Offered for sale is a rare true UHQR pressing of Red Norvo’s The Forward Look, released by Reference Recordings in 1982.
While not released until the early 1980s, Red Norvo’s The Forward Look was actually recorded in the late 1950s. (The cover says December 31, 1957, though others disagree.) The recording of Norvo’s vibraphone-based jazz combo was recorded by Keith Johnson on a homemade tape recorder. It’s a great recording that captures the intimate club setting well.
The album’s release by the small audiophile label Reference Recordings involved multiple pressings and quite a bit of confusion among collectors, because many of the copies of this record that are labeled as UHQR are actually mislabeled regular pressings.
Reference initially released the album as a standard 33 1/3 pressing, pressed by JVC in Japan on their proprietary “Supervinyl” compound. The label then had the album cut at 45 RPM and arranged for JVC to press it on 200 gram Supervinyl using their flat-profile UHQR process, which allows the needle to more accurately track the groove.
JVC pressed at least one UHQR title for Telarc, the 1812 Overture, and eight such titles for Mobile Fidelity. All of those titles are rare and are highly sought out by collectors. The heavy UHQR pressings of The Forward Look sold out almost immediately, and Reference asked JVC to press more of them.
By this time, JVC had decided to abandon the UHQR process and told Reference that they weren’t going to press any records in that format anymore. Reference requested that they press the 45 RPM records on regular weight vinyl instead. JVC went ahead and pressed the requested discs on lighter weight vinyl with the standard profile, but due to a misunderstanding, these lightweight non-UHQR pressings still said “UHQR” on the labels, even though they were not.
Those pressings were sold with a letter from Reference Recordings apologizing for the confusion and clarifying that those pressings were not UHQR pressings, even though the labels said otherwise. Over time, most of the letters have been lost or discarded and one frequently sees sellers offering “UHQR” copies of The Forward Look that are actually just the later, more common, lightweight 45 RPM pressings.
The difference in sound between the two pressings is significant, and the UHQR pressing is noticeably louder.
About this copy: This copy of The Forward Look is a true UHQR pressing of the album, cut at 45 RPM and pressed on 200 gram heavyweight JVC Supervinyl. It comes in a standard cover with a sticker that says “UHQR 45 RPM” and a small booklet that describes the UHQR process.
The cover is VG++, with some faint traces of wear at the corners. The disc is M- and aside from a spindle mark or two, appears to have only been played a couple of times.
A beautiful copy of an ultra-rare audiophile LP. Good record, too.
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