John Coltrane – Lush Life – DCC and OJC Reviewed

More John Coltrane

More Lush Life

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Sonic Grade: B or so (DCC) 
Sonic Grade: C or so (OJC) 

The DCC heavy vinyl pressing is a nice record; I remember liking it back in the day. I’m guessing it’s a bit better than the ’80s OJC, which is, like most OJC pressings, typically thin and hard. Neither one of them can hold a candle to the pressings we offer on the site. If for some reason we could not find copies of the album that substantially beat the sound of either of these two remastered LPs, we simply would not have anything to offer, since neither of these versions could be considered Hot Stampers. Nice records, sure, but Hot Stampers? Not a chance.

It was only a few months ago, early in 2016 in fact, that we chanced upon the right kind of pressing — the right era, the right label, the right stampers, the right sound. Not just the right sound though. Better sound than we ever thought this album could have.

Previously we had written:

“There are great sounding originals, but they are few and far between…”

We no longer believe that to be true. In fact we believe the opposite of that statement to be true. The original we had on hand — noisy but with reasonably good sound, or so we thought — was an absolute joke next to our best Hot Stamper pressings. Half the size, half the clarity and presence, half the life and energy, half the immediacy, half the studio space. It was simply not remotely competitive with the copies we now know (or at least believe, all knowledge being provisional) to have the best sound.

Are there better originals than the ones we’ve played? No doubt. If you want to spend your day searching for them, more power to you. And if you do find one that impresses you, we are happy to send you one of our Hot Copies to play against it. We are confident that the outcome would be clearly favorable to our pressing. Ten seconds of side one should be enough to convince you that our record is in an entirely different league, a league we had no idea even existed until just this year.

By the way, the mono original we played was by far the worst sound I have ever heard for the album. By far.

The Trio

One thing that makes this album a very different experience is that side one was recorded as a trio. Hearing Coltrane is such a stark setting helps you to appreciate all the emotion, detail, and texture of his playing. And a copy like this makes that even more possible! The band fills out to five pieces on side two, but the music is every bit as good.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Like Someone In Love
I Love You
Trane’s So Blues

Side Two

Lush Life
I Hear A Rhapsody

AMG Review

To say that John Coltrane is one of the greatest jazz musicians in the history of the genre is to utter a banal truism, but amid all of the (well-deserved) hubbub over Giant Steps and A Love Supreme, it is extremely edifying to pick up this 1957-1958 effort and hear how well the man could play standards and especially ballads.

Assisting him in this worthy endeavor are various combinations of Earl May and Paul Chambers on bass and Louis Hayes, Albert Heath, and Art Taylor on drums.

Throughout the record, the saxophonist sounds more like Charlie Parker than usual, especially on the terrific “Like Someone in Love,” but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t get some of his own best licks in as well. Saxophone ballads are rarely more interesting and more beautiful. The Latin groove to “I Love You” is a delight, especially so considering that the rhythm section sounds like it’s going to fall apart at any second.

The sole deviation from the saxophone trio format features assistance from Red Garland and Donald Byrd on a reading of “Lush Life,” which is so perfectly realized that one begins to wonder why successive generations of jazzers still persist in attempting to improve upon it.

A perfect track and a perfect album, one well deserving of its classic status.