For Record Store Day 2013 (April 20), Sony Legacy released three Miles Davis titles exclusively on vinyl in their original mono formats: Milestones, Someday My Prince Will Come and ’Round About Midnight. Mark Wilder, Sony’s senior mastering engineer, frequently works with the original session reels of Davis’ Columbia catalog. From Battery Mastering Studios in midtown Manhattan, Wilder has brought Davis’ masterpieces into the 21st century, sometimes even bettering the original LPs, as is the case with the mono vinyl edition of Milestones.
Wilder has mastered multiple Davis titles for mono vinyl release, including 1958 Miles, Jazz Track, Kind Of Blue, Miles Ahead, Porgy And Bess and Sketches Of Spain. Wilder says there is “talk of a Fillmore set,” and he’s about to work on volume 3 of the Miles Davis Bootleg series. He recently mastered Kind Of Blue in 96K high-resolution format for eventual release at HDTracks.com. DownBeat was given an exclusive audience with him to discuss the recent Davis mono LP reissues.
DownBeat: I have listened closely to the original mono Columbia Milestones and compared it to the new mono reissue, and the latter is clearly better.
Mark Wilder: When doing these deluxe Miles reissues, we’re going the extra mile, spending the extra time, going through everything with a fine-tooth comb and making sure that every “i” is dotted and every “t” crossed.
DB: What distinguishes the mono from the stereo mixes?
Wilder: At Columbia, sometimes the mono and stereo mixes of the same record were done by different guys. The monos were mixed first; that mix was king. The stereo mixes weren’t haphazard, but they weren’t given the same attention as the mono mixes. The mono mixes were really thought through to get everything they wanted out of them.
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