are often worse in terms of SQ?

Is the answer to look up what recordings are best for jazz albums?

What sites are best for looking up what versions of jazz recordings are the best ones?

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Yes mainly via European out of copyright circumvention. I’m sure someone here has all the technical details.

I picked up the whole Charles Mingus catalogue for next to nothing rather than buying the Atlantic label versions.

Depends how you feel about this and artists or heirs getting their share.

Generally most are 16 bit digital copies of the CD so just go for the cheapest.

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Thanks Andy - v useful points.

I’m also interested in how to weed out the wheat from the chaff on Qobuz for web streaming purposes.

e.g. if there are 10 versions of a Bill Evans album, do I need to listen to all or most of them to decide?

Or look it up? What sites are best for looking up what versions of jazz recordings are the best ones?

In reality, that’s too time consuming and using it as a test track impairs the experience of that music by overplaying it or playing it in snippets and also by playing it to listen for the recording quality and not to the music as such.

just test a few albums and use the record company or producer or other signals as a proxy?

These guys know their stuff:


Hey - thanks Clare.

I’ve just signed up for that site.

Almost all of the musicians they mention are ones I like.

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If you wish for a considered opinion try
Articles written by those who have loved the music for years and offering a huge library of reviews and insight. No 100 jazz albums that shook the world in 1950 nonsense.
There is a modest fee to keep the old boys in beer but you can check it out before subscribing.

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Is Steve Hoffman forum any good for jazz?

Very good. Contributors are mostly knowledgeable and cover all styles of jazz music.
The heading is jazz and conversation.
Marc Meyer’s is another informative read.


Thanks, this is looking good. Not always easy to find best versions of stuff when looking into older records where the copyright has expired.

Maybe it is also worth listing some labels who usually do a good job of reissung the stuff such as Mosaic, although their versions always seem a bit special as what sessions are included.

Fresh sounds/Blue sounds what ever the wonderful Jordi Pujol is calling himself this week.

Jordi did a monumental job for fans like me by resurrecting out of date and lost lps and transferring them at reasonable cost and with just a bit of a clean up to cd.

Jazz Messengers in Barcelona also has an on line shop 5* where many treasures can be found often with a DownBeat or similar review.

Happy hunting.

Depends how much time you have. :smiley:

Thanks Nick.
I will have a look at that.

Presumably there are a few contrasting opinions on Steve Hoffman…?

The Hoffmen can rack up 1,000 posts in the blink of an eye - that site is like drinking from a fire hydrant.

Yup - 1000s of pages (of informative and distinctly nerdy chat) on the jazz conversation thread…

Sometimes I like to go on “ all about jazz” free online site. I buy Downbeat magazine from time to time.
But sound quality is rarely observed. So I would more go through google and search threads on the sound quality of an album which is debated on a forum.

An example, I searched “ best sounding albums of Paul Bley “ and google found that:

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Thanks FR - good idea.

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Organissimo Forums is full of some very knowledgeable folks.


All these people talking about music on forums.

Why don’t they get on with the real business of talking about hifi equipment?

I didn’t knew it until I tried a research recently. Seems to be a good alternative to Steve Hoffman forum.