This Triple Plus (+++) pressing from ’55/’56 mono tapes is EVERYTHING that’s good about mono. The size, the weight, the solidity, the clarity, the energy, the rhythmic drive – it’s all here and more. This killer pressing has the best sound and the best music we have ever heard on any Hampton Hawes album.
There is nothing to fault in the sound of side one of this pressing , and side two was nearly as good – what a record!
Both sides are Tubey Magical, rich, open, spacious and tonally correct. We’ve never heard the record sound better, and that’s coming from someone who’s been playing the album since the ’80s.
These guys are playing live in the studio and you can really feel their presence on every track — assuming you have a copy that sounds like this one.
Based on what I’m hearing my feeling is that most of the natural, full-bodied, smooth, sweet sound of the album is on the master tape, and that all that was needed to transfer that vintage sound correctly onto vinyl disc was simply to thread up the tape on a high quality machine and hit play.
The fact that nobody seems to be able to make an especially good sounding record these days — certainly not as good sounding as this one — tells me that in fact I’m wrong to think that such an approach would work. Somebody should have been able to figure out how to do it by now. In our experience that is simply not the case today, and has not been for many years, if not decades.
George Horn was doing brilliant work on Contemporary recordings all through the ’80s. This album is proof that his sound is the right sound for this music.