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When CDs were all the rage, who would have guessed there’d be a vinyl resurgence? Yet, in spite of climbing prices due to a global vinyl production crunch, collectors’ floors are sagging and their significant others are asking, “Why?”“I don't believe in CDs,” Xanadu Records producer Don Schlitten told me in the mid-1990s. “I don't like the sound. Vinyl records sound better than CDs, and if you really like the music, you want the best sound possible.” Granted, current CDs generally sound better than they did back in the ’90s, but you’d be hard-pressed to talk vinyl enthusiasts out of their fixation. Does vinyl really sound better? The answer, when comparing these four deluxe, multi-LP sets to their digital counterparts, is an overwhelming yes.According to audiophiles, the buzz word that sums up vinyl’s greatest advantage is “soundstage” — giving the listener a near-visual experience with regard to the physical placement of musicians as they would be on stage. They say that good-quality vinyl gives you more. In 1972, bassist Charles Mingus’ stellar sextet, featuring saxophonists Charles McPherson and Bobby Jones, 19-year old trumpeter John Faddis, pianist John Foster and drummer Roy Brooks, was recorded at Ronnie Scott’s London nightclub for Columbia Records but never released. “Organized chaos” is how McPherson describes Mingus’ arrangements and the ensemble performance of these eight tunes, covering lengthy Mingus chestnuts (e.g., “Fables of Faubus”), NOLA jazz (“When the Saints Go Marching In”), swing era (“Air Mail Special”) and bebop (“KoKo”). The resulting Mingus: The Lost Album from Ronnie Scott’s is the best-sounding of three live albums reviewed here, all released on Resonance Records. The album’s clarity and soundstage are impressive, and it’s a beautifully packaged and thoroughly annotated three-LP set.Alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman’s approach to ensemble is a similarly loose, rough-and-tumble affair. His initial two, easily digestible studio recordings from 1958 and ’59, Something Else!!!!: The Music of Ornette Coleman, and Tomorrow Is the Question!: The New Music of Ornette Coleman! are now available as a two-LP boxed set from Craft Recordings. The most obvious difference between the two is the inclusion of pianist Walter Norris on Something Else!!!, forming a quintet. Scaling back to a quartet on Tomorrow — featuring pocket trumpeter Don Cherry, bass and drums (sans piano) — proves thoroughly advantageous to the music, where “Harmolodic” freedom in improvisation is more readily nurtured. Sound-wise, these two well-annotated, beautifully recorded and remastered Contemporary LPs could not sound better. Argentine concerts from the 1970s, featuring two distinct trios of pianist Bill Evans, are also available on Resonance — bringing the label’s total Evans releases to seven. Bootlegs of these two amazing concerts have been around for quite a while. Kudos to Resonance for clearing their release, paying the estates and packaging their sets with the care and expertise that can only manifest courtesy of die-hard fans of the music — true of all their product.Morning Glory, featuring Evans’ longtime trio of bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Marty Morell, was recorded in 1973 (at 10 a.m.) before a thoroughly entranced and loudly reactive audience. Their shouts and applause following Gomez’s virtuosic solos are rare indeed for a bassist. As the lengthy album notes state, this was a fortuitous time in the pianist’s life and it shows throughout his performance on this two-LP set of 13 Evans originals and standards. The sound quality of Evans’ Inner Spirit (1979) doesn’t measure up to that of Morning Glory as insufficient mic-ing was used to record Marc Johnson’s bass, leaning a bit toward muddiness. But little matter per its effect on the quality of the music. Drummer Joe LaBarbara states in the accompanying booklet that this trio, viewed by Evans as his best since the early 1960s, was peaking. Recorded only a year before the lyrical pianist’s passing, Evans’ upper octaves sound strident. While this negates some of that glorious round tone he always had, it could be argued that Evans was even more expressive with his dynamic range now stretching to a robust forte during climactic phrases. - James Rozzi