Vinyl 360: How Sony’s Mark Wilder Masters Miles Davis LP Reissues
Posted 6/4/2013

DB: For the recent Live In Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 2, how did you bring bootlegs up to the standard of the other Miles Davis reissues?

Wilder: It’s an incredible amount of work. It’s more “surgical” than “finesse” mastering. Often these bootleg tapes were taken from front-of-house board mixes or radio broadcasts. The first five minutes are usually the engineers scrambling to get the mix up. So besides having real technical issues like ambient noises to clean up, you also have these crazy level changes and moves. Quite often I am making edits beat to beat, bar to bar: raising levels, changing EQ, a little de-noising. I will sometimes use restoration software on Miles’ trumpet, pulling one harmonic down so it’s not as piercing. At the same time I am not trying to make these audiophile presentations. I want them to be as good as possible, but these are bootlegs.

DB: What is your favorite Miles Davis album?

Wilder: Kind Of Blue. I originally wanted to get into this business to record the next Led Zeppelin. I didn’t even like jazz. My uncle was getting rid of his records and I found Kind Of Blue. “I know this guy,” I thought. “And he sounds better than Benny Goodman.” Then as I began working with musicians in the studio, I got it. Seeing jazz musicians communicate was a revelation. It made me understand the genre at a deeper level. I have worked on Kind Of Blue eight or nine times.

Ken Micallef

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Mark Wilder (Photo: Ken Micallef)

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