- A superb sounding original stereo pressing with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
- Gil Evans wrote the superb orchestral arrangements and Rudy Van Gelder captured them on lovely analog tape – what’s not to like?
- We’ve really been digging these Creed Taylor productions for years now – it may not be serious jazz, but it’s no less interesting and captivating for it
- “His landmark 1965 collaboration with Gil Evans, Guitar Forms rivals anything the arranger did with Miles Davis. Indeed, the track “Lotus Land” has a bolero form very reminiscent of Sketches of Spain. Throughout, Burrell takes thoughtful, concise, and utterly musical solos, and even switches to acoustic classical guitar on “Prelude #2” and “Loie.””
For us audiophiles both the sound and the music here are wonderful. If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good 1965 All Tube Analog sound can be, this killer copy will do the trick.
This pressing is super spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience. Talk about Tubey Magic, the liquidity of the sound here is positively uncanny. This is vintage analog at its best, so full-bodied and relaxed you’ll wonder how it ever came to be that anyone seriously contemplated trying to improve it.
This IS the sound of Tubey Magic. No recordings will ever be made like this again, and no CD will ever capture what is in the grooves of this record. There may well be a CD of this album, but those of us in possession of a working turntable and a good collection of vintage vinyl could care less.
What to Listen For (WTLF)
Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we’ve heard them all.
Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently, the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.
Tube smear is common to most pressings from the ’50s and ’60s and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.
Sixties Jazz – How Can You Go Wrong?
What the best sides of this Jazz Guitar with Orchestra Album have to offer is clear for all to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl domestic pressings like this one offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1965
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied double bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with the guitar and drums having the correct sound for this kind of recording
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
Digging Creed Taylor Inc.
We’ve been really digging these Creed Taylor productions for years now. On the better albums such as this one, the players tend to sound carefree and loose — you can tell they’re enjoying the hell out of these songs. Don’t get me wrong — we still love the Blue Note and Contemporary label stuff for our more “hard core” jazz needs, but it’s a kick to hear top jazz musicians laying down these grooves and not taking themselves so seriously… especially when it sounds as good as this copy does.
Prelude #2 Excerpt
Moon And Sand
Last Night When We Were Young
AMG 4 Star Review
Though the jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell is associated mostly with Blue Note-based hard bop and soul-jazz (he had a hit with the funky “Chile con Carne”), he is also a musician of considerable artistry. Witness his landmark 1965 collaboration with Gil Evans, Guitar Forms, which rivals anything the arranger did with Miles Davis. Indeed, the track “Lotus Land” has a bolero form very reminiscent of Sketches of Spain.
There is no stinting on the blues here, either, as evidenced on “Downstairs” and “Terrace Theme.” But the highlights are the bossa nova version of Alec Wilder’s “Moon and Sand,” as well as a characteristically slow and luxurious treatment of Harold Arlen’s “Last Night When We Were Young.” Throughout, Burrell takes thoughtful, concise, and utterly musical solos, and even switches to acoustic classical guitar on “Prelude #2” and “Loie.”
An Orchestra Needs This Kind of Space
One of the qualities that we don’t talk about on the site nearly enough is the SIZE of the record’s presentation. Some copies of the album just sound small — they don’t extend all the way to the outside edges of the speakers, and they don’t seem to take up all the space from the floor to the ceiling. In addition, the sound can often be recessed, with a lack of presence and immediacy in the center.
Other copies — my notes for these copies often read “BIG and BOLD” — create a huge soundfield, with plenty of room for all of the players. These copies are not brighter, they’re not more aggressive, they’re not hyped-up in any way, they’re just bigger and clearer.
And most of the time those very special pressings are just plain more involving. When you hear a copy that does all that — a copy like this one — it’s an entirely different listening experience.