Audiophile Jazz Vinyl Pressings: Exit to Vintage Street

Written By: 
Eric Pye
Tags: 
Share:
  •  

Ecoustics’ Eric Pye takes a look at a few of the most prominent audiophile jazz labels around.

A big bone of contention in audiophile circles is which stage of the audio system chain is most important. By extension, where an individual places priority – source, amplification, or loudspeakers dictates the percentage of the available budget devoted to each.

A large group will argue that loudspeakers are most important as they produce the sound reaching our ears; if the speakers are not very good, the music won’t be delivered properly and won’t sound right. Now, what’s “right” is subjective – some prefer more visceral bass, a warmer sounding midrange, greater detail, and no two loudspeakers are created equal sound signature wise – but there certainly is something to the argument that speakers are the most important.

Perhaps a smaller group will argue that amplification is more important. Here you’ll find discussion around the ability of an amplifier (power/preamp separates or all-in-one integrated amplifier) to convert the signal from the source without distortion, around tube versus solid-state, and around power output and the ability to drive different speaker technologies, sensitivities, and impedances.

Audiophile System Priorities
System Priorities: Do speakers, amplification or source matter more?

Then there’s the set who highlight the importance of cables and interconnects, but I’m not touching that one.

And finally, another large grouping will insist that source is paramount. If they stream, it’ll be all about the quality of the DAC (Digital to Analog Converter). If their source of choice is CD or SACD, it’ll be the combination of transport and DAC (separates or combined in a single unit). And for vinyl, it’ll be turntable and cartridge, and perhaps even stylus.

The thinking here is “garbage in, garbage out” (GIGO), or the opposite “magic in, magic out;” if you can ensure the quality of what you feed the system, you increase the chance that what comes out will sound incredible. Again, some solid logic here.

Sumiko Oyster Blue Point No. 3 High Phono Cartridge
The Source: Sumiko Oyster Blue Point No. 3 High ensuring GIGO is not an issue.

Personally, I take a whole-system approach. I side with both the speaker and source sets, but believe all stages are important, and improvements in one stage will eventually require improvements or changes in others.

New speakers may dictate a more powerful integrated or power amp, or addition of tubes for synergy. Shifting from a moving magnet (MM) phono cartridge to moving coil (MC) may necessitate a better phono stage, or even a Step-up Transformer (SUT) for low-output MC cartridges. 

On the vinyl source side though, there’s a step beyond cartridge and stylus that deserves more attention, and that is the vinyl itself. There is a growing awareness of vinyl and mastering quality, and a growing penetration of “audiophile vinyl” in the market. Mastering engineers like Kevin Gray, Ryan Smith, Bernie Grundman, Ron McMaster, Doug Sax and Steve Hoffman, and studios like Cohearent Audio and Sterling Sound have become household names in audiophile circles for the quality of their remasters.

Tone Poet

In the last few years, one of the most successful labels in this category has been Blue Note with their Tone Poet series, which was introduced in 2019 to celebrate the company’s 80th anniversary, and features all-analog, 180 gram audiophile vinyl reissues mastered from the original master tapes.

Tone Poets Albums by Dexter, Herbie, Bobby and P.C.
My Favorite Tone Poets: Dexter, Herbie, Bobby and P.C.

The Tone Poet Series has been huge for Blue Note. For long-time jazz freaks, new releases have been an opportunity to fill in holes in the collection with titles never released on vinyl or long out-of-print (and expensive on secondary markets), or to replace well loved, worn out original or early pressings with fresh, super-charged updates.

For many younger vinyl fans, Tone Poet albums – not much more expensive than “regular” records – have been a combined point of entry to jazz, Blue Note, and audiophile recordings. These fans buy Tone Poet releases partly because they’re budget friendly, but mostly because they sound incredible. Store owners talk of spinning new titles, customers rushing the counter to ask what’s playing, and purchases immediately being made.

New releases sell out quickly, but the word on the street is that all titles will eventually be repressed; this makes me happy as I was a bit late to the party and missed some of the early releases. Facebook groups devoted to Tone Poets have sprung up with avid discussion on favorites and speculation on future releases.

Vinyl Collection on Discogs
The Growing Collection: Catalogued on Discogs, there are still a few back-issues I’d like to add.

Mitch Anderson and I recently did a podcast with Mastering Engineer Kevin Gray, and Producer Joe Harley. If you haven’t given this one a listen, you owe it to yourself to do so. Kevin and Joe gave insights on a variety of topics, including how the Tone Poet sound came to be and how mastering and selection are done.

What caught my attention was when they spoke of their initial plan for Tone Poet to reproduce as closely as possible the sound of the original album pressings, and their surprise at how much additional information (bass, detail, soundstage) came through from the first few master tapes they received.

Apparently, Rudy Van Gelder applied significant compression in transferring tapes to pressings to create records that didn’t skip on the turntables of the ‘50s and ‘60s (and thus avoid customers returning unplayable albums).

Turntable and cartridge tracking advances since that time mean skipping is less of an issue, so the decision was made to reproduce the sound of the master tapes as opposed to the original pressings, and that is why this series has such amazing body and impact, and why listeners have responded so positively to each release.

There are numerous other audiophile vinyl companies out there as well, many of which have been around a lot longer than Tone Poet.

MoFi

Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs (aka MFSL or MoFi) got its start in the late ‘50s with novelty recordings. In 1977, they began producing the Original Master Recordings reissues, recorded with their half-speed mastering process from original master tapes and pressed on heavyweight, virgin “supervinyl.” They have been owned by Music Direct since 2001.

MoFi Records
Mo’ MoFi Please: Some of my MoFi releases, with the distinctive band across the top.

Mobile Fidelity records come in two styles. Early releases were cut at the traditional 33.3 rpm, but recent releases have been offered on multiple records at 45 rpm. With the higher speed of 45 rpm, record grooves are “longer” and can hold more detailed information, theoretically delivering better sound quality (which more often than not they do).

The downside of this higher speed is that a single record side can’t hold as much music, hence a typical album becoming a two-record release, and the listener having to flip the record every 8-12 minutes instead of the more typical 20-plus. 

MoFi don’t just focus on jazz. Some of their classic rock releases by artists like Steely Dan, Pink Floyd, Supertramp, Bob Dylan and Donald Fagen are highly sought after and command huge prices on the secondary market due to a lack of recent represses. Other artists and titles have seen multiple represses over the years – like the bulk of the Dire Straits catalog which sounds a lot better on these remastered pressings but still puts a hit on the wallet. 

Kind of Blue Original Reference Recordings
Kind of Blue: The reference recording of Kind of Blue?

There have been numerous jazz albums released by Mobile Fidelity, the best known being reissues of Miles Davis’ Columbia Records catalog, and in particular, Kind of Blue for which the MoFi pressing has been the reference for many years.

In 2016, MoFi created a new, ultra-premium series called Ultradisc One-Step. These are released in very limited numbers, pressed at 45 rpm on 180 gram premium vinyl, and housed in elaborate box sets. Bill Evans’ Sunday at the Village Vanguardand Portrait in Jazz, and Monk’s Dream by Thelonious Monk have all had the One-Step treatment, but good luck finding copies and be prepared to sell a body part to get one. Audiophiles will spend north of $200 on any of these titles, and more on the secondary market. 

Analogue Productions

Analogue Productions (AP) is the in-house audiophile label of Acoustic Sounds. It was founded in 1992 by music fan and entrepreneur Chad Kassem in Salina, Kansas. Early releases were pressed in California and Germany, but in 2011 Kassem launched his own state-of-the-art pressing plant, Quality Record Pressings (QRP).

Like MoFi, Analogue Productions masters from original analogue master tapes. Exceptions are made for albums of rare quality recorded digitally in the CD era. All are pressed on 180 gram or 200 gram vinyl. Many AP reissues have been released in both 33.3 and 45 rpm formats, though some are one or the other. 

Either way, they sound incredible, and a generation of music lovers has benefitted enormously from Kassem’s business acumen and selections; case in point, his decision to promote numerous forgotten blues musicians who never before reached a large, global audience. The quality of the recordings and attention to detail in the pressings makes them a very worthwhile addition to any music library. 

Analogue Productions Albums
Recent Analogue Productions Additions: Struck gold and found some unicorns!

Analogue Productions have put out over 300 reissues, with a large proportion of their catalogue being jazz from the big labels like Blue Note, Prestige, Fantasy, Impulse, Verve, Columbia and Riverside. Recent releases have come primarily from Verve and Impulse, perhaps due to other labels like Blue Note and Concord seeing market growth and taking their audiophile reissues in-house.

Like MoFi, Analogue Productions has introduced an ultra-premium reissue series of its own called UHQR (or Ultra High Quality Recording). I haven’t heard it yet, but reportedly the UHQR of Kind of Blue (I have two on order) takes the mantle as the new reference recording away from the MoFi. This will be a series to watch with great interest.

Other Labels

Owned by Concord, Craft Recordings was founded in 2017 as a reissue vehicle for the Concord catalog, which includes legacy labels like Fantasy, Milestone, Prestige, Riverside, Vee Jay and others. Their catalog is extensive and growing; including numerous reissues of classic albums from Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans and Chet Baker. A recent limited-edition, ultra-premium reissue of Coltrane’s Lush Life sold out on their online store within minutes of release.

Craft Recordings Vinyl Reissues
Craft Recordings Reissues: Some really interesting titles coming from Craft of late.

Impex is a newer audiophile label from the team that previously ran Cisco Music, itself a respected reissue label, which closed shop in 2008. The Impex catalog is relatively small, but they have reissued some amazing jazz albums, including the classic live Friday Night in San Francisco by Al Di Meola, Paco de Lucia and John McLaughlin (33.3 and 45 rpm versions), and several reissues from the famous Three Blind Mice J-Jazz label; the Three Blind Mice 45 Box will blow your socks off.

Impex Vinyl Albums
The Real Deal: These Impex releases will make you feel you’re really there with the artists.

Barely Breaking Even (BBE) is another reissue label that has done a lot of Japanese Jazz reissues, both of full albums, and their excellent compilation series, J Jazz: Deep Modern Jazz from Japan which is now up to Volume 3.

J-Jazz Records
J-Jazz: A great way to discover one of my favorite jazz sub-genres.

Other audiophile reissue labels to look out for include Original Recordings Group (ORG), Pure PleasureSpeakers CornerMusic Matters (Joe Harley’s Blue Note reissue project before he moved to Tone Poet), and Classic Records (now taken over by Acoustic Sounds, but worth buying on the used market). There are certainly other labels I haven’t covered here, and I’d love to hear about them in the comments or via Instagram at @audioloveyyc.

If you haven’t yet ventured into audiophile vinyl and want to get more from your system without upgrades, then check out some of these labels and recordings; you’ll be impressed. And if you’re already sold, look out for some of the less prominent labels and give them a try; there are some real gems out there.


This article originally appeared at ecoustics.com and has been published here with permission.


In Sheep’s Clothing is powered by its patrons. Become a supporter today and get access to exclusive playlists, events, merch, and vinyl via our Patreon page. Thank you for your continued support. 

Related Articles

Sort By
12th Isle
2 Tone
2020
2022
2023
33rpm
45rpm
4AD
5 Selects
5 Seletcs
7"
99 Records
A&M
Abbey Lincoln
Aboriginal
Abstract
Ace Tone
Acid
Acid Archives
Acid Folk
Acid House
Acid Punk
Acid rock
Acoustic
Adrian Sherwood
Africa
African
Afro
Afro House
Afro-Cuban
Afrobeat
Alan Braufman
Alan Ginsberg
Alan Greenberg
Alan Thicke
Albert Ayler
Album Cover
Alex Patterson
Alice Coltrane
All Genre
Altec
Amaro Freitas
Amazon Music
Ambient
Ambient Jazz
ambient techno
American Primitive
Amoeba Music
Amplifier
Analog
Anatolian Rock
Andrew Weatherall
Andy Warhol
Anenon
Animal
Animation
Anna Butterss
Antonio Zepeda
AOR
Aphex Twin
Aquarium Drunkard
Archie Shepp
Archival
Armenia
Art
Art & Design
Art Dudley
Art Film
Art Pop
Art Rock
Artform Radio
Arthur Russell
Article
Arvo Part
Ash Ra Temple
Asian Underground
Audiogon
Audiophile
Audiovisual
Austin Peralta
Australia
Autechre
avant
Avant-Garde
Avant-pop
Avant-Rock
Avent-Garde
Balearic
Bali
Ballad
Bargain Bin
Baroque
Baroque Pop
Basquiat
Bass
Bauhaus
Bayou Funk
BBC
BBC Radiophonic
Beat Scene
Beats
Beats in Space
Bebop
Belgium
Bennie Maupin
Berlin-school
Best of 2020
Beverly Glenn​-​Copeland
Bhutan Stamps
Big Band
Bill Laswell
Black Ark Studios
Black Jazz
Blaxsploitation
Blood & Fire
Blue Note
Blues
Blues Rock
Bob Marley
Bola Sete
Bollywood
Boogie
Book
books
Boom Bap
Boredoms
Bossa
Bossa Nova
Brainfeeder
Brazil
Brazilian Folk
Breakbeat
Breezy
Brian Eno
Broadcast
Bruce Weber
Bruton Music
Buddhism
Budget Audiophiler
Cabaret
Calypso
Cambridge Audio
CAN
Candombe
Cannanes
Canterbury
Cape Jazz
Cape Verde
Caribbean
Carla Bley
Cartridges
Casio
Cassette
Cats
CD
Celluloid
Chamber Jazz
Chamber Music
Chamber Pop
Chan Marshall
Channel One Studios
Chanson
Charles Lloyd
Charles Mingus
Chee Shimizu
Chet Baker
Chicago
Chillout
Chinese
Chiptune
Choral
Christmas
City Pop
Classic Album Sundays
Classical
Classics
Clothing
Club
Cocteau Twins
Coctueau Twins
Coffee
Coldwave
Colorfield
Comedy
Commercial
Community
Compass
Compass Point
Compilation
Concept Album
Condesa Electronics
Conlon Nancarrow
Conny Plank
Contemporary Jazz
Cool Jazz
Cornelius
Cosmic
Cosmic Disco
Cosmic Folk
cosmic jazz
Country
Country Pop
Country-Rock
Covers
Cult Classic
Cumbia
DAC
Dacne
Daft Punk
Dance
Dance Music
Dancehall
Daniel Aged
Dark
Dark Entries
David Behrman
David Bowie
David Byrne
Davida
Dedicated listening session
Deep Dive
Deep House
Deep Listen
Deep Listening
Delia Derbyshire
Dembow
Demo
Dennis Bovell
Denon
Detroit
Devotional
DFA
Diasporic Disco
Dick Verdult
Diggin in the Mags
Digi-Reggae
Disco
Discogs
DIY
DIY / Amateur
DJ
DJ Shadow
Documentary
Dogs
Don Buchla
Don Cherry
Donald Byrd
Doom Metal
Downtempo
Dowtempo
Dr. John
Dream House
Dream Pop
Dreamy
Drone
Drum & Bass
Drum Break
Drum Machine
Drum n Bass
Drums
Dual
Dub
Dub Poetry
Dub Techno
dublab
Dubstep
Dubwise
Durutti Column
Düsseldorf School
Dust and Grooves
Eames
Earl King
Early Electronic
East African
Easy Listening
Eblen Macari
EBM
ECM
ecoustic
ecoustics
Electric Lady
Electro
Electronic
Electronic Jazz
Electronica
Elegant Pop
Elvin Jones
Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam
Enossified
Environmental Music
EOY
Eric Dolphy
ESG
Esoteric
ESP Institute
Essential Listen
Essential Listening
Essential Listenning
Ethereal
Ethiopian Jazz
Ethnic
Event
Events
Exotica
Experimental
Factory Records
Faye Wong
Feel Good All Over
Fela Kuti
Festival
Field recording
Films
Fingertracks
Fingetracks
Fishing with John
Fleetwood Sound Company
Floating
Floating Points
Folk
Folk Funk
Folk-Rock
Fonts
Footwork
Four Tet
Fourth World
France
Free Improvisation
Free Jazz
Friends of ISC
Frippertronics
Frozen Section Radio
Fundraiser
Funk
Fusion
G-Funk
G.S. Schray
Gal Costa
Gamelan
Garage Rock
Garrard
Gems from the Dollar Bin
George Martin
George Oban
German techno
Gifts
Gilberto Gil
Giorgio Moroder
Glam Rock
Glitch
Gogo
Gospel
Grado
Graphic Novel
Grateful Dead
Group Sounds
Growing Bin
Guide
Guitar
Gwo Ka
Gypsy
Habitat Ensemble
Haçienda Club
halloween
Hard Bop
Hard Rock
Harold Budd
Harp
Harry Nilsson
Haruomi Hosono
headphones
Heavy Metal
Henry Lewy
Herbie Hancock
hi-fi
hi-NRG
Hidden Gem
Highlife
Hip Hop
Hip-Hop
Hiroshi Yoshimura
history
Holger Czukay
Holiday
Hollywood
Holy Grail
Home Listening
House
Hypnotic
Iasos
Ibiza
IDM
Illbient
Illustration
Improvisation
Impulse!
In Conversation
In Stock
India
Indian
Indian Classical
Indie
Indie Rock
Industrial
Ingmar Bergman
Installation
Instrumental
International
Interview
ISC Classic
ISC Collection
isc guide
ISC NYC
ISC Record Store
ISC Selects
Island Records
Isolation
Italo Disco
Italo House
Italy
Jackie McLean
Jah Shaka
Jamaica
James Baldwin
Jangle Pop
Japan
Japananese
Japanese
Jazz
jazz funk
jazz kissa
Jazz-funk
Jazz-rock
JBL
Jessica Pratt
John Coltrane
John Fahey
John Martyn
Jon Hassell
Joni Mitchell
Judee Sill
Jungle
K-pop
K. Leimer
Kankyo Ongaku
Keiji Haino
Keith Haring
Keith Jarrett
Kid-Friendly
Kim Yaffa
Kitty Records
Klaus Schulze
Klipsch
Kompakt
Kosmiche
Kosmische
KPM
Kraftwerk
Kranky
Krautrock
Kruatrock
Kuduro
kwaito
L.Shankar
La Monte Young
Labels We Love
Lafawndah
Lagniappe Sessions
Laraaji
Larry Levan
Last Resort
Laswell
Latin
Latin Jazz
Laurel Canyon
Laurie Spiegel
Leaving Records
Lebanese
Lee Scratch Perry
Left-field
Leftfield
Lena Horne
Les Baxter
Lester Bowie
Library
Library Music
Liquid Liquid
Listening
Listening bar
Listening Party
Listening Session
Live Performance
Live Recording
Live Video
Loose Ends
Loren Mazzacane Connors
Los Angeles
Lost & Sound
lost and sound
Louisiana Blues
Lounge
Lounge Lizards
Love Songs
Lovefingers
Lovely Music Ltd.
Lovers Rock
Luaka Bop
Mad Professor
Magazine
Mandopop
Marantz
Marcel Duchamp
Marcella Cytrynowicz
Marcos Valle
Mark E. Smith
mbaqanga
McCoy Tyner
McIntosh
Meditation
Meditational
Meditative
Melancholic
Mellow
Melody As Truth
Meredith Monk
Metal
Mexico
Miami
Michael Franks
Microhouse
Mid-Century
Miles Davis
Milford Graves
Mills College
Minako Yoshida
Minimal
Minimal Techno
Minimal Wave
Minneapolis Sound
Mixes
Mixtape
Mizell Brothers
mo wax
Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs
Modal
Modern Classical
Modern Soul
Modular Synthesis
Moki Cherry
Mono
Mood Hut
Mort Garson
Motown
MPB
MTV
Munich
Music Blog
Music from Memory
Music Interior
Music Therapy
Music Video
Musique Concrète
Mwandishi
Narrative
Neneh Cherry
Neo Soul
Neo-Classical
Neptunes
New Age
New Islands
New Jack Swing
New Music
New Orleans
New Wave
New York
News
Nico
Nightmares on Wax
Nina Simone
No Wave
Noise
Non-Profit
Northern Soul
Now Sound
NTS
Nubian Pop
Nubian Soul
Numero Group
NYC
OBI
Obscure
Obscure Sound
Occult
OJAS
On Screen
On-U Sound
online radio
Opera
Optimo
Organ
Organic
Organic Music
Ornette Coleman
Ortofon
OST
Oswalds Mill Audio
Outsider Pop
Overtone Singing
Painting
Painting with John
Pandit Pran Nath
Paradise Garage
Pastoral
Patrick Cowley
Paul Horn
Paul McCartney
Pauline Oliveros
PBS
Penguin Cafe Orchestra
Pensive
Percussion
Pharoah Sanders
Phillip Glass
Philly Soul
Piano
Pioneer
Pioneer Works
Plantasia
Plants
Player Piano
playlist
Playlists
Plinth
Podcast
Poetry
Political
Polygonia
Pop
Pop Art
Pop not Slop
Pop Rock
Popp
Popul Vuh
Post Bop
Post Rock
Post-Punk
Post-Rock
Power Pop
Premiere
Prince
Private Press
Pro-Ject
Producer
Productions
Professor Longhair
Prog Rock
Progressive
Progressive Rock
Prophet-5
Proto-techno
Psych-folk
Psychedelic
Psychedelic Rock
Psychic Hotline
Psyhedelic
Punk
Qobuz
Quadraphonic
QUARK
Quiet Storm
R&B
Radio
Raga
Rap
Rare Groove
Ras G
Rave
rca victor
Receivers
Record Club
Record Fair
Record Label
Record Store
Record Store Day
Record Stores
Record Stories
Reggae
Reggaeton
Reissue
Reissues
Releases
Religious
Remix
Retrospective
Robert Wyatt
Rock
Rocksteady
Roland
Roland Kirk
Rolando Chía
Roller Skate
Room Recordings
Room Treatment
Roots Reggae
Rotary Mixers
Rough Trade
Rudy Van Gelder
Russia
Ryuichi Sakamoto
Ryuichi Sakmoto
Sacred
Sade
Saint Etienne
Sam Gendel
Samba
Sample
Samples
San Francisco
Saxophone
Sci-fi
Séance Centre
Seefeel
Sensual
Serbian Disco
Shackleton
Shamisen
share
Shibuya-kei
Shoegaze
Silver Apples
Simeon Coxe
Singer-Songwriter
Sisters with Transistors
Ska
Sly & Robbie
Smooth Jazz
Soft Rock
Solid State
Songwriting
Sonia Pottinger
Sonny Sharrock
Soul
Soul-jazz
Sound Art
Sound Collage
Sound Installation
Soundsystems
Soundtrack
South Africa
South African
South America
Southern Soul
Space Rock
Spain
Speaker
speakers
Spiritual
Spiritual Jazz
Spoken Word
Squama Records
Staff Picks
Steely Dan
Stereolab
Stereophile
Steven Halpern
Stevie Wonder
Stoner Rock
stores we love
Stories
Streaming
Street Soul
Strut Records
Studio One
Substack
Sun Ra
Sunn O)))
Supergroup
Surround Sound
Susumu Yokota
Suzanne Cianni
Suzanne Kraft
Suzanne Langille
Swamp Rock
SYNG
Synth
Synth Pop
Synth-pop
Synthesizer
Synthwave
Taarab
Tadanori Yokoo
Takoma Records
Tangerine Dream
Tannoy
Tape
Tapes
TD-160
Technics
Techno
Techno Pop
Tel Aviv
Television
Terry Callier
Terry Riley
The Beatles
The Broad
The Fall
The Loft
The Meters
The Mizell Brothers
The Music Center
The Orb
The World Stage
Theater
Thelonious Monk
Third Side Music
Third Stream
This Mortal Coil
Thomas Fehlman
Thorens
Tim Sweeney
Time Capsule
Too Pure Records
Total Luxury Spa
Traditional
Tribal
Trip-hop
Trish Keenan
Tropical
Tropicalia
Tuareg
Tube
Turntable
Turntable Lab
TV
UK
UK Jazz
Ultramarine
Underground Resistance
Underrated
Val Wilmer
Vandersteen
Vangelis
Vanity Fair
Varia Instruments
Velvet Underground
Vice
Video
Video Art
Vince Guaraldi
Vintage
Vintage Audio
Vintage Gear
vinyl
Virginia Astley
Visible Cloaks
Visual Art
Vocal
Vocal Jazz
Vocoder
Wackies
Wah Wah Watson
Walearic
Wally Badarou
Warp
Water
Website
Wendy Carlos
Werner Herzog
West Africa
West African
Western Acoustics
Windham Hill
wiring
World
Wrecking Crew
Yacht Rock
Yamaha
Yann Tomita
Yasuaki Shimizu
Yellow Magic Orchestra
Yma Sumac
YouTube
Yukihiro Takahashi
Zamrock
Zither